SPEAKING WITH ONE VOICE FOR ARTS & CULTURE
T H E AT R E
V I S U A L A RT S
Pu llou t M Art ap Ve nu e
Welcome to the Premier Issue of Hampton Roads Bravo!
Friends of the You’ve probably had the experience of a distant relative pinching your cheek or patting your head as a child and remarking about how much you’ve grown since they had last seen you. It seemed silly – after all, you felt the same as before and hadn’t noticed any sudden growth spurts. Thus, it has been with the transformation of the Hampton Roads cultural arts scene for those of us who have lived here for some time. Gradually and quietly, but surely, Hampton Roads has become one of the premiere centers for cultural arts in the country. Over the past two decades or so, the arts has reinvented the region, as virtually every city and county has seen the opening of performance venues, museums, galleries or arts centers. There are more than 300 arts organizations in Hampton Roads. With performance halls in Newport News, Hampton, Suffolk, Norfolk and Portsmouth – and now, with the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach – Hampton Roads has more live performance theatres per capita than any market in the country. Economic impact – to the tune of a half-billion dollars – includes not only ticket sales, but also restaurants, specialty shops, lodging and other tourism activity. Studies show that the money local government spends on the arts is more than repaid, and it multiplies as it ripples through the economy. It’s clearly a win-win for everyone. One of the nicest things about having so much variety, is, well … the variety. With all these centers have come performances as varied as Percy Sledge and Dionne Warwick at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts to The Virginia Opera’s “Tales of Hoffman”. So if you’re not into opera, but you love the (Grand Ole) Opry, chances are, your definition of art will be accommodated. There is no definitive meaning for art; it is subjective, and it fills our lives everywhere. As Tolstoy says, “We are accustomed to understand art to be only what we hear and see in theatres, concerts and exhibitions, together with buildings, statues, poems, novels . . . But all this is but the smallest part of the art by which we communicate with each other in life. All human life is filled with works of art by which we communicate with each other in life. All human life is filled with works of art of every kind – from cradlesong, jest, mimicry, the ornamentation of houses, dress and utensils, up to church services, buildings, movements and triumphal processions. It is all artistic activity.” In other words, art is the evidence of our expression. Some of us are compelled to express art on canvas, others with pen (or computer) to paper, others on stage. Some are schooled in their art, others are self-taught; but the art literally bursts forth from them, honestly but “primitively,” in a form we call folk art. Such is the case with one of the images on the cover of this issue, a piece called, simply, “Two Women,” by Elder Anderson Johnson, painted on a wooden cable spool end. This is one of more than 300 works from the Gordon Collection donated to ODU last fall for the Barron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries. Johnson, the son of a sharecropper, became a preacher at age 16, preaching in churches and on street corners throughout America before moving to Newport News in 1985 after an accident left him partially paralyzed. He spent more than 20 years until his death in 1998 transforming his two-story home into a “faith mission.” It was decorated from floor to ceiling with portraits and visionary images mostly of women’s faces, usually done on salvaged plywood or cardboard. Today his paintings are in museums around the country. Just imagine if, like Elder Johnson, we embraced our call to express the art inside us, without selfconsciousness, judgment or fear – what we could do! Perhaps that expression would take the form of making paintings or poems, but it’s just as likely that we might learn to play the piccolo, take up bonsai or make a really great crème Brule. Whatever your definition of art, we hope you enjoy this inaugural issue of Hampton Roads Bravo. We also hope you will find helpful the pullout map showing major venues and events. Look for our supplement for festivals and events this spring, and our second edition in July. And while you’re deciding how you will express the art inside yourself, choose a few performances, and go experience someone else’s art. Sincerely,
Paul Darden Publisher
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
Gail Kent Executive Editor
Paul Quillin Darden EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Gail Kent ART DIRECTOR
Sherril Schmitz CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Rebecca Lee Desjardins Bobbie Fisher Montague Gammon III Karen Gill Carlton Hardy Patricia Rublein Roopa Swaminathan James Thomas Jr. BC Wilson
©Copyright 2008 by Darden Publishing. The information herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Darden Publishing makes no warranty to the accuracy or reliability of this information. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. Published semi-annually in partnership with CULTURAL ALLIANCE OF GREATER HAMPTON ROADS 5200 Hampton Boulevard 757-889-9479 www.culturalli.org DARDEN PUBLISHING
P.O. Box 11023 Newport News, VA 23601 (757) 596-3638 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dardenpublishing.net Hampton Roads Bravo! is distributed by Chambers of Commerce, friends of Bravo! locations throughout Hampton Roads and our advertisers. Without them, none of this would be possible. To obtain a copy or to locate a Bravo! location near you, please contact Darden Publishing. Thank you for your support.
8 F E AT U R E S
Power of the Arts Tidewater Arts Outreach shares joy with those who have special needs.
Arts into Education Young Audiences of Virginia gets kids excited about arts and learning.
The Russions are Coming! Major arts groups join together to celebrate Russian-American bicentennial.
The Hampton Roads Cultural Arts Industry: All Dressed Up and Going Everywhere! The arts are not only fun, but big business. Come along for a city-by-city tour to get acquainted with all the choices locals have for ways to spend their time – and their dollars.
Opening Nights & Short Takes Off Script The Arts in Virginia Shouldn’t Have to Beg for Promised Support.
Patrons Minette Cooper and Lois Hornsby: Two Women Dedicated to Making Arts and Culture Work for Hampton Roads
An Art Sampler Music
Virginia Mass Choir Hopes to Break Away From the Gospel Masses Theater Virginia Premiere Theatre Carves Niche by Producing New Work on Local Stages Visual Arts Hampton Artist Creates ‘Art From the Heart’ to Help Transplant Patients Museums Children’s Museum of Virginia Makes Learning Fun! Dance Virginia Beach’s Irish Dancers are Our Own Ladies of the Dance
23 34 22
Culinary Arts Finale
AN ARTS SAMPLER
COVER PHOTOS: (First row, left to right) “Two Women,” by Elder Anderson Johnson, Barron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, ODU (photo courtesy ODU); Svin Co., Constance Svindland, Williamsburg (photo courtesy Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance); Ferguson Center for the Arts (photo courtesy CNU). (Second row) Norfolk Botanical Gardens (photo courtesy City of Norfolk); Performing Arts Series at Phi Beta Kappa Hall, College of William & Mary (photo courtesy Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance); Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center (photo courtesy Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center). (Third row) L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center (photo courtesy City of Norfolk); Quail Run Pottery, Elisabeth Krome, A Touch of Earth, Williamsburg (photo courtesy Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance); Virginia Shakespeare Festival, College of William & Mary (photo courtesy Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance).
COURTESY OF PFAC
1. Lucinda Munger, Allen Cornenberg and Jenny and Carl Loveland enjoy the wine at the opening of the Artful Holidays exhibitions at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center featuring “Images of the Floating World: Japanese Prints, 1683-1952” and “Surveying Chinese Ceramics, Encaustics by Jean Peacock,” as well as the annual holiday shopping experience. 2. Virginia Aquarium Foundation Board member Shewling Moy Wong (center), with her husband James and son Preston and his friend Jennifer Le, made the center’s Commotion in the Ocean Oct. 20th fundraiser a family affair. Approximately 800 people attended the event, which raised nearly $120,000 toward the $25-million cost of renovating the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Funds from the event netted enough to purchase a 23’ Parker boat, motor and trailer for marine animal rescue and research and animal collections for the aquarium.
UARIUM VIRGINIA AQ COURTESY OF
3. During a reception following the company’s opening performance of the season at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House on Sept. 28, former Virginia Opera board president Dorothy Doumar (left) of Norfolk meets with French soprano Manon Strauss Evrard, who brought rave reviews with her performances as all four love interests in “Tales of Hoffmann.” 4. City Council members Dr. Ella Ward and Patricia Willis have fun at the Bagley Stage at Chesapeake City Park during the Fine Arts Commission Performance Series on Labor Day.
3 N COURTESY OF L. RANDY HARRISO
5. Celebrating the Artists Gallery’s first Rock-n-Surf exhibition and fundraiser in August are Walt Wesolowski, Jan Barco and John Betts. The exhibit of rock-and-roll and surfer art raised money for Surfers Healing Association and Tidewater Autistic Society of America. These three helped out with the wine service at the event, which attracted hundreds of visitors to the Norfolk location, a gallery managed entirely by artist members that provides space for working, exhibiting and showcasing original fine art by local and regional artists.
7. Arts Within Reach presented a “Make It & Take It” arts workshop in July at the Berkley Reunion in Norfolk featuring d’Art Center artists. The event was free and open to the public, and it was supported in part by a grant from the Target Corporation.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
COURTESY OF WILLIAM CAMPBELL
6. Former Peninsula Fine Arts Center trustee Fran Ward and current trustee Kelley Cody Burton joined almost 200 members and guests at the opening of “The Reality Show 2” on Sept. 1. The show featured the work of nine artists presenting their take on the world around them, illustrating that reality is relative and can be presented in myriad ways. .
COURTESY OF VIRGINIA OPERA
TA K E S
COURTESY OF PFAC
Tidewater Winds plays to 10,000 during 23rd performance season
The Tidewater Winds, Virginia’s only professional concert band that plays music in the Sousa band tradition, attracted more than 10,000 people during its 2007 season. Composed of more than 65 woodwind, brass and percussion musicians from across Hampton Roads, the band played 21 free concerts in July and August in venues across the region. John J. Brewington of Virginia Beach was named the new conductor for the 2007 and will pick up the baton again when the 2008 season begins in July. The Tidewater Winds are tentatively scheduled to open their season at Ocean View Park in Norfolk on Friday, July 4th, with the theme, Red, White and Boom. All concerts will be free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.tidewaterwinds.org.
COMMISSION COURTESY OF NORFOLK ARTS
Historic Portsmouth hotel recognized for preservation
One of the founding members of the Little Theatre of Virginia Beach, Liz Sills, died recently in her home. She was 98. Full of energy and passion, Liz put her drive to work for many causes, including helping to start the Little Theatre in Virginia Beach in 1948 when she moved there from Norfolk and discovered that there was no permanent theatre. She served on its board of directors for many years. She also loved animals and was the founder of the Virginia Beach SPCA. She helped people state-wide rescue abandoned, injured and abused animals and went out of her way to do so. Liz was a great inspiration to those around her, and was fond of saying, “Look out, not in. Look up, not down. And never look before you leap, or you will never leap!”
Hawthorn Hotel & Suites at the Governor Dinwiddie in Portsmouth joined National Trust Historic Hotels of America in October, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Hawthorn Hotel & Suites at the Governor Dinwiddie is one of more than 200 hotels and resorts throughout the country recognized by Historic Hotels of America for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture and ambiance. Hawthorn Hotel & Suites at he Governor Dinwiddlie was first opened as the Hotel Portsmouth in 1945. It is believed that President Harry Truman roomed there during his visit to the shipyard.
Hampton Roads writers publish first poetry books Two Hampton Roads poets and friends have achieved publishing success virtually simultaneously. Bill Glose’s debut poetry collection, “The Human Touch,” was published in September by San Francisco Bay Press. More information is available at www.BillGlose.com. Ann Shalaski’s debut collection, “World Made of Glass,” came out in October. Glose is an award-winning poet whose poems have appeared in “Main Channel Voices,” “Port Folio Weekly” and other publications. Shalaski is an award-winning poet whose poems have appeared in “The Endicott Review,” “The Comstock Review” and other publications. She has won “Byline’s” national poetry contest and numerous other awards.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
COURTESY OF TIDEWATER ARTS OUTREACH
Artists from Tidewater Arts Outreach, a regional non-profit organization, provide music for a dance at Camp Horizon, a summer camp run by Child and Family Services of Southeastern Virginian for teens and adults with special needs. The camp was held at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk.
TIDEWATER ARTS OUTREACH shares the
power of the arts
with those in need BY REBECCA LEE DESJARDINS
Some see the arts as a luxury. Others, as a necessity.
MaryAnn Toboz, of Chesapeake, is one who embraces art as a necessity, appreciating the healing power of singing along to a favorite song, dancing freely to a sentimental tune, expressing oneself in a poem or painting a fantasy getaway. Realizing the importance of the arts, Toboz, a musician and singer, founded Tidewater Arts Outreach, an organization that brings music and arts to people who have limited access to it because of health, economic or social circumstances. It hosts programs at adult day programs, convalescent homes, hospitals, centers for individuals with disabilities, rehabilitation centers, family homeless shelters, and other homes, facilities and institutions. TAO began in March 2004 as a result of Toboz’s involvement with Heart and Soul in Salt Lake City, Utah, a nonprofit similar to Tidewater Arts Outreach. Working with people with special needs, TAO aims to create a source of mental and physical stimulation, an opportunity for self-expression and self-realization, and a sense of community through group participation. “It’s more than performances and shows,” Toboz said. “The program works to involve clients and help them find their own creative voice.”
