Arts Ball online auction underway – Mount Airy News

Proceeds generated will benefit school arts programs
Submitted photo
Submitted photo
Submitted photo
It’s beginning to sound like a broken record (for those who remember records) — another event cancelled because of COVID-19.
That is the case with the annual Arts Ball gathering, which would have been held Friday night under normal circumstances. The Arts Ball, sponsored by the Surry Arts Council, is the annual soiree held at Cross Creek Country Club. While the gathering generally has a different theme each year, it includes food, music, and a popular auction of various goods and services — with the proceeds going to support numerous in-school arts programs held throughout Surry County.
While the soiree part may no happen, the arts council’s auction is going on now, featuring more than 300 items that range from gift cards to hand-crafted furniture items to home baked goodies for the purchaser prepared at a mutually agreeable time. There’s even a few overnight stays at some area resorts.
All to support various art projects benefitting area school children.
Melissa Sumner, Surry Arts Council events and school programs coordinator, said she is overwhelmed by the response from schools and the community, and that the community and schools “were more generous than ever with donations that everyone will want.”
Some of the specific items up for grabs in the auction include overnights at a Kibbler Valley home with a trout stream, two nights at the River House Inn and Restaurant with breakfast and dinner for one, overnight stays at a private home in Pinehurst, handcrafted Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, massage gift cards, a family pass to the zoo, passes to the Greensboro Science Center, an electric tooth brush in a gift basket, jewelry, a private wine class, socks, a custom made trestle table by Joey Martin, and many more great options.
The auction went live Friday, Feb. 19, at 9 a.m. the day the Arts Ball was planned, and the auction will run through March 1.
All of the funds raised will be used to support 2021-2022 arts programming in the Surry County Schools, Millennium Charter Academy, and the Mount Airy City Schools.
The Surry Arts Council and area schools are grateful to Rogers Realty and Auction for hosting the online auction. Everyone is invited to participate by going online www.rogersauctiongroup.com and registering. The minimum bid for each item is $5. Gift cards will be mailed to the successful bidders. Other items can be picked up at the Surry Arts Council offices following the auction closure. Sumner will work with those purchasing larger items on mutually agreeable pick-up times during the week following the close of the auction on March 1.
“Dozens of volunteers and school personnel worked hard on the silent auction,” the arts council said in announcing the auction. “Melissa Sumner thanked the volunteer committee for their hard work during this logistically challenging time. The committee met via Zoom and early in the process made the decision that an in-person gathering would not be safe.”
That left the group working with schools to coordinate the online event. All 25 schools participated with both donations and support. Surry Arts Council board members, school personnel, and dozens of volunteers worked to ensure “that the arts remain a part of our area school programming,” the council said.
Committee members included Surry County Schools staff Tracey Lewis, Gaye Cooke, Lisa Parrish, Hollie Lyons, Antonia Cawley and Jessica McLeod. Millennium Charter Academy efforts were led by T.J. Lievsay, and Mount Airy City School coordination was overseen by Carrie Venable. Surry Arts Council Board Members and spouses assisting including Brooke Lowry, Meredith Simmons, Ashley Mills, Jennifer Nester, Ginny and Cooper Adams, and Nicole Harrison. Jenny Lowry was added support to the effort along with many others downtown and in local and regional businesses.
In addition to directly paying for arts programs, the Arts Ball proceeds leverage grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and South Arts. The TAPS grant provides support for several hundred students to have a hands-on experience with traditional stringed instruments. Jim Vipperman spends a week in each of three schools introducing students to fiddles, guitars, and Surry County’s traditional music heritage. Students are then able to attend the weekly free year-round lessons at the Historic Earle Theatre every Thursday afternoon if they wish to continue free lessons.
There have been limits during the current school year but the arts council has collaborated with Mount Airy City Schools and the Reeves Community Center Foundation on the ELISS grant to provide in-person arts programming while following CDC guidelines. The Arts Council staff took dozens of craft kits, gingercookie kits, and other materials to special education classes in the schools.
The Surry Arts Council has a grant from South Arts to provide programming with Sons of Mystro concerts in the school and in the community as soon as guidelines permit. In addition, Mike Wiley is scheduled for multiple Black History programs in the schools as soon as in-person engagements are safe.
The arts council is working with school officials and will host the second Surry High School Film Festival. The winning entries from each high school will be shown at the Historic Earle Theatre on Tuesday evening, April 7, for contestants, friends, and family. The Surry Arts Council has worked with the schools and continued to host interns during the current school year.
