September 2021 Newsletter

Download your Copy of the Sept 2021 Newsletter: HCAC Sept 2021 Newsletter

Mark your Calendar
September 11th, 7pm -Lori Botkin (The Jones McCoy House)

The Highland County Arts Council will host a concert on September 11th at the Jones McCoy House in downtown Monterey (142 W. Main Street) featuring local vocalist Lori Botkin.

Her program includes a variety of different styles although her first love is still southern gospel. She plays the piano or guitar as accompaniment and also uses pre-recorded music.

Lori started singing in 1974 at the age of 13 with her family- they often spent time together singing their favorite southern gospel songs.

Mom, Martha, played the piano, Dad, Jacob, sang bass and carried all the equipment, Lori sang alto and played bass guitar and Lisa, her younger sister, sang the lead.

The family sang for 15 years, travelling up and down the east coast. After the family quit singing, Lori continued on her own. “It just gets in your blood” she says.

Lori Botkin is also the Executive Director for the Highland Historical Society. Donations from the “Free will” concert on the 11th will benefit both the Arts Council and the Historical Society.


Entries from Arts Academy Participants

Left to Right

Margie Fullerton- 3rd Place Pottery

Lorraine White- 1st Place Eco Printing (top)

Sarah Collins-Simmons- 2nd Place Eco Printing (bottom)

Ellen Phillips- 2nd Place Pottery

Lorraine White- 1st Place/Runner Up Best in Show Eco Printing

Mary Dunn Connor- 1st Place Barn Quilt


Allegheny Mountain String Project

Enrolling for the new school year!

The Allegheny Mountain String Project (AMSP) offers a comprehensive string music education program, including private lessons, chamber music ensembles, and a youth orchestra to all children of school age within driving distance of activities in Alleghany, Bath, and Highland counties. The AMSP is sponsored by the Garth Newel Music Center.

The core values of AMSP align with the National Association for Music Education standards of excellence. AMSP students learn a wide variety of musical styles, based on the guidelines of the American Music System which includes American & Appalachian folk songs and fiddle tunes for early instruction. Students learn to improvise and to learn by ear as well as to read music. They play both Bach and Bluegrass.

Scholarships are available through funding from the Alleghany Foundation, Bath County Arts Association, the Community Foundation of Central Blue Ridge, the Highland County Arts Council, the Bolar Ruritan Club, and private donations.

Activities take place at:

Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs (403 Garth Newel Lane, Hot Springs, VA 24445) The Highland Center in Monterey (61 Highland Center Drive, Monterey, VA 24465)

Clifton Forge School of the Arts in Clifton Forge (518 Church St., Clifton Forge, VA 24422)


Jaime McArdle – Program Director & Instructor for Bath & Alleghany Counties

Gretta Sandberg – Orchestra Director & Instructor for Highland County

This project is funded in part by the Allegheny Foundation, the Bath County Arts Association and the Highland County Arts Council.


Creativity Corner: Emily Connor

When we moved to Highland County in January of 2017, I was just a simple crocheter who loved going to Joann’s with a coupon and coming home with a garbage bag size stash of yarn that I got at a discount. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was young. Since she passed, it is a way for me to still feel connected to her.

Once we moved here, I started raising my own alpacas, merino sheep and recently added finn sheep to the farm for their wool and fiber. The Fiber Arts is truly a deep and dark rabbit hole that I gladly threw myself down. I have now gotten into processing my own wool from start to finish, although I do still utilize a fiber mill to have some of it commercially spun. I dye my own fiber and yarn to make one-of-a-kind pieces for projects, I hand spin some yarn but my absolute favorite is weaving. To be able to tell a story with my work, to know which animal it came from, and make someth

ing beautiful out of it that someone can wear and love, brings me incredible joy. It is a time for me to just meditate and relax and connect with myself and our farm. It is incredibly time consuming but it is so worth it when the final project is completed. When I can take a project off the loom, go to fairs or festivals to sell my wares then meet folks who appreciate my work and take home a piece of our farm… there isn’t much better.

There are so many different aspects to the fiber arts. Whether it is felting, spinning, dying, weaving, crocheting, knitting… the list goes on. And there is truly something for everyone. If anyone is ever interested in learning more I would gladly talk your ear off and show you the ropes. To see more pictures of my projects or just life on the farm feel free to visit our facebook or instagram page – @millgapfarms


Congregational Special!

Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven are well-known gospel singers who are coming to the Highland Center on October 9th at 2 pm.

You’re invited to gather a group of four or more to attend this joyful event for $5 per person. Groups will be seated together in a reserved spot in the Center’s spacious auditorium.

In order to use this benefit, groups must make reservations in advance by sending an email to Please give us the names of guests in the group.


A Harvest of Activities Planned for Fall

October will be an exciting month for The Highland County Arts Council.

The month kicks off with another popular Arts Academy workshop. At the conclusion of the June 2021 session of the Ecoprinting workshop, participants pulled out their calendars and asked when the instructor, Theresa Brown, could return. The result is a Fall workshop where she will lead a series of three workshops for people interested in the ability to print using materials from nature.

On Oct. 1, Theresa will show the group how to print on paper using nature’s elements from their yards and surrounding woodlands.

On Oct. 2, participants will be using these materials to print on silk and wool. While both of these workshops are perfect for beginners to the art.

The third workshop on October 3 will be for anyone who wants to expand their skill to printing on larger pieces.

Experience in at least one of her previous workshops will be necessary for this Sunday session.

Larnell Starkey and The Spiritual Seven concert (postponed earlier this summer due to inclement weather) will perform on October 9 at 2 pm at The Highland Center

On October 9 & 10, demonstrations and exhibits of art produced during the summer Arts Academy will be on display in the Highland Center pavilion.

Let Donna Bedwell know if you are interested in exhibiting or sharing your projects. (E: donnabedwell(at)

If you missed taking a workshop in 2021, stop by and see what was made and be inspired to learn a new skill in 2022.

The splendor of the fall landscape in Highland is inspiring for the artist in us all. It is also an attraction for regional artists to enjoy painting these vistas.

Arrangements are being made for special opportunities for those interested in painting outdoors at some select farms and orchards around the county. Follow us on Facebook or visit our website for more information as these plans are developed.

The Highland Arts Council invites you to share in the beauty and inspiration of music and art ready for picking in our community this month.

2021-2022 Season

Thanks to support from The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, The Virginia Commission for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Little Swiss Fund, The Charles Pickney Jones Fund, and members like you!

  • September 11, Lori Botkin, The Charles Pinckney Jones House, 7 pm

  • October 9, Larnell Starkey & The Spiritual Seven, The Highland Center, 2-4 pm

  • November 13, Annual Meeting, Richard Adams Trio, The Highland Center, 7 pm

  • December 11. Christmas Carol with John Hardy, The Highland Center 7 pm

  • Feb 12, Valentine’s Day with Bill Heid, Lew Freeman and Claire Sax The Highland Center 7 pm

  • March 12 Scuffletown, The Highland Center, 7 pm

  • April 9 After Jack, The Highland Center, 7 pm

  • May 14, Robert Jospe Trio, The Highland Center, 7 pm

  • June 11 The McCoy Sister’s Annual Concert with Zuzu Hot 4, The Highland Center, 7 pm.

Thank you to HCAC Board Member Renee Vandevander!

Special thanks to board member Renee Vandevander for her continued efforts as Chair for the Arts & Photography Category of the annual Highland County Fair. Without her leadership Highland County wouldn’t have the opportunity to showcase its creative and artistic talents. Thank you Renee!

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