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
The creative voice and happiness evoked by the arts come in many forms, through clapping hands to a familiar song, creating a picture of an imaginary place or sharing a simple smile. “Sometimes just for them to close their eyes and listen is a great place for them,” said Toboz. “The really good artists can reach folks where they are.” Patricia Coale of Norfolk is the director of therapeutic recreation with Child & Family Services of Eastern Virginia, a nonprofit organization that runs an annual summer camp for children with developmental challenges. TAO artists have visited the camp for the past two summers. “I just can’t say enough good things about them,” Coale said. “It’s really reached our campers.” Coale said she’s been very impressed by the artists’ interaction with the campers and pleasantly surprised by the campers’ reactions. “I looked up and one of the campers was miming playing the guitar, and there was another one on the drums,” Coale said of one program. “The musicians were into it just as much as the campers.” Annie Johnson, a Newport News resident and lead singer in
There is something about music. It just goes straight to your soul, and there’s no interference. It’s a magical thing. the Annie Johnson Band, recalled her first TAO program at a convalescent home. She thought she’d need to play more mellow song selections but quickly realized that the songs the clients responded to were blues and rock. “People with Alzheimer’s and those who were almost unconscious were bobbing along and singing to the music, and if they didn’t know the words, they were making them up,” Johnson said. “There is something about music. It just goes straight to your soul, and there’s no interference. It’s a magical thing.” Johnson, who’s also conducted songwriting workshops for TAO, said the organization created a chance for her to give back and do something positive for someone else. This is a common sentiment shared with Kelly Murphy, a member of the TAO board of directors. She said that she is often thanked by artists who are appreciative of the opportunity to give someone a good day. Murphy, who works as an experimental aerodynamicist for NASA and runs Harris Creek Acoustic, a private house concert series in Hampton, said the dual purpose of the organization is one of its most attractive features. “It doesn’t seem so hopeless when they’re part of the human experience,” Murphy said of TAO clients. And on the other side,
LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO
“There’s a huge community of musicians out there looking to be needed and to use their talent in a meaningful way.” With only two part-time staff members and a very involved board of directors, the mission of the TAO is catching on quickly. During the 2006-07 fiscal year, 130 artists, musicians and instructors presented 142 workshops and programs at 51 facilities in Hampton Roads, serving nearly 4,000 individuals. TAO has grown in its list of sponsors, also gaining support throughout Hampton Roads with grants from the Norfolk Arts Commission, the Portsmouth Community Foundation, the Virginia Beach Arts Commission, the Virginia Beach Foundation, the Newport News Arts Commission, the Hampton Arts Commission, the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission and the Virginia Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “It’s a network – a community – of like-minded people,” Toboz said. “We’ve created a framework for the programs, but it’s a win-win situation that’s taken on a life of its own.” Rebecca Lee Desjardins is the executive director of college communications for Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk. She lives in Virginia Beach.
THE NEXT BEST THING TO A BACKSTAGE PASS. GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH PERFORMERS AT HAMPTON ROADS’ FAVORITE PERFORMING ARTS THEATRE.
The American Theatre DARE TO BE INTIMATE. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.
Call to ﬁnd out who’s playing this week! 125 E AST M EL L EN STR EET, H AM PT O N
7 5 7 - 7 2 2 - A RT S
H A M P T O N A RT S . N E T
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
★ YOUNG AUDIENCES of VIRGINIA integrates
BY BOBBIE FISHER
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
In the past, arts education in Hampton Roads meant a bus trip to Norfolk once a year to watch a symphony or ballet – sitting quietly and taking notes for the inevitable test. Today, on-stage arts education has evolved into arts-in-education in the classroom – and it’s alive, well and thriving. Virtually every arts organization in the region contributes to the rich menu of educational opportunities. Students experience hands-on exposure to the arts through programs developed by a new breed of arts professional: the education director. These programs not only teach the arts themselves, but also how to use the arts to teach core curriculum subjects like history, literature, math and science. Long at the forefront of arts education in Hampton Roads, Young Audiences of Virginia is a 50-plus-year-old organization that, for the past 10 years, has focused on developing programs with a direct connection to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Lately, YAV has expanded its focus to include indepth artist-in-residence programs, in which artists work directly with students to produce their own plays, write music, create radio dramas or dances, paint Research supports the fact that murals or learn children who study the arts photography. The perform well academically. organization served 146,385 children in Hampton Roads in 2006-07, with the heaviest concentration in elementary and middle school. YAV staffs programs with professionals from local arts organizations. “We’re always looking for the highest quality art and artist that we can find,” says Michael Williams, YAV artistic director. “Within the Hampton Roads community, that usually lends itself to artists who have attached themselves to the larger arts organizations. We’re
either in partnership with the organizations or with artists who work with them.” As grant funds became more available in the 1990s, arts organizations began creating their own education programs, which has allowed Young Audiences to devote more time to developing programs that teach teachers how to use arts integration techniques to teach core subjects more effectively. A recent example is YAV’s literacy initiative. “We use different art forms – music, dance, visual arts – to help kids learn to read better,” says Tom Crockett, YAF executive director. Students read excerpts from novels or history books, and then create tableaux to represent what they’ve learned. Young Audiences believes such participatory and creative teaching methods significantly increase literacy scores.
Integrating arts into education improves children’s test scores and makes learning fun.
Dr. Darryl Waller, supervisor of music for Newport News Public Schools, agrees. “All the research is showing that in classrooms where teachers integrate the arts into their instruction, students have a tendency to get higher test scores, higher grade point averages, as well as fewer discipline referrals and less absenteeism.” Dr. Waller and his colleagues know that not all kids learn by a teacher standing in front of them lecturing. “We know that the arts can provide the means to reach those kids and allow them to participate.” For instance, Dr. Waller explains, “students in a science class studying elements of oceanic marine biology may write a song or a skit, or create a dance – those things actually display their
understanding of what they have learned. It’s more of a hands-on approach to learning for kids.” Janet Kriner has been actively involved in arts education in Hampton Roads since 1957. Her quartet developed an in-school program, which included music, art and poetry, to deal with immigration issues and bring a topical social studies lesson to life. “The immigration students learned not only about the current situation, but something of the culture and contributions of the various immigrating peoples,” Kriner says. Because they’ve seen first-hand the results of arts in education, the bottom line for all arts educators is to make sure arts education continues to be available. The Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads is engaged in building a profile of arts education programs in all of the Hampton Roads school divisions.
“In view of the fact that education is now a top priority among public policymakers, the role of the arts in learning is very important,” says Executive Director Patricia Rublein. “Research supports the fact that children who study the arts perform well academically. So it will be good for us to know what types of programs are out there for the region’s students.” The study will also provide a useful tool to enable these groups to interact and communicate with each other. As the late Beverly Sills said, “Art is the signature of civilizations.” From Accomac to Zuni, the signature of Hampton Roads is well preserved by its many arts organizations, and by their ongoing and expanding educational programs. Bobbie Fisher is chief communications officer for WHRO and a freelance writer. In her spare time she paints and attempts to play the violin.
Art groups collaborate to mark B Y M O N TA G U E G A M M O N I I I
he Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! Not in the Cold War film comedy of that title, but in opera and art, choral and symphonic music.
The event, “Virginia Celebrates Russian Culture,” is being held at numerous locations throughout Virginia, but mostly in Hampton Roads, during the first months of 2008. The occasion is the 200th year of diplomatic relations between then-Imperial Russia and the United States, established during the presidency of the Commonwealth’s Thomas Jefferson. The idea for the celebration arose when the Virginia Opera Association scheduled its first Russian opera, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” (Feb. 8-17). The opera, through Artistic Director Peter Mark, reached out to other arts institutions with a request for collaborative Russian programming and received an enthusiastic response. The Chrysler Museum will display a half-dozen Soviet Realist paintings reaching back to Stalin (Jan. 11- April 27). It will also present a mini film series of Russian works by groundbreaking film artists. The Contemporary Art Center of Virginia is displaying works by Russian artist Mikhail Magaril in an exhibit called Russian Roulette (Jan. 10-March 23). Virginia Chorale brings founding conductor Donald McCullough back as guest conductor for performances of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” (Feb. 23, Norfolk; Feb. 24, Williamsburg). The Symphony has scheduled at least one Russian piece for almost every concert in January. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony #2 on one program (Jan. 11-13) is followed by a triple header of his work, “The Bells,” Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” a week later. Both concerts play the Ferguson Center for the Arts, Chrysler Hall and the Sandler Center. After two concerts including Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts (Jan. 25 & 26), the Symphony teams up with Bay Youth Orchestras (Jan. 26) and the Peninsula and Williamsburg Youth Orchestras (Jan. 27) for two Family Concerts of Tchaikovsky favorites, including excerpts from “Nutcracker” and “1812.”
COURTESY OF TCHAZEN MUSEUM OF ART
Aleksandr Nikoleavich Samokhvalov’s “Collective Farm Girls” will be on loan from the Chazen Museum of Art to the Chrysler Museum as part of the upcoming Russian Festival.
The first three days of February see the Symphony at the Ferguson, Chrysler and Sandler again. That series features Modest Mussorgsky’s “Prelude to Khovanshchina,” the Shostakovich “Symphony Number 1,” Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on Paganini” and Rimsky-Korsakoff’’s “Caprice Espagnol,” which brings the celebration around to “Eugene Onegin,” Tchaikovsky’s dark drama of misguided and mistimed passion. Other events include the Ambassador William H. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy at The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and A Pageantry of Culture, a special guided tour of Russia, sponsored by the Chrysler Museum and Virginia Opera. Norfolk native Montague Gammon III obtained a theatre degree and promptly came home to work in a fluctuating mixture of used car sales, local theatrical production and local writing.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
The Hampton Roads Cultural Arts Industry:
All dressed up and going B Y M O N TA G U E G A M M O N I I I
This isn’t just a sailor and shipyard town any longer.
COURTESY OF CITY OF NORFOLK
The arts are booming in Hampton Roads.
he arts are booming in Hampton Roads. The rapidfire openings of big showplaces like the Ferguson in Newport News, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts and the Sandler in Virginia Beach impresses the casual observer, while hard facts are even more convincing. When viewed as an industry, arts and cultural organizations employ more than any hospital or bank in the region, and it is twice the size of the telecommunications industry, according to a 2005 report sponsored by the Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads and Old Dominion University. Including the impact of visitor spending, the combined economic impact is $563.9 million – more than half of all arts spending in the entire state. And the arts are growing as an economic engine. From 1999 to 2005, the impact grew by more than 10 percent. “We have been blessed with a local government that has a vision that includes the arts,” says Gus Stuhlreyer, general director and CEO of the Virginia Opera. Stuhlreyer spoke about Norfolk, but his comment could be echoed by any number of Hampton Roads arts folk.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
Jeff Meredith of the Virginia Musical Theatre offers an exemplary statistic. “We get an $80,000 grant from the city,” he says. “We pay over $100,000 in admission taxes.” Although it’s not always that cut and dried, studies show that money spent on arts organizations all over the region – in fact, in almost any region in the country – more than returns to local government and is multiplied as it ripples through the local economy. The 2005 study showed that arts audiences return $193.4 million per year to the economy on items such as meals, lodging and beverages before and after a show or exhibition. Artists, technicians and management staff spend money where they live or tour. And arts groups themselves need supplies and services. Arts patrons are typically educated and possess disposable income. Industries benefit when their sponsorship of the arts captures patrons’ attention and, perhaps more importantly, their emotional loyalty. Bill Biddle, executive director of Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, offers persuasive anecdotal evidence about how arts support spreads through the community. Restaurant owners in his vicinity tell him that their tables are full before and after each show. In the post 9/11 world, the weekend getaway is increasingly the vacation travel of choice. A short trip to see a show, visit a festival or attend a special museum exhibition fits perfectly. Rob Cross, Virginia Arts Festival director, said that hotel and motel occupancy rates have risen as the Festival has matured. The Virginia Tattoo pulls folks in by the busload.
From opera and ballet to bluegrass and folk art, Hampton Roads is rich in choices. Every Hampton Roads community has its favorite arts groups. Every one has some unique event or institution, and every one has a rich variety of art for residents and visitors. Space doesn’t allow mention of all 350-plus arts organizations, but here is just a sampling of the many fine options available. With so much available, broaden your interests! Make 2008 the year to try something new! Listed in alphabetical order:
COURTESY OF L. RANDY HARRISON
EXPLORE THE ARTS!