Arts programs funded by the Arts Ball facilitate more than 15,000 student contacts annually. It is the Surry Arts Council’s goal to send at least one program to each school in the Surry County School system, the Mount Airy City School system, and Millennium Charter Academy, the organization said. Most schools receive two or three programs. Students in these 25 schools are also invited to one or more programs at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Historic Earle Theatre, and/or the Blackmon Amphitheatre. Students visit and have guided tours at the Andy Griffith Museum, the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, and the Siamese Twins Exhibit at no cost. School concerts and drama presentations are hosted by the Surry Arts Council throughout the year at no cost to the schools.
The arts council works with schools to host interns and to provide art instruction in both in-school and after school programs along with many other partnerships throughout the year. In addition, scholarships from the Jimmy Lowry Endowment, the Betty Lynn Endowment, the Mildred Robertson Endowment, and the Sandy Beam Endowment provide scholarships to Surry County students who wish to further their education in the arts.
All of these programs are supported by the annual Charity Ball auction.
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September 14, 2021
There are two concerts scheduled this week in Mount Airy, one part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series and the other part of the art council’s Blue Ridge and Beyond concert series.
The first concert, on Friday, features the Catalinas on stage at the Blackmon Amphitheatre for a performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the show. Dairy Center, Thirsty Souls Community Brewing, and Whit’s Frozen Custard will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending the Catalinas concert are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
Then Saturday, Collin Raye will be in concert at the Historic Earle Theatre as part of the Blue Ridge and Beyond series, his show starting at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for this show are $58 for preferred seats and $50 for balcony seats. To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit https://www.surryarts.org/shows/blueridgebeyond.html
September 07, 2021
Two performances are set for this week in Mount Airy as part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series.
The Magnificents are scheduled to take the stage at the Blackmon Amphitheatre Friday for a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The next night, Saturday, Phatt City will be in concert at the Blackmon Amphitheatre in a show beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center, Thirsty Souls Community Brewing, and Whit’s Frozen Custard will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
August 31, 2021
Two bands will be making the trek to Mount Airy this week as part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series.
Jim Quick and Coastline is scheduled for a Thursday concert at the Blackmon Amphitheatre beginning at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday The Elkin Big Band will be bringing its unique sound to Mount Airy with a show at the Blackmon Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center, Thirsty Souls Community Brewing, and Whit’s Frozen Custard will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
August 23, 2021
Two bands familiar to area music fans will be performing in Mount Airy this week as part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series.
Too Much Sylvia is set for a concert Friday at the Blackmon Amphitheatre beginning at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday Cassette Rewind will be bringing its popular 80s music to Mount Airy with a show at the Blackmon Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center, Thirsty Souls Community Brewing, and Whit’s Frozen Custard will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
August 18, 2021
Three familiar bands will be traveling to Mount Airy this week as part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series for evening concerts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Embers featuring Craig Woolard are scheduled to perform Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheatre in a 7:30 p.m. show.
On Friday, North Tower is slated to take the stage at the Blackmon Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m.
Then on Saturday, the Envision Band will be taking the Blackmon Amphitheatre stage at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
August 12, 2021
The Carolina Coast Band will be returning to Mount Airy on Friday, taking the stage at the Blackmon Amphitheatre as part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series.
The series continues on Saturday when the Hip Pocket Band performs at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
The Carolina Coast Band will be in concert on Friday beginning at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Hip Pocket Band will take the stage at the same time.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center, Thirsty Souls Community Brewing, and Whit’s Frozen Custard will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
August 04, 2021
The Reynolds Homestead is accepting entries from local artists for its annual Rock Spring Art Show.
The show is open to artists 18 years or older who reside in Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Floyd or Carroll counties in Virginia, or Surry or Stokes counties in North Carolina. Any Patrick County native, or member of Bull Mountain Arts, regardless of residence, may also enter.
Entries must be the artist’s original work and have been completed in the past three years. The entry fee is $25 per artist; members of Bull Mountain Arts may enter for $20. Each artist is eligible to enter two works of art.
Art may be submitted in the following categories: oil painting, acrylic painting, watercolor painting, drawing, and 2D mixed and 3D media. There is no restriction on size; however, 2D art must be framed and wired for hanging. All 3D artwork must be freestanding or include its own display apparatus. Quilts should have a sleeve on the back for a hanging dowel to be inserted.
