By Lianne Minnis
Beverley Street Studio School is excited to host the second annual Queen City Plein Air Festival from April 17 through April 22, 2018. The festival, which has grown in participation and length, helps to fulfill the BSSS mission to expose our community to the world of visual arts and enhances the rich artistic and cultural fabric of Staunton. To successfully establish a signature community focused art event requires the involvement of area businesses, non-profits, and an army of individual supporters. The importance of such collaboration is vital in small towns where pooled resources together have the strength to attract high caliber professional artists and buyers of their work. “Partnership” is our mantra, and we are fortunate enough to have more than ten partners for this event so far.
We spoke to three of the event’s partner locations and asked them: Why do you support the festival’s continuation and growth in Staunton?
Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm
“Polyface Farm in Swoope promotes local food systems as part of the local economy. A component of that is the Queen City Plein Air Festival, which brings the community together around our shared beauty and interests. That the Staunton/Augusta region has such a vibrant arts scene through Beverley Street Studio School is truly a blessing and tribute to the creativity we all enjoy here. Polyface considers it a privilege and honor to partner with BSSS and these wonderful artists to express not only the distinctive aesthetics of our rural agrarian landscapes, but also the overall artistic energy in our region. How delightful that these talented artists choose to invest their time and creativity in our community.”
Victoria Godfrey, Private Farm Owner
“Community is the collective conscience of the individuals that make it up. Staunton is a warm community that seeks to draw the world in, and I think that is especially represented in the arts.
When I moved to Swoope in June 1999, the spacious two-car garage at my new home, Wheatlands, was full of easels cradling partially finished oils that had been created during a recent painting event on the premises. It, of course, smelled of paint and turpentine, like the lingering perfume of the artists who had been there. It was a sort of affirmation to wander through those paintings and see so many perspectives on this world I had just stumbled into about ten days earlier. I literally walked through a kaleidoscope of the land surrounding my new home, bought somewhat impetuously but never with regret. The beauty wasn’t a mirage.
Eventually I moved from that big brick Federal to the 1931 Funkalow with the therapeutic porch (world summits should be held there) and my view of Swoope has chang
ed. It’s just as beautiful, I simply stepped into a different painting. My husband, Tim Smith, and I delight in welcoming artists to our place. Staunton is the crown jewel in the magnificent setting of Augusta County. It would be selfish not to swing the doors wide open.
The festival helps us keep our view fresh. To see our town and county through the eyes of others who are especially sensitive to the quirks of light, color, angle, and proportion keeps the romance fresh.”
Eric Bryan, Frontier Culture Museum
“The Frontier Culture Museum supports and sponsors the Queen City Plein Air Festival’s continuation and growth in Staunton because it’s an opportunity to welcome people from far and wide to the area and expose them to the many cultural and educational experiences on offer here. A rising tide raises all boats, and we look forward to helping the festival raise the tide for a few days every other spring for years to come.”
For more information about the Queen City Plein Art Festival, including artists, exhibits, and more, please visit the event’s webpage. We hope to see you there!