C E N T E R S TA G E
Cross also cites visits by internationally acclaimed companies that have made Hampton Roads their only American stop. If you wanted to see them, you came here or went abroad. Biddle also sees quality as being the factor that draws audiences long distances. A noticeable fraction of the Ferguson Center audience comes from Richmond, North Carolina and the Middle Peninsula, he says. Biddle disputes the perceived impediment of travel across Hampton Roads. People from the South Hampton Roads, he asserts, aren’t discouraged by uncertainties of tunnel timing; they simply arrive in Newport News very early, and have dinner before the show. All across Hampton Roads a fertile mix of municipal, commercial and popular support has created an environment that richly supports a region-wide, vibrant arts industry.
The Virginia Symphony performs on the Robert G. “Buddy” Bagley Stage at City Park in Chesapeake. The Park hosts a mix of popular and classical works as well as a “Sundays Under the Stars” music series.
Community College Chesapeake Campus, a place at the head of the Hampton Roads summer theatre table. During the school year, TCC, like other area schools, has a regular series of genuinely worthwhile student shows. Summer in Chesapeake also brings the Symphony to the Robert G. “Buddy” Bagley Stage at City Park for a mix of popular and classical works. The park also hosts a “Sundays Under the Stars” music series.
Chesapeake is the place to find summer concerts “Under the Stars” and fresh air Shakespeare freshly done. It’s where a nascent public arts program sprouts and is home to one of Hampton Roads’ most worthy dance companies. The Second Wind Dance Company seems one of the last two surviving modern dance troupes, at least on a professional level. This 14year-old company produces its own highly praised concerts and provides dance talent and movement creativity to a host of other arts groups. Lively, insightful and charming performances have earned Shakespeare in the Grove, at the Tidewater
COURTESY OF PORTLOCK GALLERIES AT SONO
Chesapeake’s PortLock Galleries at SoNo, in a former elementary school in Historic South Norfolk, offers exhibitions of Virginia and local artists and art classes and is a focal point for the rejuvenation of the area. A glass exhibition is shown here.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
C E N T E R S TA G E
Another of those adaptive reuse accomplishments that seem a signature of local arts, the 1908 Portlock School #5 building was reworked in 2004 as the PortLock Galleries at SoNo, which offers exhibitions of Virginia and local artists and art classes, and is a focal point for the rejuvenation of Historic South Norfolk. The Virginia Arts Festival comes to the Chesapeake City Hall each spring, traditionally bringing the Virginia Wind Symphony. The Courts Complex annually hosts the City Court Student Art Gallery, and Chesapeake’s Department of Parks and Recreation is planning a public arts program. Sponsoring such arts events at the very seat of municipal government speak profoundly for the City’s commitment to culture. Chesapeake’s museums include the Chesapeake Planetarium, which offers free public programs each week including telescope observations.
dance, theater and art classes. The vacant storefront next door is its art-gallery-to-be. This charming rural area has a number of small museums, including the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center, which houses artifacts from the town since its founding in 1884; a Country Store Museum, also in Cape Charles; and Custis Tombs and Arlington, the site of a former plantation whose name was used for a plantation in Northern Virginia that later became Arlington National Cemetery.
COURTESY OF CITY OF HAMPTON
Hampton arts start with The American Theatre and its compatriot under the Hampton Arts Commission banner, the Charles H. Taylor Arts Center. The neighboring Hampton University Museum stands among the best of its kind anywhere. Thomas Nelson Community College not only has its own student productions, but is also hosting the fully professional Playwrights Premiere Theatre from Williamsburg. EAS TERN SHORE The Hampton Roads Civic Ballet marks its 60th year The Virginia Symphony plays almost everywhere, and of pre-professional training for students who perform semione of its newest spots is the Palace Theatre, a renovated art annually in shows blending traditional and contemporary deco, former movie house in Cape Charles on the Eastern choreography. Shore of Virginia. The Palace is the home of Arts Enter, a At 140 years old, the Hampton University Museum is determined small group of artists and arts advocates who are America’s oldest African-American museum, one of the oldest enlivening this small town near the southern tip of the museums in Virginia and arguably the senior museum in Delmarva Peninsula. Hampton Roads. Its collection of traditional African, Native American, Pacific Island and Asian art, and African-American folk and fine art, is housed in a former library, the newly restored Huntington Building. The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center serves the Peninsula with juried shows, a permanent collection, changing exhibits, classes and workshops and arts events. The American Theatre is routinely picked by subscribers of Hampton Roads Magazine as their favorite place to experience the performing arts. Director Michael Curry books an extraordinarily rich array of music, theater, dance, modern vaudeville, mini-circuses and every sort of performance one can conceive into the one-time vaudeville house/movie theatre/porn palace. Museums include Fort Monroe’s The Hampton Roads Convention Center, with its 344,000 square feet of convention and exhibit space, is roomy enough to accommodate 14,000 people, yet versatile so that it can moat-surrounded Casemate Museum, the comfortably host small, intimate gatherings. Army’s coast artillery museum that also exhibits Fort Monroe’s role in the Civil War; the Hampton History Museum that Further up the shore in Onancock, the North Street preserves and exhibits artifacts from the city’s historic past; Playhouse produces three series of shows every year. At 10 to and St. John’s Church & Parish Museum, the oldest English15 productions, it is two to three times more prolific than speaking parish in America; and the Virginia Air & Space most of its urban theatrical cousins. It offers an eclectic mix of Center, a nationally recognized science museum and home of original scripts, children’s shows, music and dance, along with the Apollo 12 Command Module.
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Quail RunPottery, Elisabeth Krome, A Touch of Earth, Williamsburg
Svin Co, Constance Svindland, Williamsburg
COURTESY OF LAUSANNE DAVIS CARPENTER
The Virginia Premiere Theatre has made the Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg and the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium at TNCC its venues of residence. Shown here is a scene from one of its plays, “The Waiting Room.”
Nancy Thomas Gallery, Merchants Square, Williamsburg
Performing Arts Series at Phi Beta Kappa Hall, College of William & Mary. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GREATER WILLIAMSBURG CHAMBER & TOURISM ALLIANCE
HISTORIC TRIANGLE Colonial Williamsburg is a great museum, an exercise in historically accurate scenic, prop and costume design and realistic acting, and it’s just one of several places to encounter the arts in the Historic Triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown. The world-class Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center celebrates the extraordinary efforts and accomplishments of untutored, creative souls who expressed themselves
outside the mainstream of traditional art. The Aldrich and its side-by-side companion, the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum – which preserves, presents and interprets examples of artistic ability put to the service of practicality in the 17th through19th centuries – are both part of Colonial Williamsburg. Merchants Square, just between the restored area and the College of William & Mary, often plays host to outdoor concerts and art shows. A converted movie house, the Kimball Theatre, faces the Square, too. A venue for lots of events, it’s home to the Playwrights Premiere Theatre, a fully professional troupe specializing in small, newly written shows. On the campus itself, the Virginia Shakespeare Festival fires up a couple of productions from the quill of the Sweet Swan of Avon every summer. Next door to Phi Beta Kappa Hall, where the Virginia Shakespeare Festival holds sway and where William & Mary students perform during the school year, is Lamberson Hall and a rare gem called the Muscarelle Museum of Art. Just turned 25, this art gallery and museum serves up a treasure trove of visual arts in a mix of touring exhibitions and permanent collections showcasing artists as important as Picasso and O’Keefe. Shifting from gown to town, the Williamsburg Players are also celebrating a significant anniversary. Fifty years old this year, this all-volunteer troupe of enthusiastic community actors and support staff routinely brings folks from all over the region to see its mix of popular plays. Also in Williamsburg, the St. Bede Catholic Church hosts the Virginia Symphony and Arts Festival performances. The Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg treats its audiences to visits by artists from all over the globe. One of the most fertile of all Historic Triangle venues is the Williamsburg Regional Library & Arts Center. Its 260+ seat auditorium is equally likely to present the Virginia Symphony, a nationally renowned opera recitalist or a jazz concert and forum.
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COURTESY OF YORK COUNTY
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In Yorktown, the Riverwalk Landing Outdoor Performing Arts and Art Shows program along the York River serves up a healthy mix of art yearround. And no visit to the Historic Triangle is complete without a stop at the Jamestown Glasshouse, where contemporary artisans replicate the colony’s first attempt at arts-centric industry. Museums include the Watermen’s Museum, Yorktown Arts Foundation and Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, and just across the York River in Gloucester is the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Aquarium Visitors Center.
Riverwalk Landing is the $10-million-dollar centerpiece of a $25-million renovation including streetscape improvements throughout the village of Yorktown, restoration of York Hall, shoreline stabilization and a scenic riverwalk connecting the National Park Service museum to the Yorktown Victory Center.
common theme, are supplemented by a hands-on Gallery for Kids, distance learning and an audio-visual collection. Christopher Newport University’s Theatre & Dance Department, now at home in the Ferguson Center, has a long-standing reputation of excellence and innovation. The well-regarded Art and Music Departments have their homes there, too. The Ferguson Center itself, hosting everything from the Virginia Symphony to European opera companies, has almost single handedly put the Peninsula on the national map of sizeable, first-rate performance facilities. It’s a triple-treat place. Smallest and most versatile of its three theaters is a “black box space” seating about 200, where the audience and staging areas may be almost infinitely rearranged. The intimate 440-seat Music and Theatre Hall is a lush rework of the old Ferguson High School theater. Grandest of all is the Concert Hall, seating as many as 1,700. Executive Director Bill Biddle voices a commitment to quality programming, because quality seems to be the determining factor in what does and does not draw audiences, he says. Having taken over the Yoder Barn, Christopher Newport University is doing a total renovation to meet the most stringent occupancy codes. The summer of 2008 should see a fully professional, equity company in residence there. Yoder
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Only Newport News has designated a thoroughfare as The Avenue of the Arts. It passes the Virginia Living Museum, sends a spur to the Peninsula Fine Arts Center and The Mariners’ Museum, then curves onto the campus of Christopher Newport University and to the Ferguson Center for the Arts. PHOTO BY TRAVIS FULLERTON, © 2007 VIRGINIA MUESUM OF FINE ARTS While this is the heart of the arts scene in Newport News, other spots, such as the Yoder Barn up the road a piece, the Peninsula Community Theatre in historic Hilton Village, and the neighboring Poquoson Island “Roadside” is an oil painting by Stephen Fox on Players are also display at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center as part of its Look Here: Speed Exhibit through March 23. vital elements. There’s also a Peninsula Youth Orchestra, plus the usual profusion of small cultural museums and art outlets. The Virginia Choral Society, turning 77 this year, is a 130-member choral group that does three Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts has become an international force in just two years, presenting some of the finest concerts annually. Its repertoire runs cultural attractions in the world. More than 300,000 people from throughout from light vocal music through Hampton Roads and beyond have experienced more than 150 attractions in the acoustically superb theaters. holiday tunes to the works of the great masters of serious art music. “Art is what you make it,” proclaims the motto of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. What it is making is available and lively. Its exhibitions, each a mix of shows linked by a
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would then possess the first such professional summer program in Hampton Roads. One of the main attractions near the Ferguson Center for the Arts and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center is the worldrenowned Mariner’s Museum, one of the largest and most comprehensive maritime museums in the world, which houses artifacts from the USS Monitor. Just up the road is the Virginia Living Museum, a hands-on education center that brings people in contact with more habitats, wildlife and plant species than would be encountered in a lifetime of outdoor adventures in Virginia. Other museums include the Virginia War Museum, the U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Ft. Eustis, Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center and Lee Hall Mansion.
nence – and changed its name from The Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences – in 1971 when grand collector Walter P. Chrysler Jr. brought it the acquisitions of his lifelong, global search for the finest art works. Its collections of American and European painting and sculpture, contemporary art and decorative arts, photography, and Chrysler’s special passion,
Home to the most prominent Hampton Roads professional arts groups – the Symphony, Opera, Chrysler Museum, the Stage Company and the Arts Festival – Norfolk anchors the Hampton Roads arts scene. Multiple dozens of smaller part-time professional, semi-pro and community arts endeavors, profit-making entertainment and art ventures and a concentration of presenting venues join this quintet, which are informally called The Big Five. The Symphony was just turning 70 in 1991, when the arrival of Musical Director JoAnne Falletta led this locally appreciated group to wider regard. It’s now included in every list of the continent’s top regional symphony orchestras. This year the VSO will crisscross all of Hampton Roads
COURTESY OF CITY OF NORFOLK
The L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center on the campus of Norfolk State University seats 1,800 people in its beautiful concert hall.
with 140 classical, pops, family, education and outreach concerts, including side-by-side concerts with the student musicians of Peninsula Youth Orchestra, the Williamsburg Youth Orchestra and Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia. The Virginia Symphony Chorus is another element in the mix of fine music it creates. Besides playing Symphony concerts at venues across the region, it also provides orchestral support for the Virginia Opera, Virginia Arts Festival and Virginia Ballet Theatre. The Chrysler Museum of Art vaulted to national promi-
art glass, are nothing less than worldclass, as are the touring exhibitions. The Virginia Stage Company, housed in downtown Norfolk’s historic Wells Theatre, is the area’s only fully professional, resident theater group. Each annual season of shows, produced here with first-rate, national professional The Norfolk Botanical Gardens includes 155 acres with more than 20 themed talent, aims at high theatrical art and gardens that can be viewed by foot, keeps in mind the unique makeup and tram or boat. interests of Hampton Roads. The production of new scripts is an important part of the VSC mission. The Wells is also a venue for the occasional visiting performance, for shows by the Governor’s School for the Arts, and for joint ventures like recent events in conjunction with the Arts Festival.