Submissions of artwork will be accepted at the Reynolds Homestead on the following dates: Aug. 21 from 1-4 p.m.; Aug. 22 from 1-4 p.m.; Aug. 23 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Aug. 24 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The name of the show, formerly known as the J.E.B. Stuart Art Show, was updated this year to reflect a deeper connection to the Reynolds Homestead and all who resided on the property, where the art show has been held since 2009 in partnership with Bull Mountain Artists.
The Reynolds Homestead, once known as Rock Spring Plantation, was the home of the Hardin Reynolds family and numerous enslaved men, women and children. The property’s rock spring once provided the water essential to everyone who lived on or visited the property.
The show’s opening reception and awards ceremony will be held Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Reynolds Homestead. Art will be exhibited through Oct. 29.
For more information about the Rock Spring Art Show and to register artwork for submission, please visit reynoldshomestead.vt.edu.
Individuals with a disability who desire an accommodation should contact Lisa Martin at [email protected] during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.
August 03, 2021
A band new to the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series will be making its Blackmon Amphitheatre debut this weekend.
Myrtle Beach-based Chocolate Chip & Company Band will be in concert on Saturday at the Blackmon for a 7:30 p.m. show. The band is known for its high-energy funk performances, playing rock, rhythm and blues, beach, soul, Motown, even hip hop and reggae.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center, Thirsty Souls Community Brewing, and Whit’s Frozen Custard will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
August 01, 2021
It has been a long intermission, but the NoneSuch Playmakers are back.
After a 16-month pandemic hiatus, the Surry County-based theater group returns to the stage of the L.H. Jones Auditorium August 6, 7 and 8 with the “Classic Country Carousel,” an evening of country music tunes from the 1960s through the 1980s. It is the first of three productions the Playmakers are planning through the end of the year.
“We’re picking up where we left off,” said NoneSuch co-founder Brack Llewellyn. “In March of 2020 we were literally a week away from opening this show when the lockdown came. At the time we thought we might be delayed a few weeks at most. Little did we know.”
Getting the cast back together for in-person rehearsals after 15 months was a joyous occasion.
“We spent the first half-hour just catching up,” said Llewellyn. “We’d all communicated online during quarantine, but it felt great just to see everyone and talk—even if we were masked and six feet apart.”
The “Classic Country Carousel” is a revue of vintage country hits made famous by the likes of Hank Williams, Charley Pride, Reba McIntyre, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. The audience can take a stroll down memory lane with favorites like “Silver Thread and Golden Needles,” “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,” “Jolene,” “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Jackson.” The group will sing to fully-orchestrated music tracks.
Cast members for the “Classic Country Carousel” are Dani Davis, Shanna Jones, Angela Llewellyn, Cindy Southern Marion and Chris Powell. Brian Greene will provide sound. Jessica Llewellyn is the stage manager and follow spot operator. Brack Llewellyn will serve as the master of ceremonies.
Those attending the “Classic Country Carousel” will notice one difference at the door—instead of a set ticket price, the show will be a pay-what-you can event.
“We know that the pandemic has hit many people hard financially,” Llewellyn explained. “We’re asking our audience to pay what they can comfortably afford. We want as many people as possible to come out and enjoy the show without it being cost-prohibitive.”
A Pay-What-You-Can can (an actual metal can) will be placed on a table at the exit for audience members to use as they see fit. The Playmakers will take the same approach for the rest of their re-scheduled season as well, which includes a full-length comedy in September and a Christmas show in December.
A portion of the proceeds for the “Classic Country Carousel” will go to support the work of the YVEDDI Jones Family Resource Center.
Performances are Friday August 6 and Saturday August 7 at 7 p.m., and Sunday August 8 at 2 p.m. All performances will be held at the L.H. Jones Auditorium, 215 Jones School Road, Mount Airy. The show is family-friendly.
July 27, 2021
Two familiar bands will be traveling to Mount Airy this week as part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series.
Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot will be taking the stage Friday at the Blackmon Amphitheatre for a 7:30 p.m. show
That concert will be followed on Saturday by The Holiday Band, taking the Blackmon Amphitheatre stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
July 21, 2021
Local artists and a steady stream of those who appreciate their work were on hand throughout the day on Saturday as West End Arts hosted a celebration of its first anniversary.
A large array of items in a variety of forms was on display outside the facility, located at 701 West Main Street in Pilot Mountain. Other pieces filled the inside shelves and tables.
Longtime local potter and pottery teacher Sylvia Lawson was set up in front of the building and, with the help of students, offered a pottery demonstration throughout the day.
The facility is owned by Kathy George, a Pilot Mountain potter who had trained under Lawson. The pair was initially joined in the venture by a third local potter, Joel Jessup.
“The three of us started this, and we had eight artists taking part at the beginning.” recalled George. “Now that number has grown to 34 artists.”
While the initial focus was on displaying and selling pottery, along with training and sharing interest and information with other potters, the types of artwork have continued to expand throughout the year. Now, all kinds of creations can be found filling the shelves of the arts studio, limited only by artistic imagination.
As the venture has grown, George has expanded into a portion of her adjacent hair salon, The Head Shoppe Plus.
“This area had always been a place for community to socialize. This transition happened because of COVID. This is something good that came out of it,” she said.
George paid particular homage to Lawson, who George noted, “has taught so many local potters over the years.” Since 2011 Lawson has operated Waterfall Studio in Pilot Mountain, creating her own pieces while also training others. She began a new pottery class last week.
“We’re out here today to share what we do and entertain our community.” Lawson said Saturday as she began to shape a new piece.
King photographer Amanda Marshall has been displaying her work at the studio for about two months. Specializing in landscape and lifestyle photography, she now has multiple framed pieces on display.
“This is a great opportunity for an artist to get their work out in a small town,” she said. “It helps to get your name out there.”
“This brings in a variety of creativity. All types of different things. There’s such a mixture here and that’s pretty cool,” Marshall said.
“We have a lot of people stop by, and I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people. This is a place for people to come in and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s been a breath of fresh air, so much fun,” George said. “I’ve been surprised and amazed by the support we’ve gotten throughout, and I’ve been able to get to know so many interesting people. That’s been a good thing.”
July 20, 2021
The Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series will bring two musical acts to Mount Airy this weekend, with Friday and Saturday night shows set at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
On Friday, the Blackwater Rhythm and Blues Band will be taking the stage for a 7:30 p.m. show.
On Saturday evening The Catalinas will be in concert at the amphitheatre beginning at 7:30.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
July 15, 2021
For 21 consecutive years, bluegrass music fans from throughout the region and beyond would gather on the last full weekend in July in a large grass-covered field in the tiny Woodville community to enjoy the sounds that are so ingrained in the history and heritage of thearea.
This July, for the second consecutive year, that event has been canceled.
Twin brothers Alden and Arnold Nunn originated and have served as hosts of the annual Nunn Brothers Bluegrass Festival since its inception. The Nunn Brothers Music Park, located just east of Mount Airy on Woodville Road, serves as home to the event.
The brothers annually host well-known bluegrass groups and performers on the stage as a tribute to the music’s rich tradition and its role in the Nunn family history. The festival is dedicated to the brothers’ late parents, Clarence Olin Nunn and Alzry Nunn.
As with so many events, last year’s festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Alden and Arnold Nunn, the uncertainties of the lingering pandemic prompted the decision to again cancel this year’s event.
“We didn’t know what to expect and what we’d be able to do,” Alden Nunn said. “We didn’t want to see people having to wear masks in 90-degree temperatures and we didn’t know how it would all affect our food situation.”
With planning usually beginning in January, the brothers felt a decision needed to be made early.
“There was a lot of planning and effort to be put in without knowing what was going to happen,” Alden Nunn noted. “We decided to cancel and try to do it again next year.”
“Our (excavating) business has really been busy this year,” Arnold Nunn added. “So it would have been hard to put all this together and then not be able to have it. We’re disappointed and we were disappointed to have canceled it last year. But we hope to get it going again next year.”
The year has been a particularly eventful one for Alden Nunn, who in the spring became engaged to Tammy Renee Hudson. The couple will be married this month.
“I’m disappointed we had to cancel the festival,” Nunn said. “And I’d like to see it come back next year in a big way. But we are going to have a July wedding and that will be a big moment in our lives.”
July 14, 2021
Live theater is back in Mount Airy as the Surry Arts Council puts on the first mainstage live theater performance in more than a year.
The Surry Arts Players have been working over the past few weeks putting together the hit musical “Back to the 80s.” The group was just two weeks away from the show’s opening in 2020 when the COVID-19 shutdowns were put in place, but the players are ready to take their work to the stage.
“Now the show will feature original and new cast members to give the community an even better experience,” the arts council said in announcing the show.
“This cast has worked harder than any cast I have seen.” said Director and Choreographer Shelby Coleman. “The passion for theater is evident with every participant. You can really tell how much they truly missed having this outlet.”