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COURTESY OF CITY OF NORFOLK
COURTESY OF CITY OF NORFOLK
The Wells Theatre originally opened in 1913 as a vaudeville venue and hosted some of the finest acts in America, including Will Rogers, Fred and Adele Astaire and John Phillip Sousa.
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The Virginia Opera Association got national praise with its first show, “La Traviata”, back in 1975, and has never looked back. The VOA first does lovely productions of classic grand operas and the occasional operetta in Norfolk at its home, the Harrison Opera House, then tours to Richmond and Fairfax. The Virginia Arts Festival, the youngest of the five, is the sole, strictly presenting organization of the bunch. Though its headquarters and a significant bulk of its events are in Norfolk, the Festival vies with the Symphony to be the most widely regional. In 2007, more than 30 separate groups played in nine cities at some 24 venues. Founded with the purpose of presenting Hampton Roads with top-notch musical, theatrical, dance and mingled arts from all over the world, the Festival has spurred arts and cultural tourism and raised Hampton Roads’ cultural profile worldwide. Norfolk’s resident Virginia Ballet Theatre, another of its venerable institutions, has historically been the leading light among local dance troupes and schools. Its students routinely go on to significant professional careers, and it has strong ties to great companies such as the Joffrey Ballet. Norfolk is also home to the region’s culturally focused mass media. WHRO Television brings Hampton Roads a wealth of PBS, children’s, educational and locally produced shows from its Norfolk headquarters.
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WHRO radio – our classical station – has a sister station in WHRV, devoted to public broadcasting for music, news and commentary. Few regions in the country can tune in two culturally attuned radio stations, and these voices of culture and the arts pull the region’s offerings together, and help it all gel, as no one else could. Norfolk offers other sources of serious art music. The Feldman Chamber Music Society presents Hampton Roads concerts by nationally and internationally important chamber ensembles. The Hampton Roads Chamber Players approaches the same repertoire with local musicians, including a resident quartet of the best pros around. The ODU Music Department offers symphonic and small group performances, and its Diehn Fine and Performing Art building hosts concerts by internationally known artists. The Virginia Wesleyan College Concert Series offers opportunities to hear performances by exceptional musicians at its intimate Hofheimer Theatre, including performances by the Virginia Wesleyan College Choir and The Wesleyan Singers. ODU, Norfolk State, Tidewater Community College and Virginia Wesleyan College theatre programs are just a part of Norfolk’s theatrical richness. The 81-year-old Little Theatre of Norfolk, the professionally minded Generic Theater, and the family- and youth-oriented Hurrah Players have well defined audiences. These well-established groups have paved the way for
SOMETIMES THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE, IS EVERY SEAT IN THE HOUSE.
Our last row of seats is a mere 175 feet from the stage. Which means you don’t just enjoy great theater, dance and music, you truly experience it.
3701 WILLETT DRIVE
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COURTESY OF COURTHOUSE GALLERIES
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the recently debuted Workshop Theatre Company, the innovative 40th Street Stage, the new Venue at 35th and for a series of small ad-hoc troupes. The Workshop Theatre shares space in a converted downtown Norfolk storefront with Todd Rosenleib Dance, a boldly professional modern dance company with a New York feel. Big venues like Chrysler Hall, Scope and the ODU Ted Constant Convocation Center host celebrity performers, touring professional shows and local artists. The finely renovated Crispus Attucks Cultural Center presents national and regional performers who target the African-American community, while fostering artistic accomplishments that cut across social and ethnic boundaries.
A weekend of activities during the “Come Home to History, Come Home to Portsmouth” celebration over the 2007 Memorial Day weekend included a Native American Heritage Day. Demonstrations included blacksmithing, glassblowing, quilting and native toolmaking in the courtyard of Courthouse Galleries.
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This chiseled glass sculpture by Henry Richardson, “Richardson Healing the World,” will be featured in the 2008 Outdoor Sculpture Competition at the Courthouse Galleries in Portsmouth. The exhibit opens on Feb. 8 and continues through Oct. 12.
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The TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center, another downtown venue, not only serves the Norfolk TCC Campus, but gives artists a medium-sized performance venue. In the rapidly self-rejuvenating downtown, the d’Art Center gives visual artists a place to work and sell their product and the public a way to watch them in their studios. The Selden Arcade – the City’s Cultural Arts Center and home to offices of its Cultural Affairs activities – houses d’Art and two other city-run galleries. Newest of all Norfolk’s galleries are The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries at ODU. The Baron and Ellin Gordon Gallery of Self-Taught Art displays various selections from the recently donated Gordon collection, some 350-plus nationally significant pieces. The University Gallery is a changing gallery of works by contemporary artists of international, national and regional repute. Museums include Nauticus, a contemporary global maritime commerce museum; Hampton Roads Naval Museum, featuring a real battleship and various military displays; the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, 20 theme gardens covering 155 acres; and The Hermitage Foundation Museum, offering contemporary art exhibitions, 12-acre gardens, seasonal events and multi-media art classes. Others include the MacArthur Memorial Museum, the final resting place of the General and Mrs. MacArthur; and various historic houses including Hunter House Victorian Museum, the Moses Myers House and the Norfolk History Museum at the Willoughby-Baylor House.
PORTSMOUTH Summertime in Portsmouth means TodiFest. Year round, there’s Willett Hall, community theater, an array of museums and small arts galleries, and one of the least-recognized, almost accidental, collections of one of the most practical of all art forms. That’s Old Towne Portsmouth, a locally unique concentration of early 18th-century homes and historic buildings that escaped the wrecking ball of urban renewal. Among the lower High Street’s neat old facades is the Courthouse Galleries. This big red brick ante-bellum building shows off its collections in two sizeable galleries and a courtyard. Workshops, art classes and programs as varied as magic shows, theatrical readings and show and tell observations on local history, all supplement and enrich the offerings. City-operated Willett Hall, a couple of miles up the road, books in everything from R&B to Italian opera, from touring shows to local children’s theater. It’s the venue of choice for Portsmouth Community Concerts Inc., a 70-year-old group that brings in artists of note, and the site of the Todi Music Festival’s annual opera. Todi fills downtown Portsmouth every summer with an array of musical and dance events “from retro rock to Russian opera.” City Councilman Steven Heretick notes that the
SUFFOLK SMITHFIELD Smithfield Little Theater has produced a regular series of well received plays annually since 1962. Besides a host of commercial arts and crafts galleries, the town also has a lively visual arts programs under the auspices of the Isle of Wight Arts League. The Arts League is responsible for the Smithfield Cultural Arts Center, a converted mansion in the Historic District. The Center hosts arts classes for all ages, presents rotating arts exhibits in three galleries and provides studio space to resident artists. The Arts League co-sponsors a Summer Concert Series with The Smithfield Times and joins with Smithfield Music to produce concerts at the Smithfield Little Theater. The Virginia Symphony Chamber
The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is the one-time Suffolk High School reworked to house a state-ofthe-art theater, art galleries, teaching studios, rehearsal space, administrative offices, a small restaurant space and a ballroom/meeting hall. The renovations are on the level of art themselves. The Suffolk Museum displays visual art works of all sorts in a onetime library, and gives the Suffolk Art League, the culmination of a long city and private partnership, a base for its workshops and classes. The Center, now going into its second full year of operation, hosts stars including Percy Sledge and
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Orchestra Series also makes regular visits to the Little Theater. There are a number of historic homes and museums in town, including the Hattie Drummond House, the Schoolhouse Museum, the Old Courthouse of 1750, Isle of Wight Courthouse of 1800, Historic St. Luke’s Shrine, Boykin’s Tavern Museum and Historic Fort Boykin. The Isle of Wight County Museum has galleries dedicated to the history of the Civil War, the Smithfield Ham and the early meatpacking industry, Native American artifacts and other rotating exhibits.
COURTESY OF SUFFOLK CENTER FOR CULTURAL ARTS
Festival brings an “international flair” to the city, and “puts it on the national map” for the arts aware traveler. The Little Theatre of Portsmouth has soldiered on through fire and flood to remain one of Hampton Roads most long-lived arts groups. LTP performs at the former Manor High, now the Woodrow Wilson High School, in an auditorium recently rebuilt – thanks to the commitment of Portsmouth Public Schools – after arson and a sprinkler system devastated the playing space. The Children’s Museum of Virginia, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, Railroad Museum of Virginia, Lightship Museum and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame are among the museums in Portsmouth.
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COURTESY OF KIM NORMAN
The Smithfield Little Theater has been active since 1962 and moved into a beautiful new theater in 2001. Shown here is the cast of The Wizard of Oz from the fall 2006 production.
The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, a former school building, now offers an exciting variety of performers including (from top) Dixie Hummingbirds on March 8 and Judy Collins on May 8.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
mention too, as do the widely regional Cantata Chorus and the Virginia Art Song Society. The Little Theatre of Virginia Beach is going strong at its home on Barberton Lane. The Hampton Roads Shakespeare Festival, one of several performance and educational projects offered by Summer Shakes Inc., thrives in the open air a few blocks away. Regent University students, many of them just a step from full-time careers in the arts, stage plays that routinely draw near-capacity audiences. Virginia Beach’s newest attraction is King Neptune, a 34-foot-high bronze statue rising from the For cutting-edge visual arts in Atlantic Ocean at 31st Street and Atlantic Avenue, overlooking Neptune Park. Hampton Roads, the Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia, just a few blocks from VIRGINIA BEACH the Oceanfront, is the place to go. CACV All eyes in Virginia Beach, and across the region as well, presents exhibitions, studio classes and workshops, and speare on the Sandler Center, the newest of Hampton Roads big cial events that bring the most forward-thinking artists to the city-centric performance venues. It’s a long-awaited home for region. the Virginia Beach Chorale, the Virginia Musical Theatre and Museums include the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Symphonicity (formerly the Virginia Beach Symphony). The Science Center, the Francis Land House, a 200-year-old planNorfolk-based Virginia Arts Festival, Virginia Symphony, tation now open to the public; the Adam Thoroughgood Governor’s School for the Arts and Hurrah Players are on the House, one of the oldest surviving colonial homes in Virginia; guest list. Big outside acts stop by as well. the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum that displays wildfowl The Chorale, at 50, is the oldest continuously active perart and artifacts including extensive exhibits of decoys; and forming group in the city, serving up semi-annual performthe Old Coast Guard Station. ances. The VMT is the professional troupe devoted to the quality production of musical theater, mixing imported pros Norfolk native Montague Gammon III obtained a degree in theatre with local talent to conspicuous success. from a small liberal arts college, which had no theatre department. Symphonicity is the biggest of the Beach-based classical He promptly came home to work in a fluctuating mixture of used groups, but Bellissima, a Women’s Choral ensemble, deserves car sales, local theatrical production and local writing. COURTESY OF CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH
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Dionne Warwick, touring entertainers, professional shows for young people, and national tours of Shakespeare. Classes and workshops in pottery, photography, ballroom dancing or shag are part of the mix; so is a film series. Two other art galleries, the Shooting Star Gallery and Red Thread Studios, join with the Suffolk Museum and the Art League for semi-annual joint exhibitions and art-centric events. The Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, the restored Main Street train station, displays a two-room HO-scale model of Suffolk in 1907, as well as other railroad memorabilia.