”Back to the 80s” features community members from age 7 to more than 50, all coming together to bring a musical experience to the town of Mount Airy.
“Back to the 80s performances” are Saturday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, July 18 at 3 p.m., and Monday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 preferred seating and $15 orchestra and can be purchased online at www.surryarts.org/livetheatre, by phone 336-786-7998, or in person at the Surry Arts Council offices located at 218 Rockford Street, open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Box Office at the Andy Griffith Playhouse will open one hour before each performance.
“Back to the 80s” tells the story of the senior class of William Ocean High School, as remembered through the eyes of now thirty-something Corey Palmer (Scott Kniskern). Seventeen-year-old Corey (Michael Senter) is madly in love with his next-door neighbor, Tiffany Houston (Lilly Ruth Beck), one of the coolest girls in the school, but she is too busy mooning over Michael Feldman (Erik Chelgren), the hottest guy around. Michael and his friends are athletic and good looking — the kind of guys that Corey and his two best friends dream of being. However, while they may not be the coolest guys in school, they are still one up on Feargal McFerrin III (Corey Barr), whose best friend is his computer and who believes the crazy notion that one day, CDs will replace cassette tapes.
The show features well-known 80s hits such as Loveshack, Kids in America, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Video Killed the Radio Star, Time of My Life, and others.
The cast includes Corey Palmer Jr. played by Michael Senter, Corey Palmer Sr. played by Scott Kniskern, Alf Bueller played by Walker York, Kirk Keaton played by Brooks Harold, Tiffany Houston played by Lilly Ruth Beck, Cyndi Gibson played by Peyton Alexandria, Mel Easton played by Aubrey Wilmoth, Kim Easton played by Gracie St. Angelo, Michael Feldman played by Erik Chelgren, and Billy Arnold played by Matthew Chelgren.
Other cast members include Huey Jackson played by Max Barnard, Lionel Astley played by Robert Parks, Feargal McFerrin played by Corey Barr, Eileen Reagan played by Cassidy Mills, Laura Wilde played by Raegan Amos, Debbie Fox played by Allie Pell, Miss Brannigan played by Natalie Owens, Mr. Cocker played by Scott Carpenter, Cheerleader played by Ashton Freeman, along with soloists Callie Edmonds, Michelle Utt, Nouria Edwards, and Throwback Singers Greg Matthews, Ashley Mills, Scott Freeman, Michelle Utt.
The ensemble includes Tanner Price, Kori Hawks, Ava Chrismon, Anne Campbell Pace, Ruby Hoerter, Elena McComb, Lydia Beck, Donnie Kipple, Will Banfield, Kinston Nichols, and Emma Chelgren, the Star Wars Ensemble includes Chase Kniskern, Ellie Kniskern, Morgan Cooke, Samantha Cooke, Mason St. Angelo, and Atticus Hawks.
Shelby Coleman is the director and choreographer; Darrell Beck is the music director, and the orchestra is made up of Robert Tickle, Sherri Collins, Wilson Smith, and Brady Reed. Members of the crew include Jordan Dover, Ella Pomeroy, Patrick McDaniel, Madison Gillespie, Carrigan Willard, and Drew Parker.
Shelby Coleman is serving as the lighting designer, costume designer, and set designer. Rebekah Taylor is the costume consultant, Ken White is handling set construction and is the sound engineer.
The Surry Arts Council said it wishes to offer special thanks to The York Family, Susan Michael, Dwayne Cooke, Scott Freeman, and Lori Beck.
July 13, 2021
The busy, music-filled Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series continues this week with three shows at the Blackmon Amphitheatre — on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
On Thursday Jim Quick and Coastline will be taking the stage in a concert which begins at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, the Cat5 Band kicks off their show at 7:30 p.m.
And on Saturday evening The Entertainers will be in concert at 7:30.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
July 10, 2021
Two new pieces of art installed at the historic Reynolds Homestead in Critz, Virginia, aims to inspire discussion and reflection about the lives of the men, women, and children who were enslaved at Rock Spring Plantation.
In the historic 1843 home, five clay hands reach up from a tobacco-basket cage, surrounded by more than 40 names of some of the men and women who were enslaved at the former plantation. Nearby, in the kitchen house, rows of simple clay mugs call attention to the many family relationships that made up that enslaved community.
“These humble pieces of art evoke the enslaved individuals who once lived and worked at the plantation in Patrick County, about 65 miles southeast of Blacksburg,” the agency said in announcing the art displays. Titled “Reaching for Freedom” and “Family,” the pieces aim to inspire discussions and reflection about their lives.
Hardin Reynolds, a successful farmer and tobacco manufacturer who built Rock Spring, used enslaved labor on his plantation until 1865, building a foundation of great wealth for his family. His son R.J. Reynolds would go on to build his own tobacco empire. Grandson Richard S. Reynolds would transform the metals industry by founding Reynolds Metals.
In 1970, Nancy Susan Reynolds, daughter of R.J., deeded the home and 717 surrounding acres to Virginia Tech. Today, the homestead, part of Outreach and International Affairs, serves as a community outreach and forestry research center. The historic Reynolds home is open for tours on weekends May through October.
“We know a lot about these members of the Reynolds family, but until recently we didn’t know very much about all of the men, women, and children who were enslaved on the plantation,” Director Julie Walters Steele said. “This art is going to be a great tool for our docents to open dialogue and conversation about the enslaved community on the property.”
Billy Ray Sims, a basket weaver, and Ann McClellan, a potter, created the pieces specifically for the homestead after they were invited to spend a week teaching community art classes there.
“We were asked to come and teach traditional Appalachian crafts, but we saw an opportunity to make a statement. And I feel we all have an obligation when we have that opportunity to stimulate discussion, to take advantage of it,” Sims said.
Sims and McClellan, who live in Maine, collaborated to build “Reaching for Freedom,” combining sculptured clay hands with an antique tobacco basket similar to those R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company used to hold tobacco in the auction houses.
McClellan also molded clay cups that are displayed in an antique pie cabinet to fashion a piece titled “Family.” She said the idea of basic familial roles as humans and the injustice of even those basic roles being taken away through separation spoke to her and led her to create the artwork.
“Generating art provides an opportunity to consider a subject matter and interpret it in a unique way. This piece represents a topic that maybe people haven’t thought about, and the idea is to bring that subject to people and have them consider it,” she said.
Kevin Reynolds was among the descendants of the enslaved community who came to view the pieces at a recent unveiling. He said he was grateful to have the homestead as a place to reflect on his family’s history and was deeply moved to see names of the enslaved displayed inside the Reynolds home. Ancestors from both sides of his family are buried in the Penn-Reynolds slave cemetery on the property.
Vonita Brim also attended the unveiling. She is a member of the Reynolds Homestead’s African American Programming Committee, which includes members from the local community and helps guide and support the homestead’s educational offerings, including lectures, performances, and workshops.
Brim’s ancestors were enslaved on another plantation, but she said seeing the names of those at Rock Spring stirred emotion. “I’ve been to several slave cemeteries, and it just hurts to see the graves without names. You wonder who those people were. They seem forgotten,” she said. “To see their names here was a powerful thing. It brought them to life and showed that they were here and they mattered.”
July 06, 2021
Three favorites among local music fans will visit the Blackmon Amphitheatre this week as part of the The Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series.
On Thursday The Embers featuring Craig Woolard will be in concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, the high-energy Legacy Motown Revue will no doubt have dancers filling the floor when it kicks off a 7:30 p.m. show.
And on Saturday The Main Event Band will bring its act to Mount Airy for a 7:30 evening concert.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
June 29, 2021
The Surry Arts Council usher in the holiday weekend with three concerts as part of the Summer Concert Series at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
On Thursday evening, The Fantasy Band will be on stage beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Phatt City will return to Mount Airy for a 7:30 p.m. show.
The next night, on Saturday, Cassette Rewind will bring its 80s sound to the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
June 28, 2021
The Surry Arts Council recently awarded more than $2,700 in scholarships to Surry County students planning to further their education in the arts.
The scholarship committee consisted of Henry Rowe, Kathy Pruett, Kelly Merritt, Matt Linville, Emily Loftis, Jennie Lowry, and Sylvia Lowry. Shelby Coleman, Surry Arts Council director of dance, artistic and educational programs, coordinated the process that was held with online audition submissions versus in-person auditions. Applications were received in drama, music, and visual and fine arts.
Robert Parks, drama, is the Betty Lynn Scholarship recipient. Parks is attending Catawba College and is pursuing a degree in musical theater. Will Nichols, instrumental music, is the Jimmy Lowry Scholarship recipient. Nichols is attending University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is pursuing a degree in music education. Callie Edmonds, voice, is the Mildred Wolfe Robertson Scholarship recipient. Edmonds is attending University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is pursuing a degree in music with vocal concentration. Abby Brady, drama, is the Sandy Beam Scholarship recipient. Brady is attending Appalachian State University and is pursuing a degree in theater education. Mallory Spagnoletti, visual/fine arts, is the Surry Arts Council Visual Arts Scholarship recipient. Spagnoletti is attending Appalachian State University and is pursuing a degree in fine arts.