COURTESY OF THE VIRGINIA AQUARIUM & MARINE SCIENCE CENTER
Virginia Beach is known for its beautiful beaches and family atmosphere. A favorite outing is the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, featuring the state’s largest aquarium, hosting 700,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats, three touch tanks, more than 300 hands-on exhibits, an outdoor aviary, 10 acres of marsh habitat, and a three-mile nature trail. Highlights include sharks, sea turtles, harbor seals, river otters, stingrays and more.
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VIRGINIA April 18-May 26 2008
ARTS FESTIVAL Imagine, Inspire, Become. Noche Falmenca
10 Cities, 39 Days, 68 Performances.
Béla Fleck Audra McDonald
Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theatre
Virginia International Tattoo
Festival tickets on sale February 11th Festival Box Office at MacArthur Center, Norfolk
O F F S C R I P T: An opinion
B Y C A R LT O N H A R D Y
or more than two decades Virginia’s arts and cultural organizations have waited for the Virginia General Assembly to honor repeated pledges to fund the Virginia Commission for the Arts at $1 per capita. Over the years several Joint Resolutions passed by both houses of the General Assembly have endorsed this goal – the last being House Joint Resolution No. 543 on Jan. 20, 1997. What was a $6-million pledge 20 years ago (based on population) is now a $7-million promise as Virginia’s population has steadily increased – yet, funding today (80 cents per capita) is
A recent survey of state legislators conducted by Virginians for the Arts, the advocacy group for the arts in Virginia, shows overwhelming support to increase financial support for the Virginia Commission for the Arts and achieve the $1-per-capita pledge. There are a number of possible funding sources. An arts and tourism fee of 50 cents per night on the rental of every hotel/motel room, bed-and-breakfast room rental and campsite rental would fully fund the state’s long-standing pledge. Another possibility is an entertainment fee of $1 per month on the bill of every cable television, Internet access and satellite TV dish. Or, an entertainment fee could be included for all tickets sold in Virginia: 15 cents for movies; 25 cents for concerts, plays and sporting events. Why is funding the arts important? In his book “Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged,” Roger Scruton asserts that “Unlike science, culture is not a repository of factual information or theoretical truth, nor is it a kind of training in skills, whether rhetorical or practical. Yet it is a source of knowledge: emotional knowledge, concerning what to do and what to feel. We transmit this knowledge through ideals and examples, through images, narratives, and symbols.” The arts tell us who we are and how we fit into the world—who we are as a people, from where we came and where we’re headed, what is important and why it’s important. It is the way we pass our values and mores, norms, customs and taboos from one generation to the next. No longer should we approach our legislators, hat in hand, begging for support each year. It is time for the Virginia Assembly to keep the promise to the Virginia Commission for the Arts, to the students and residents of Virginia, and to the arts and cultural organizations that daily enrich our lives.
THE ARTS IN VIRGINIA SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BEG FOR PROMISED SUPPORT slightly less than it was in 1990 (87 cents per capita). Virginia’s arts are the lowest funded among all its neighboring states. By all accounts, state and local governments are in a belt-tightening mode as they prepare for an uncertain financial picture. The most obvious place to begin to balance the budget, in many minds, is with the arts. But look again. According to a study by two renowned Virginia economists, the arts are a billion-dollar-a-year industry in Virginia that employ some 20,000 people and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity, lure tourists from across the nation and around the globe. Every $1 million in arts revenue generates receipts for Virginia businesses Every $1 million in arts revenue of $2 million, value-added of generates receipts for Virginia $1 million, labor compensation businesses of $2 million. of $700,000 and employment for 45 people. Funds distributed by the Virginia Commission for the Arts pay enormous dividends by ensuring access to arts and cultural opportunities throughout the state, and by providing an important source of “seed money” to help leverage giving from individuals, businesses and local governments. Hundreds of arts organizations contribute to the overall economic health of their communities. These organizations enrich the lives of Virginians with concerts, dance performances, art exhibitions and plays. Virtually all have educational programs tailored for young people, which support the Standards of Learning.
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Carlton Hardy is the “father” of the arts and culture license plate (Virginians for the Arts), board member of the Cultural Alliance and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, and a tireless advocate for arts and cultural organizations.
PAT R O N S
MINETTE COOPER AND LOIS HORNSBY:
BY BC WILSON
COURTESY OF RUDACILLE PHOTOGRAPHY
There’s a category of person, we’ll call them “professional volunteers,” who take their roles as volunteers as seriously as some of us take our jobs. They spend their days in board meetings, fundraising appointments and home offices, working full-time for their cause. They organize, supervise, lobby, cajole and inspire. Minette Cooper and Lois Hornsby are of this type. They’ve been quiet but steady contributors of their passion, intelligence and time to the Hampton Roads cultural community for decades. They are founders of the Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads, and each contributes in countless ways to the support of arts, education and culture in Tidewater. Cooper and Hornsby met in 1982, united by the desire to form a body that would coordinate cultural organizations in the South Hampton Roads and the Peninsula. They had previously been involved in the Metropolitan Arts Council and the Peninsula Arts Council, respectively. Since these groups were united in the Cultural Alliance, each has served on the board, and Minette, as president. Cooper’s home lies on the Lafayette River in Norfolk. “What kept Norfolk alive while it was doing the things that didn’t work, was the fact that still there was a lot of activity at night,” Cooper says, “People were coming down to see the live performances.” She is eager to point out the economic role that lively arts play in the region. The region now represents half of all arts and culture dollars generated in Virginia’s billion-dollar arts economy. The arts payroll in Hampton Roads now exceeds $100 million annually. Cooper refers to this aspect as “the culture industry,” and points out that the lively arts are easy to sell to city managers once you understand the economic impact. “If you look at what the cities have done, you realize that every single city in the whole region — every single one, has used the arts as a means of revitalizing its city,” says Cooper. Since the Alliance was formed, every city in the Hampton Roads area has formed its own local arts council and all are participants in the Alliance. Cooper is currently serving her third term as president of Young Audiences of Virginia, an organization that provides art experiences tied to the curriculum for children. Her contributions to arts education in the state were recognized by the Cultural Alliance when it named the annual Arts Education Alli Award in her honor. Hornsby lives in a fun and funky home in Williamsburg, where a colorful sarcophagus, cast-off from a local theatrical production, stands next to the front door, and framed editions of her son Bruce’s platinum and gold records hang in the living room. She feels music in her body: “Your heartbeat and your breathing are your percussion,” she says.
Minette Cooper (left) and Lois Hornsby are volunteers extraordinaire who have helped mold the arts scene in Hampton Roads.
Hornsby is, of course, well known for mothering a Grammywinning musician, but she is particularly proud of her accomplishments at integrating arts into primary and secondary schools. “To me arts and schools have to be together. It carries over to the generations,” she says. Hornsby was also a founder of the Williamsburg Music Club and of the Lord Chamberlain Society of the Virginia Shakespeare Festival. She’s a founding member of All Together, a group that promotes racial dialog and cooperation. Both Cooper’s and Hornsby’s homes feature enormous pianos, and both women are trained pianists. Cooper majored in music at Barnard College, and Hornsby minored in piano at Mary Washington College. Both come from families that have long participated in and supported the arts, but they have translated their own musical abilities into a passion for arts in general, and directed their energies toward creating and supporting organizations that nourish the arts in Hampton Roads. They would do it whether it was good for the region or not. It just happens to also be working for Hampton Roads, bettering our lives and bolstering our economy at the same time. BC Wilson is an internet product developer, freelance writer and graduate student in ODU’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. He spends his free time dragging his two children around in a bike trailer. He lives in Norfolk.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
VIRGINIA MASS CHOIR hopes to break away from the BY JAMES THOMAS JR.
y performing its own original music and maintaining the familiar tradition of “just having church,” the gospel newcomer Virginia Mass Choir hopes to rise to fame. Formed in April 2006 and based in Norfolk, the choir is composed of more than 200 vocalists and musicians from Hampton Roads, Richmond, Danville and several other cities. Under the direction of Earl Bynum of Chesapeake, they offer a unique blend of choral praise music and share a common “love for singing, a love for people and a love for the Lord,” Bynum explained. Most of the choir’s selections are original compositions, written and set to music through a collaboration of Bynum, bandmaster Cedric Rouson and Pastor John Williams, both of Portsmouth. Rouson, 20, started writing music at age 9 and was chosen music director of his first adult choir at age 16. The choir is due to release its first CD later in 2008. It will include “Master Have Mercy,” a ballad of contrition, written by Rouson and performed by soloist
CeCe Cotton and “Praise the Lord,” an upbeat praise song and one of several collaborative works by the trio of writers. Both selections are expected to receive initial play on gospel music stations, said Bynum, and be available for mass distribution. Despite the emphasis on developing its own gospel sound, the universal appeal of all-time favorites can seldom be overlooked, admits Bynum. As a result, the choir also performs classic favorites such as the late James Cleveland’s “I Ain’t No Ways Tired” and “Holy Ghost,” by the late Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers of Chicago. Ministry through song, however, is what the choir considers its primary purpose and mandate. That conviction often takes the choir beyond its hub state of Virginia to national and international venues. The choir recently completed a two-week tour of Italy with concerts in 10 northern and southern cities. Italy, which has no gospel radio stations,
gospel TV shows or gospel record stores, celebrates gospel music during the Christmas season, noted Bynum. Songs such as “Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers is elevated to near anthem levels in Italy at Christmas. The choir is also scheduled to set sail on a tour at Nassau, Bahamas, May 15-19, 2008, and a tour of Japan is planned for 2009. During home stays, the choir often is invited to perform at numerous prestigious engagements and to accompany several gospel music notables. In August, the choir traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., to attend the 40th Annual Gospel Music Workshop of America Convention, sharing the stage with the Clark Sisters and Pace Sisters and singing backup for the Craig Brothers. The choir has also appeared in concert with Grammy Award winner CeCe Winans and in Richmond with R&B-turned-gospel singer, Tony Terry. With an abundance of gospel choirs, recordings and talent already in the highly competitive industry, the Virginia Mass Choir is poised to make its mark with a new distinctive sound of its very own, said Bynum, who also added, “It’s just good, solid church music for Sunday morning.” James Thomas, a freelance writer from Smithfield, migrated to New York directly after college at Hampton University and took the long way back to Smithfield. Currently, he’s putting the finishing touches on his first novel.
COURTESY OF DERRICK ROOTS
AN ARTS SAMPLER
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
The Virginia Mass Choir, a Hampton Roads-based gospel group, has experienced phenomenal success since it was formed less than two years ago.
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F E B R U A RY The Bennett Brothers. 7:30 p.m., Williamsburg Library Theatre, Guitar and piano original works and standards. wrl.org/programs. 1 Jeff Daniels. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-50. 8 Dolorez’s Blues: One Woman’s Journey. 7:30 p.m., Williamsburg Library Theatre. Poetry and music. Free. wrl.org/programs. 9 General Johnson & Chairmen of the Board. 8 p.m. Suffolk Center for the Arts. $35-45. 11 Norfolk Chamber Consort. 8 p.m., Chandler Recital Hall, ODU. 16 Krista Detor. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30, adults; $15, students. 17 I. Sherman Greene Chorale: A Salute to Black Composers. 6 p.m., Wilder Performing Arts Center, NSU. Free will offering. 18 Gryphon Piano Trio. 7 p.m., Chrysler Museum theatre. Discussion before concert, reception following. 23 Virginia Chorale: Vespers. 8 p.m., Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 2400 Newport Ave., Norfolk. Tickets required. vachorale.org. 24 Guitarists Joshua Lessard and Robert Esperat, 3 p.m., ODU Community Music Academy. Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. Free. 28 I. Sherman Greene Chorale. Concert of sacred and secular music. 11:30 a.m., Mount Zion Baptist Church, 900 E. Middlesex St., Norfolk. Free. norfolkarts.org. 29Coyote Run. Dewey Decibel Mar 1 Concert Series. 7:30 p.m., Williamsburg Library Theatre. wrl.org/programs. 29 The Clayton Miller Band. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30, adults; $15, students.
The Tallis Scholars. ODU’s Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. 8 p.m. March 3; master class 12:30 p.m. March 4. $10, students; $25, general. The Dixie Hummingbirds & Marie Knight, with Suffolk Youth Gospel Choir. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-45.
Virginia Children’s Chorus: Fauré “Requiem.” 7:30 p.m., Larchmont United Methodist Church, 1101 Jamestown Crescent. Ticketed event. vachildrenschorus.com. Cantori sings Palm Sunday Vesper Service, including Rutter’s “Requiem.” 7:30 p.m., Williamsburg Baptist Church. Free. Formosa String Quartet. 7 p.m., Chrysler Museum theatre. Discussion before concert, reception following. Virginia Symphony Orchestra String Trio. 2 p.m., Chrysler Museum of Art. Classical and romantic works by master composers. A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, by Julie Johnson. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-35.