All these students have connections with the Surry Arts Council as volunteers in summer programs, high school interns, participants in community theatre and other programs and classes.
These endowments are set up and managed by the North Carolina Community Foundation and the Winston-Salem Foundation. For information regarding setting up an endowment or scholarship fund and/or making contributions to existing endowments and scholarship funds, contact Tanya Jones, [email protected] .
June 23, 2021
The Surry Arts Council Young Audience Series continues this week with “Princess Pigface” on Saturday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m. at the Blackmon Amphitheatre. The shows are free and are funded by a grant from the Mount Airy/Surry County Community Foundation.
The feature this Saturday is an interactive fairytale. Audience members large and small will be invited to participate in the show.
Actors Raegan Amos, Robert Parks, Allie Pell, Gracie St. Angelo, and Walker York bring this beloved fairytale to life. When a cruel and selfish king learns that his step-daughter’s beauty could be the end to his tyrannical reign, he places a spell on her—cursing her with the face of a pig. Now, Princess Pigface of Hillshire must cross many hills and swim many streams, seeking out acceptance and true love’s first kiss. Along the way, she meets a dashingly handsome woodsman who prefers picking flowers to hunting, and comes to learn that true beauty is found within.
Told with tongue firmly in cheek, this is a magical fairy tale that both kids and adults should enjoy.
Upcoming shows include a Dance Party with Blanton Youell on Saturday July 3 and Saturday July 31, Fairy Tales with Evan Barnard on July 17 and August 7, and Princess Pigface returns on July 10 and July 24.
June 22, 2021
The Surry Arts Council has another three-concert weekend in store for music fans as the Summer Concert Series returns to the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
On Thursday evening, The Party Prophets with Gene Pharr and Cindy Floyd will be in concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Envision will take to the stage in a concert at 7:30 that evening.
The next night, on Saturday, the 80s cover band Kids in America will be playing a 7:30 p.m. show.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
June 15, 2021
Another three-concert weekend is on tap at the Blackmon Amphitheatre as part of the 2021 Surry Arts Council Summer Concert series.
On Thursday evening, Jim Quick and Coastline will be in concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, North Tower will take to the stage in a concert at 7:30 that evening.
The next night, on Saturday, The Entertainers will be playing a 7:30 p.m. concert.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
June 13, 2021
More than 60 volunteers and participants enjoyed the first week of the Surry Arts Council’s 42nd annual Arts Alive with the theme Fiesta! last week.
Volunteers for week one, for 3- to 5-year-olds, included Peyton Alexandria, Erik Chelgren, Emma Chelgren, Matthew Chelgren, Cassidy Mills, McKinley Gwyn, Mattie Noonkester, Luca Livengood, Izabela Purcaro, and Anne Rachel Sheppard.
The young participants enjoyed daily visual arts with Madeline Matanick, a stage experience with Shelby Coleman, and a song and Spanish vocabulary session with Livia Livengood. Surry Arts Council staffing assistants included Melissa Mendoza and Maria Chilton.
Students will perform the Arts Alive version of the Hispanic Folk Tale “Half Chicken” including Spanish songs and vocabulary. The Arts Alive instructors were Shelby Coleman, Surry Arts Council artistic, dance, and education director, who worked with the children each day on the stage of the Andy Griffith Playhouse teaching them the story and movement for their performance; Madeline Matanick, Surry Arts Council artistic and visual arts director who worked daily with students in the Surry Arts Council Art Studio working on craft projects that supported the theme. These projects including maracas, hats, pinatas and paintings.
Livia Livengood, Spanish teacher at Mount Airy High School, hosted a daily class in the Surry Arts Council Dance Studio. Her students enjoyed songs and vocabulary.
The annual Arts Alive tee shirt design contest was won by Claire Youell, age 7. Students, volunteers and staff will wear the t-shirts in the Arts Alive! parade and at the final performance during the Arts Alive Festival.
The second week of Arts Alive for 6-to 11-year-old participants will be held Monday through Thursday, June 14-17. Arts Alive will be celebrated on Thursday evening with a parade down Main Street at 5 p.m., activities at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, and food provided by the Dairy Center. Participants from both weeks will perform “Half Chicken” on stage at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. For more information on Arts Alive or to register for other summer camps, visit www.surryarts.org or email [email protected]
June 09, 2021
The new Art Studio program sponsored by the Surry Arts Council will continue on Saturday, with visual artist Jennifer Boeyinga set to lead the day’s hands-on art session.