APRIL Sundays Gospel in the Garden, 3 p.m.,
Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Chris Hillman. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-$35. 4 Old School Freight Train. 7:30 p.m., Williamsburg Library Theatre. Blend of bluegrass, jazz, Latin and Celtic. wrl.org/programs. 10 Tim and Judith Olbrych in Concert. 11:30 a.m., Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church, 7036 Chesapeake Blvd., Norfolk. 11 Suzy Bogguss. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-35. 11 The Cantata Chorus: “Beethoven’s Mass in C.” 8 p.m., Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 560 W. Olney Rd., Norfolk. Ticketed event. cantatachorus.org. 12 Virginia Chorale: American Delights. 8 p.m., Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 6400 Newport Ave., Norfolk. Ticketed event. vachorale.org. 18-20 Virginia International Tattoo: A Tribute to Veterans. Scope. Tickets, times vary. 19 Gordon Chambers. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-35. 20 Spirit of Uganda. 7 p.m., Willett Hall, Portsmouth. $15, students; $35, general. 20 The King of Instruments and The Instruments of Kings, music for brass and organ with Virginia Symphony Brass Quintet. 4 p.m., 5
Williamsburg Baptist Church. Free. Arts Within Reach Program TBD. 11:30 a.m., Mount Zion Baptist Church, 900 E. Middlesex St., Norfolk. 25 Christa Rakick, concert organist. 8 p.m., Christ & St. Luke’s Church, Norfolk. $25. 25 Miami Strong Quartet. 10:30 a.m., Chrysler Museum Theatre, Norfolk. $20. 26 Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony with Virginia Symphony. 8 p.m., Chrysler Hall, Norfolk. $45-$75. 25-27 Lost in the Stars, Music by Kurt Weil with Virginia Symphony. 8 p.m. April 25 and 26; 4 p.m. April 27. Attucks Theatre, Norfolk. $50. 27 Miami String Quartet. 7 p.m., Great Bridge Presbyterian Church, Chesapeake. $30. 27-28 Jazz Saxophonist Scott Robinson, 4 p.m. April 27; 8 p.m. April 28, ODU’s Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. $10, students; $15, general. 29 Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, guitar. 7:30 p.m., Chrysler Museum Theatre, Norfolk. $25. 30 Schub, Lin, Hoffman: Virginia Premiere of Joan Tower Trio. 7:30 p.m. Chrysler Museum Theatre, Norfolk. $30. 24
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Schub, Lin, Hoffman. 10:30 a.m., Trinity Episcopal Church. $20. Kathleen Battle. 7:30 p.m., Harrison Opera House, Norfolk. $25-$100. Town Mountain, bluegrass. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30 adults, $15 students. Guarneri String Quartet. 8 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, Portsmouth. $45. In Honor of Israel @ 60: Mining Golda. 7:30 p.m., Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach. $37-250. Schub, Kavafian, Shifrin. 10:30 a.m., First Presbyterian Church, Virginia Beach. $20. Judy Collins. 7:30 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-60. PANorama Caribbean Music Festival. Oceanfront, Virginia Beach. Free. Peking Acrobats. 8 p.m. May 9; 2 and 8 p.m. May 10, Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach. $27-47. Schub, Kavafian, Shifrin. 7:30 p.m., Phi Beta Kappa Hall, Williamsburg. $30. Catherine Russell, jazz. 8 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $30-35. Audra McDonald. 7 p.m., Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach. $37-100. Schola Cantorum: Truth from Above. 4 p.m., Ocean View Presbyterian Church, 9200 Tidewater Dr., Norfolk. Ticketed event. schola-cantorum.org. Miami String Quartet. 7:30 p.m., American Theatre, Hampton. $30.
Miami String Quartet. 10:30 a.m., Ferguson Center for the Arts. $20. 15 From the Top, hosted by pianist Christopher O’Riley. 7:30 p.m., Ferguson Center for the Arts. $15-35. 16 Béla Fleck with Tony Trischka. 8 p.m., Ferguson Center for the Arts. $35. 19-22 Cantus. 7:30 p.m. May 19, Christ & St. Luke’s Church, Norfolk; 7:30 p.m. May 20, Smithfield Little Theatre, Smithfield; 7:30 p.m. May 22, St. Bede Catholic Church, James City County. $30. 19 JoAnn Falletta and Friends, 7:30 p.m., Abingdon Church, Gloucester, JoAnn Falletta, conductor of Virginia Symphony, plays classical guitar accompanied by flute and clarinet. $25. 21 Living Legacy: A Celebration of Holocaust Composers. 7:30 p.m., Chrysler Museum Theatre, Norfolk. $30. 22 Coffee Concert, Artist TBA. 10:30 a.m., Williamsburg Winery, James City County. $20. 24 Count Basie Orchestra. 8 p.m., Sunken Garden, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg. $15-45. 25 Tchaikovsky Spectacular “Festival Finale” with Virginia Symphony 7 p.m., Sunken Garden, College of William & Mary. $20-50. 26 Masterworks in the Making: A Concert of Premieres by the Fellows of The John Duffy Composers Institute. 2 p.m., Chandler Hall, ODU. $10, students; $15, general.
Hampton Roads Youth Wind Ensemble, Community Music Academy. 3 p.m., University Theatre. USAF Heritage of America Langley Winds Woodwind Quintet, Arts Within Reach. 6 p.m., Pagoda Garden, Teahouse and Gallery, 265 W. Tazewell St., Norfolk. Chamber music from Puccini and Bach to Bacharach and Gershwin. 10th Annual Phelps Brothers Music Festival, 1-6 p.m., Lakeside Park on Bainbridge Boulevard, South Norfolk. Free. http://phelpsbrothers.tripod.com/. New England Conservatory of Music Piano Trio, Arts Within Reach. 11:30 a.m., Mount Zion Baptist Church, 900 E. Middlesex St., Norfolk.
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Fine Arts Commission Under the Stars Performance Series 2008, Pops at The Bagley, concert featuring Todi Summer Symphony on the Buddy Bagley Stage, Chesapeake City Park, with a grand fireworks finale. Bring chairs or blanket. Free. cityofchesapeake.net.
VIRGINIA PREMIERE THEATRE carves niche by producing
NEW WORK on local
The director of the Virginia Premiere Theatre knew immediately that he wanted to be a Shakespearean actor while watching Orson Wells COURTESY OF BRUCE NELSON
B Y R O O PA S WA M I N AT H A N
do a Richard III monologue on the Merv Griffin Show.
The Virginia Premiere Theatre specializes in original work. The production of “Smith! Being the Life and Death of Cap’n John” premiered at The Kimball Theatre last spring and ran throughout 2007.
ut after spending close to 20 years in New York as an actor, playwright, director and producer, Robert Ruffin moved back to Virginia in 1999 because he was disillusioned with the commercial theater scene in New York City. He’d heard that the Kimball Theatre had been renovated and converted into a live performance theater and decided to try a small show to see how it worked. “When I saw the opportunity it presented to give back to the community that had reared me, I knew that destiny was giving me a gentle but very firm nudge,” Ruffin said. And thus, the Virginia Premiere Theatre was born, with the Kimball as its venue of residence. Last June, the theater announced a second venue of residence, the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium on the campus of Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, and that residency began in September. Ruffin said he thinks that good professional theater should provide an avenue for discourse. The plays should be topical, relevant and push people beyond their comfort zones. It must also entertain, or the audience won’t return.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
The Virginia Premiere Theatre selects its season based on those criteria – entertainment and relevance. Even though the theater is referred to as avant garde, Ruffin says that the plays the theater stages are extremely accessible. Ruffin sees a growing, thriving community for the theater scene in Hampton Roads. “Clearly a renaissance is underway with performing arts centers popping up on what seems to be a daily basis,” Ruffin said. “But my biggest concern about the performing arts in the area is that we are importing most of it and exporting little of it. It causes our talented young people to leave the area in search of opportunity elsewhere. While I’m very grateful to have the programs offered by the Ferguson Center, the American Theatre, the Virginia Arts Festival and others, I cannot help but believe we should spend more effort developing and supporting organizations that will reverse this trend.” As part of the fall season, the Virginia Theater presented “The Gift of the Magi,” written by Ruffin and directed by Mark Lerman, former artistic director of the Perishable Theatre in
Providence, R.I., a company that Robert Ruffin specializes in new work. Another important voice in American theater is Laura Schellhardt, whose play, “The K of D,” was performed there last fall. Schellhardt, who currently leads the theater department at Northwestern University in Chicago, says she wanted to explore the element of fear in theater. Vacillating between writing either a ghost story or one that dealt with urban legends, she finally opted for the latter and “The K of D” was born. It’s truly a different play – only one actor plays the part of 16 different characters. Schellhardt says that even as she wrote this play, she knew that she wanted to have a single actor perform the different roles and knew how difficult it could be to market such a play. That’s why she was thrilled to have the play performed at the Virginia Premiere Theatre. Also, the quality of fear she wanted to evoke through the play worked perfectly in a smaller setting like the one that the Virginia Premiere Theatre provides.
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21-24 The Kimball Theatre is one of the venues in residence for the Virginia Premiere Theatre, with the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium serving as the second venue.
Roopa Swaminathan is in her third year of Old Dominion University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She’s a freelance writer, filmmaker and wannabe Oscar winner.
“Twelfth Night.” The National Players. 7:30 p.m., Suffolk Center of the Arts, $25-30. “Eugene Onegin.” Virginia Opera premiere at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House. Shows 8 p.m. Feb. 8; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 10; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 8 p.m. Feb. 15; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17. $25-99. vaopera.org. “History Alive!” Virginia Opera. Ocean View Senior Center, 600 E. Ocean View Ave., 1 p.m. New musical providing overview of Virginian and American history from Jamestown to present. “Miss Saigon.” Sandler Center for the Arts. Virginia Musical Theatre. Tickets vary. broadwayatthecenter.com. “Rashomon.” ODU’s University Theatre. $10, students; $15, general. “Pinkalicious.” Musical about dessert, desire and discipline. 11 a.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts, $25 adult; $6 kids/students. “Driving Miss Daisy.” Smithfield Little Theatre. Also showing Feb. 28-March 2, March 6-8. $15. smithfieldlittletheatre.com.
“Mammoth Follies,” the dinosaur musical. 11 a.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $15, adults; $6, kids/students. “Charlotte’s Web.” 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, TCC Roper Performing Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk. $10, children; $17, adults. hurrahplayers.com. “Titanic.” Sandler Center for the Arts. Virginia Musical Theatre. $30-40. broadwayatthecenter.com. “Excerpts.” Virginia Stage Company. 11:30 a.m., Mount Zion Baptist Church, 900 E. Middlesex St., Norfolk. “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Virginia Opera at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House. 8 p.m. March 28; 2:30 p.m. March 30; 7:30 p.m. April 2; 8 p.m. April 4; 2:30 p.m. April 6. $25-99. vaopera.org.
“Charlotte’s Web” by the Hurrah Players. 3 p.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $10. “Alice Through the Opera Glass,” by the Virginia Opera. 11 a.m., Suffolk Center for the Arts. $15, adults; $6 kids/students. “10 for 10.” ODU Theatre. 8 p.m. April 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19; 2:30 p.m. April 12 and 19, Stables Theatre. ODU Theatre. Directors have 10 days to rehearse, designers have 10 days to build, actors have 10 minutes to perform, audience has 10 plays to watch, $10 to pay. Stables Theatre. $10. “Smokey Joe’s Café.” Sandler Center for the Arts. Virginia Musical Theatre. Tickets vary. broadwayatthecenter.com.
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Ruffin said the theater was delighted to have one of Schellhardt’s plays and that it is an example of the kind of work the theater wants to present. “In our past, Virginia generated new thoughts and ideas that changed the world. I believe we still can. One day, I’d like to see Virginia become an exporter of world-class performing arts programming to cities around the world,” Ruffin said.
T H E AT R E A N D O P E R A
“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” Smithfield Little Theatre. Also showing May 8-11 and 22-24. $15. smithfieldlittletheatre.com. “Hurrah for Broadway.” 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, TCC Roper Performing Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk. Performs at The Commodore Theatre Portsmouth at 2 p.m. May 17 and 18. $10 children; $17 adults. hurrahplayers.com.
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“The Robber Bridegroom.” 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, TCC Roper Performing Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk. $10 children; $17 adults. hurrahplayers.com. rahplayers.com.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
robably every artist believes their work comes from the heart, but Laurel Duplessis has an extra reason to say so – it is inspired by her new, transplanted heart and helps those who have undergone the procedure. The Hampton artist works in the natural light of the second-floor studio in her home on Mill Creek. Projects in various stages of completion surround her, some on the wall, others on the floor and on easels. “Stepping Out,” a large piece on the floor, features a series of lively saxophone players, identical except in shades of color, which Duplessis is donating for an auction to a health center in Massachusetts. The piece, like much of her work, incorporates a combination of techniques, including a watercolor background, a linocut print – made from cuts in linoleum – and an embossment using paper she made from a mold that she constructed. She also does serigraphs, or silk screening, and, at one time she did etchings and lithographs. Her work honors the richness and struggle of life in New Orleans, both
BY GAIL KENT
before and after Katrina, in work such as “New Orleans Lace,” and “New Orleans Renaisance,” and in Charleston’s Low Country, in “Low Country Weaver,” a mixed media print that incorporates real blades of sweet grass and pieces of a palmetto leaves on a weaver’s lap. Duplessis makes her own paper using acid-free cotton “linters,” pulverized pulp flattened into sheets, and likes to add bits of colored paper, tea “The Burrito Maker” is one of Duplessis’s hand-colored linocuts. leaves and various dyes. Other work reflects travels to Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. from 1983-1990. She retired as the cura“My art is an extension of myself tor of the Art and Artifacts Division of the that reflects the people, places and Schomburg Center for Research in Black events I have encountered,” Duplessis Culture of the New York Public Library. said. In spite of her impressive resume, Her work has been exhibited in perhaps some of Duplessis’s most impormany national and international galleries. tant work is the potentially life-saving Now a full-time artist, Duplessis has work she is now doing. On April 16, taught art, humanities and art history at 2006, Duplessis underwent a heart transHampton University and Norfolk State plant at Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk. University; and was also the curator of A virus from a childhood case of chicken arts at the Hampton University Museum pox had emerged in her left eye in 1995,
HAMPTON ARTIST CREATES
‘ rt Heart’ A FROM THE
TO HELP TRANSPLANT PATIENTS
Artist Laurel Duplessis works with watercolors in her home studio in Hampton.
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Saturdays d’ART Demos. d’ART Center presents local
causing life-threatening cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens the heart. “After surgery, they didn’t think I was going to make it for a while, because they couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Duplessis says. “But the prayers of my family and friends all over the world saved my life.” After her experience, Duplessis learned that the cost of anti-rejection medication averages $4,000 per month, and the first month’s supply can be as high as $10,000 –costs that are especially prohibitive for patients without insurance. She was so grateful for her own renewed energy and health that she wanted to do something to give back. Duplessis decided to help patients with their medication expense through her business that she developed named Art From the Heart, using the sale of her artwork to raise money for T.E.A.M. (Transplant Emergency Medication Assistance). A portion of the contribution goes to produce note cards and holiday cards sold to benefit the T.E.A.M. fund. The cards feature reproductions of four original paintings. Staying true to her love of art and museums, Duplessis has contributed a portion of her Art from the Heart proceeds to the Hampton University Museum. “I have been blessed,” she says. “And I’m just happy to be able to do work that I love to do with the two causes I believe in.” Gail Kent is executive editor of Hampton Roads Bravo!, a part-time student in ODU’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and a fulltime grandmother to an amazing granddaughter.
artists in weekly interactive arts demonstrations and workshops. 1-3 p.m., 208 E. Main St., Norfolk. The Nature of Tidewater: Photographs by Al Benas and Phyllis Slate. Portlock Galleries at SoNo, Chesapeake. Shows through April 6.
M AY Saturdays d’ART Demos. d’ART Center presents
Saturdays d’ART Demos. d’ART Center presents local
artists in weekly interactive arts demonstrations and workshops. 1-3 p.m., 208 E. Main St., Norfolk. The Kenneth FitzGerald Album (Extended Play), ODU’s Baron & Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, opens 7 p.m. Exhibit shows through April 6. Howling Dogs Art Opening reception, 6-8 p.m., d’ART Center, Selden Arcade, Norfolk. Shows through April 13. Free. 625-4211. Travelogue: Artists on the Road. Exhibits through June 8. Focuses on painters, photographers and other artists who create art based on travels to other locales. Peninsula Fine Arts Center.
Saturdays d’ART Demos. d’ART Center presents local
artists in weekly interactive arts demonstrations and workshops. 1-3 p.m., 208 E. Main St., Norfolk. Annual Juried ODU Visual Studies Student Show, Baron & Ellin Gordon Art Galleries. Continues through May 11. Peninsula Glass Guild Spring Juried Exhibition. Portlock Galleries at SoNo, Chesapeake. Shows through June 1. Free. Tidewater Art Alliance Juried Art Alliance Juried Theme Show, Suffolk Cultural Arts Center, shows through May 16. Opening/ reception, April 19. 636-0509. 18th Annual MidAtlantic Exhibition Award Reception, 6-8 p.m., d’ART Center, Selden Arcade, Norfolk, Exhibit shows through June 8. Park Place Child Life Center Spring Arts Festival. 1 p.m., James Monroe Elementary School and Park Place Baptist Church, 430 W. 31st St., Norfolk. Free performances and hands-on visual arts opportunities for the entire community.
local artists in weekly interactive arts demonstrations and workshops. 1-3 p.m., 208 E. Main St., Norfolk. Governor’s School for the Arts Juried Visual Arts Student Exhibition, ODU’s Baron & Ellin Gordon Art Galleries. Continues through June 22.
JUNE Saturdays d’ART Demos. d’ART Center presents local
Chesapeake Arts Festival at Lakeside Park in Sono. Sponsored by Hope House, Chesapeake Parks and Recreation and Portlock Galleries at Sono.
artists in weekly interactive arts demonstrations and workshops. 1-3 p.m., 208 E. Main St., Norfolk. Corporate Dolls Art Opening Reception, 6-8 p.m., d’ART Center, Selden Arcade, Norfolk. Free. 625-4211. Shows through July 6. Agustin Rojas: With Their Own Hands. Portlock Galleries at SoNo, Chesapeake. Shows through July 20. Free. Abstraction Today. Exhibits through Aug. 31. Abstractions of a variety of paintings and works on paper and prints that analyze various approaches to abstraction. Peninsula Fine Arts Center.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
visual arts theatre music
B Y R O O PA S WA M I N AT H A N
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM of VIRGINIA makes
The Children’s Museum offers a fun way for families to spend the day together.
Al Schweizer, the director of the Children’s Museum of Virginia at Portsmouth, says that when some of the first-time visitors ask how to “see” the museum, the staff tells them, “Follow your children; they know how to see this museum!” And, in fact, the children do, and they have a great time exploring the place.
A group of women in the Service League of Portsmouth came up with the idea for the museum in 1980. They set up a one-room “museum” in the basement of the Portsmouth Library that they painted, filled with collected toys and volunteered to operate during normal library hours. It then moved to the first floor of the Courthouse, and by 1994, the city of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Museum Foundation entered into an agreement to move the museum down the block to the then-vacant Leggett’s Department Store at 221 High Street, where it remains today. “We are an educational experience first of all, but we do that in a very subtle way,” Schweizer said of the museum’s role in the community. “We pride ourselves in making learning fun for all ages, and we consider everyone a child at heart. Being the only children’s museum in the area has its responsibilities, as well, and we take them seriously.” The museum also works closely with Hampton Roads schools to make its displays as relevant and useful to kids as possible. The museum is a popular destination for school trips. It specializes in three Standards of Learning strands — force, motion and energy. Each school year, the museum hosts classes from kindergarten to sixth grade from all Hampton Roads school divisions. It also offers the same programs to families that homeschool, allowing them to augment their teaching plans. The educational programs and floor exhibits are coordinated, so a class can go to the museum for a program that supports classroom learning. Teachers receive pre- and
The bubble room is one of the favorite places at the Children’s Museum for kids. They can make giant bubbles and learn about science at the same time.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
post-visit packages to reinforce what they are going to do and see at the museum. The museum will close for a year starting next Labor Day weekend for renovations. “We want to expand our programming space so we can offer the children a much more robust learning environment,” Schweizer says. “Our extremely popular art classes are always filled up, and the new facility will allow us to serve more students.” The process should take just over a year to complete. During that time, the museum will maintain a small presence on High Street, where it will have a “drop-in” location for moms and their children, but the majority of activities will be via outreach to the schools. What about the future? “We would like to have the ability to expand and adapt our educational offerings for teachers so that they look to us as helpers in their role of instruction,” Schweizer says. Roopa Swaminathan is in her third year of Old Dominion University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She’s a freelance writer, filmmaker and wannabe Oscar winner.
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MUSEUMS, LECTURES, OTHER ARTS & EVENTS
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From Africa to Virginia, Jamestown Settlement. Guided tours highlight the culture of the first known Africans in Virginia, from the kingdom of Ndongo in Angola, and the experience of Africans in 17th-century Virginia. Through Feb. 29. Black History Month Celebration, 1 p.m., River Crest Community Center, Chesapeake. Free. Fourth Annual Bacchus Wine and Food Festival. 6:30-9 p.m., Virginia Living Museum, Newport News. Fundraiser. Tickets TBA. Follow the Drinking Gourd Planetarium Show. Also shows 23-24. 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., Virginia Living Museum. Celebrate Black History Month with this show about the Underground Railroad and how the stars of the northern sky led slaves to freedom. $3. Curator Gallery Tours, Jamestown Settlement. Special tours offer an indepth exploration of permanent galleries. Tours also held March 15 and Aug. 2. Reptile Weekend. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Monday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Virginia Living Museum, Newport News.
Virginia Stage Company “The Poetry of Pizza” pre-show discussion. 7:15 p.m. Wells Theatre. 30-minute discussion of the play. vastage.com. Military Through the Ages, Jamestown Settlement. Re-enactment groups depicting soldiers and military encounters throughout history join forces with modern-day veterans and active units to demonstrate camp life, tactics and weaponry. Curator Gallery Tours, Jamestown Settlement. Special tours offer an in-depth exploration of Jamestown Settlement’s permanent galleries. Tours also held Aug. 2. Easter Egg Hunt, 1-4 p.m., children 12 and under. Prizes. Free. Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown. ONFilm Festival. Continues through April 5. ODU University Theatre, The Attucks Theatre, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Granby Theatre. Check Web sites.
Spring Native Wildflower Sale. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Virginia Living Museum, Newport News. Norfolk Arts. Showcasing Norfolk Arts Commission grantees, Arts Within Reach continues its series of performances in Berkley by Norfolk arts presenters. 11:30 a.m., Mount Zion Baptist Church, 900 E. Middlesex St., Norfolk. norfolkarts.net. Fourth Annual Chesapeake Art Show at SoNo. Lakeside Park, Chesapeake. Features live music and more than 50 artists. Proceeds benefit Hope House Foundation. hope-house.org. Park Place Child Life Center Spring Arts Festival. Fun for the family with art show and creative opportunities. 1 p.m., James Monroe Elementary School and the Park Place Baptist Church, 430 31st St., Norfolk.
M AY 10
Jamestown Landing Day, Jamestown Settlement. Maritime demonstrations, military drills, musical performances, children’s entertainment and programs on exploration and discovery mark the 1607 founding of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English colony. Special programs also held at Historic Jamestowne. 17 7th Annual Virginia Beer Festival. 2-6 p.m., Town Point Park, Norfolk. Beer tasters (age 21+ $25) advance, $30 day of. Non-tasters (age 13+) $15. 20 Garrison Keillor. 7:30 p.m., Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach. $77-$100. 16 & 24 Movie Night on the Green. Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown. Familyfriendly outdoor movie. Free. 24 Dino-Mania! Through Sept. 1. Virginia Living Museum. Robotic dinosaurs look and behave like dinosaurs.
Seed to Stalk Theme Month, Jamestown Settlement. American agriculture of the 17th and 18th centuries examined through comparison of Powhatan Indian and European methods of planting and cultivating crops grown for sustenance and crops grown for profit. Through June 30. Shagging on the Riverwalk Beach Music Concert Series, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Fridays, Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown. Free. 12th Annual American Indian Festival. Chesapeake City Park. cityofchesapeake.net/parks. African American Heritage Day, Jamestown Settlement. African storytelling, music, dancing, genealogy workshops, children’s activities and historical museum exhibits explore origins of first documented Africans to arrive in Virginia in 1619 and role of Africans in development of Virginia. Family Day: Planting a Settlement, Jamestown Settlement. Guided gallery tours, make-and-take craft activity, examine the roles of family members in English, Powhatan and west central African agriculture, including the types of tools used and crops harvested. Yorktown Market Days at the River, located between Buckner and Ballard Streets. 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays. Features local produce, flowers, art, live music. Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown.
J U LY 4
Fourth of July Celebration at Lakeside Park. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Lakeside Park, Chesapeake. Parade, entertainment, food, games, paddleboat rides. Free. cityofchesapeake.net/parks or 382-6411. Liberty Celebration, Jamestown Settlement. Tactical drills, military exercises and role-playing demonstrations salute America during the Fourth of July holiday.
APRIL 3 12
Orchid Conservatory Opening and Natural History Lecture. odu.edu. Virginia Stage Company “Hank Williams Lost Highway” pre-show discussion. 3:15 p.m., Wells Theatre. 30-minute discussion of the play. vastage.com.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
They step, kick, hop and stomp. But these dancers aren’t just kicking up their heels.
Virginia Beach’s Irish dancers are our own
ince September, dancers from 6-yearold beginners to champion teens at the An Cor Rud School of Irish Dance in Virginia Beach have been busy learning new beginner steps or perfecting their advanced level dances. Most dancers will compete in upcoming local, regional and national competitions. Some of the biggest they attend annually are the Southern Regional Oireachtas, The North American Nationals and the World Irish Dance Championship. Belfast, Ireland will be the host city for the World Championships in March. With four sites in Virginia Beach and one in Williamsburg, the An Cor Rud School teaches the mastery and art of traditional Irish step dance. It’s strictly a lower-body performing art of intricate footwork and rhythmic toe tapping. Upper body posture and carriage must be perfectly rigid. An Cor Rud means “the reel thing” in the Irish language. A reel consists of dance music in 2/4 or 4/4 time, explained instructor Heather Mailey-Esposito. In a typical reel, dancers weave in and out among each other at the same time, similar to the “grand right and left” in square dance or “strip the willow” in the Virginia reel. One series of lively foot maneuvers is a number called “The Blackthorn Stick,” which is performed to heavy bagpipe, accordion and string music. It’s performed
BY JAMES THOMAS JR.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
E V E N T S
F E B R U A RY 1-2
in a category called treble-jig and requires dancers to wear hard shoes with fiberglass tips to create a three-part toe, heel and ball-of-feet rhythmic clatter. Other hard-shoe pieces include treble reel and hornpipe, while soft shoe dances include reel, light-jig and slip-jig. Each type of music has different timing and tempo. Dancers from the school that compete at the Southern Regional Oireachtas prepare additional dances for qualifying rounds. Placements from a final qualifying round then move to the World Championships. The school has had many students qualify and attend the “Worlds.” The dancers often travel to Feis (pronounced fesh), a Gaelic term for a festival held in many states, where dance competitions are part of the celebration of Irish culture. Typically, competitors are divided by age, experience and dance category. Scoring is based on the dancer’s timing, deportment, complexity of routine and presentation. Of great antiquity, Irish folk dance is closely related to English clog dances and conveys a tradition traced to the 15th century. Its cultural emphasis also includes language, singing, storytelling and essay writing. An Cor Rud dancers typically perform in parades and other special events, particularly on St. Patrick’s Day. Their colorful dresses, kick pants and embroidered patterns feature ancient and modern Celtic design, of which each school has its own. Popularized by stage productions such as “Riverdance” and its offshoot “Lord of the Dance,” traditional Irish Dance has attracted a worldwide contemporary audience, explained Esposito. “They’re even doing it in Russia.” That Irish dance renaissance also seemed to have influenced modern-day Irish artists, notably U2, Sinead O’Connor, Waterboys, and the Hot House Flowers, who blend folk music into their rock and contemporary genres. Established since 1997 and certified with the Irish Dancing Commission of Dublin Ireland, the An Cor Rud school dancers have appeared in a live taping with the late Irish tenor Frank Patterson for public television. They have also participated in several showcase performances with the Chieftains at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, The Ferguson Center in Newport News and Richmond’s Landmark Theater. In 2003 the school appeared with the cast of The International Tattoo, produced by the Virginia Arts Festival, and also showcased with the Trinity Irish Dance Company, Dancing on Common Ground and with fiddler Eileen Ivers. They are also local favorites for the annual St. Patrick’s Day morning show with WVEC reporter Joe Flanagan. Irish dance is traditionally as attractive to men as to women, but at first glance, the An Cor Rud School appears to be all girls. “Sometimes boys are hard to hold onto,” admits Esposito, “but there’s always that one or two that stick and make a big difference.”
“The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” original choreography by Virginia Ballet Theatre. Sandler Center, Virginia Beach. A World Premiere. Charming ballet based on Grimm Brothers fairy tale that brings to life the story of 12 daughters of a widowed king who wear out their slippers every night despite being locked in their room until morning. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2. $20-35. Aeros. 7:30 p.m., Sandler Center, Virginia Beach. A soaring evening of entertainment; truly unique and a first in its genre. $35-44. Complexions. 8 p.m., Sandler Center, Virginia Beach. Excellence in dance with inspiring, impassioned performances from the finest dancers in a full range of disciplines. $25-44. Per´u Negro. 8 p.m. Feb. 9, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 10, The American Theatre, Hampton. Singers, dancers and musicians. $15-35. Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14. The American Theatre, Hampton. Combines dynamic freedom of American modern dance with grace and splendor of Asian art. $15-35.
CREO Collaboration – The Synergy of Dance, Visual Arts and Music. 8 p.m., ODU University Center. $10 students; $15 general. Philadanco. 8 p.m. March 29; 2:30 p.m. March 30, The American Theatre, Hampton. Stunning repertory has made company one of most sought after modern dance companies in the United States. $15-35.
Aga Boom. 8 p.m. April 11; 2 and 7 p.m. April 12; 3 p.m. April 13, Sandler Center, Virginia Beach. Interactive mayhem that will carry you to the other side of the funhouse mirror with outrageous zaniness and unrestrained laughter. $14-27. Todd Rosenblieb Dancers, Arts Within Reach. 7 p.m., Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center, 7300 Newport Ave., Norfolk. Young dancers in training present original choreography. University Dance Theatre Spring Concert. 2 p.m., University Theatre. $10, students; $12, general. Black Grace. Virginia Arts Festival. 7:30 p.m., TCC Roper PAC, Norfolk. $30. All-male dance company from New Zealand.
M AY 2-4
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Virginia Arts Festival. Chrysler Hall. Times vary. Includes “Revelations,” a “spiritual journey carved in tenderness and passion.” $20-75. Noche Flamenca, Virginia Arts Festival. 8 p.m. May 17, Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News; 7 p.m. May 18, Renaissance Hotel, Portsmouth. $27-47. Martha Graham Dance Company with Virginia Symphony, Virginia Arts Festival. 8 p.m., Phi Beta Kappa Hall, Williamsburg. $35-50.
James Thomas, a freelance writer from Smithfield, migrated to New York directly after college at Hampton University and took the long way back to Smithfield. Currently, he’s putting the finishing touches on his first novel.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
B A C K S TA G E
It’s About Art You Eat
When you create, you use all your senses, and when you dine at Create, you experience food through all your senses – delectable on the palate, and sensuous to the eyes, ears and to the touch, says Chef Chad A. Martin, owner of Create Bistro. “And, finally, you will enjoy the wafting aroma of outstanding cuisine, fine wines and innovative elixirs.”
C The name CrEATe says it all.
Create Bistro is the epitome of “simple chic” with modern design elements. The interior complements the cuisine, creating a celebration of the virtues of great taste in a warm atmosphere – the perfect blend of style, service, elegance and comfort. The walls are painted a surprising combination of ruby red, eggplant and soothing gold, jazzing the white tablecloths and balancing the serious food. Designed by Chad and his wife, Karen, the intimate restaurant includes a main dining room that seats 32, a bar area with room for eight, an open kitchen, outside communal table and wine cellar. Create promotes a sophisticated, comfortable and inviting atmosphere. The bistro opened in October 2006. Chad calls the menu creative American with global influences. Examples from the menu include marinated flank steak on cashew scallion risotto with baby bok choy and oyster mushroom syrup or poached tiger prawns with chorizo brie cheese grits and smoked broth. Cocktails come with names such as kiwi caipirinha. “The food is pretentious,” says Chad. “But we’re not.” A California native, Chad has called Hampton Roads home for 15 years. After spending five years in the Navy as an operations specialist, Chad earned his chops in the restaurant business as a self-taught chef, beginning as a waiter/cook in 1996 at Fire & Ice in Hampton and then stints at Aria 51 Café and 99 Main in Newport News. He went to The Blue Hippo in Norfolk as executive chef in 2001 and bought the restaurant two years later, receiving numerous rave reviews. In the short time he has been at Create, he has already accumulated accolades, including 4-1/2 stars from The Daily Press across the board for food, service and atmosphere; the Wine Enthusiasts’ Award of Distinction, 2006 & 2007; Hampton Roads Monthly Magazine’s Stellar Cellar Awards Gold Winner; March of Dimes Peoples’ Choice Award 2007; March of Dimes Dessert of Hampton Roads 2007; and the First Annual Miller Mart Convenience Store Cook-Off Most Creative Award. Located at 10417 Warwick Blvd., in the Hilton Village area of Newport News, Create Bistro is open for dinner 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar is open one hour after the dining room closes (“or until we ask you to leave”). Create is closed on Sundays, and is available Mondays for special events, private parties or cooking classes. For reservations and information call (757) 240-2776, or visit their web site at www.createbistro.com.
Your table is waiting…
B Y PAT R I C I A R U B L E I N
For more than 25 years, the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads has worked to maintain a healthy and dynamic arts and culture industry – an effort taking many paths. Leadership on behalf of the arts comes from individuals and organizations that speak out and advocate for long-term health and growth for the industry. The Cultural Alliance organizes leadership by providing a unified network for communication among its members and sponsoring dialogs to assure funding. It also offers technical assistance programs that enable successful management. Long before “regionalism” became the buzz of the nineties, the founders of the Cultural Alliance recognized the need for a healthy arts industry and the need to speak out for the arts as a whole. Industry trends have shifted in the past quartercentury – arts and cultural programs reach audiences in new and creative ways. But the need for advocacy is unchanged. The Cultural Alliance creates coalitions around issues that affect long-term health and growth for the arts. It seeks opportunities to put arts on the tables of government, in corporate boardrooms and to gain representation on planning and development task forces. It has successfully made the point that the arts feed the broad economy. Communities use the arts to revive their downtowns and galvanize business around them. However, the challenge remains to increase the health of the arts industry. Although performance venues offer value-added benefits like shopping, dining and recreational activity, the purveyors of art and culture continue to struggle with low revenues. The Cultural Alliance, through unified effort and active engagement, works to ensure a long and prosperous sustainability for the arts across Hampton Roads. Support for the arts achieves several goals – from quality of life to value-driven economies. Working together across the region, the Alliance helps to develop ways to reach those goals.
Along with many other technical assistance projects, some examples of those efforts include: • A partnership with Optima Health that enables all Cultural Alliance members to have health coverage at reasonable cost; • Collaborations with Old Dominion University to regularly update the Economic Impact Index of the Arts for Hampton Roads, and a new initiative to create an inventory of Arts Education Programs in the region’s schools; • A one-day forum, “Arts and the Law” conducted in partnership with WHRO Public Broadcasting and the College of William and Mary, open to all interested persons in February; • An interactive website (www.culturalli.org) that strives to be THE most interactive site for information on the arts throughout Hampton Roads; • Work with Darden Publishing to make Hampton Roads Bravo! a reality. Membership in the Cultural Alliance is open to all interested in a healthy arts and cultural industry in our communities – individuals, artists, art students and any arts and cultural organization. For information contact the Cultural Alliance at: 5200 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk VA 23508, Phone: (757) 889-9479, Fax: (757) 489-0007 e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.culturalli.org
Patricia Rublein is executive director of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads.
SINCE 1983 THE CULTURAL ALLIANCE HAS BEEN THE REGIONAL ADVOCATE ON BEHALF OF ARTS AND CULTURE.
Hampton Roads BRAVO!
Enjoy concerts, live theater, ﬁlm and dance. Discover visual, literary and performing arts classes, kids arts camp and the school museum. Visit Jester’s Gift Shop or dine at Mosaic Cafè. Celebrate in our beautiful ballroom or galleries. Other spaces are available for special events with delicious onsite catering.
For performance schedule, class registration or more information visit