The Art Studio, which held its first session this past Saturday with Madeline Matanick leading, will be open each Saturday through Oct. 30 from noon until 3 p.m.
Artists will have their work on display for sale; they will be demonstrating and interacting with visitors; and the artists will have art and/or craft supplies for guests to enjoy a hands-on art experience while materials last.
The Art Studio is beside the Betty Lynn Exhibit in the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
On June 19 Sandra Brady is scheduled to be leading the session. Diane Mahr, another visual artist, will share her work in the Art Studio and is willing to host other events ranging from birthday parties to evening workshops. Will Pfitzner will be in the Art Studio on Saturday, July 17, with his art form that harmonizes top-notch craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology that distinguishes his artwork from other manufactured wooden products. Follow facebook.com/surryartscouncil/ for updates on weekly artists.
For more information or for any artist interested in participating, email [email protected]
June 08, 2021
This is a big week for the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert series, with three shows set for the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
On Thursday, crowd-favorite The Legacy Motown Revue will be on stage in a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Friday night, the Blackwater Rhythm and Blues Band will take to the stage in a concert at 7:30.
The next night, on Saturday, the Tim Clark Band will be playing a 7:30 p.m. concert.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
June 07, 2021
CRITZ, VA – Pottery instructor Jessica Shelor will teach a coil-building class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from June 10 to June 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Creative Arts Center in Stuart, Virginia.
Coil building is a pottery technique that has existed for thousands of years and is used to more easily build thicker or taller walls on vessels, allowing for the creation of large pieces such as urns or sculptures.
The 12-hour course is $85 per person with all supplies included. Interested participants may register at https://bit.ly/CoilPots.
Shelor is a teacher in the art department for the Danville, Virginia, city school system, with more than 15 years of experience teaching both children and adults. This class is appropriate for anyone age 16 and older and no experience is necessary.
The Creative Arts Center is part of the Virginia Tech Reynolds Homestead and offers classes in pottery, weaving, painting, and more.
Anyone with a disability who desires an accommodation should contact Lisa Martin at [email protected] during regular business hours at least five business days prior to the event.
The Creative Arts Center is located at 334 Patrick Ave. in the same building as the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce.
Photo: Janiece Harmon creates an urn using the coiling technique.
June 04, 2021
New this summer beginning on Saturday, June 5, in the Art Studio beside the Betty Lynn Exhibit in the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Surry Arts Council will feature and showcase area artists and their work and provide a hands-on unique art experience for visitors of all ages.
The Art Studio will be open each Saturday from June 5 through Oct. 30 from noon until 3 p.m. each session.
Artists will have their work on display for sale; they will be demonstrating and interacting with visitors; and the artists will have art and/or craft supplies for guests to enjoy a hands-on art experience while materials last.
Artists will be from a range of genres. Kicking off the event will be Madeline Matanick who will be in the Surry Arts Council Art Studio on Saturday. Matanick is the artistic and visual arts director at the Surry Arts Council. She grew up in South Carolina and toured with Missoula Children’s Theatre before moving to Mount Airy to work at the arts council. Matanick will share her love of all things colorful.
She will be followed on June 12 by Jennifer Boeyinga, also a visual artist, and on June 19 by Sandra Brady. Diane Mahr, a visual artist, will share her work in the Art Studio and is willing to host other events ranging from birthday parties to evening workshops. Will Pfitzner will be in the Art Studio on Saturday, July 17, with his art form that harmonizes top-notch craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology that distinguishes his artwork from other manufactured wooden products. Follow facebook.com/surryartscouncil/ for updates on weekly artists.
Visitors and locals are encouraged to visit, support, and experience the work of talented area artists ranging from basket-makers, potters, and visual artists to state-of-the-art woodworking craftsmen.
Artists have been especially challenged during the past year and the Surry Arts Council is not only inviting them to share their talents, but is also compensating them for adding this dimension to the experience of visiting the Andy Griffith Playhouse and Museum on Saturdays. The arts council encourages visitors to ask about birthday party options with artists, private classes, Girls Night Out art events, and other opportunities in the Art Studio.
For more information or if interested in participating, contact [email protected]
June 01, 2021
The Surry Arts Council will feature the Living Storybook on the stage of the Blackmon Amphitheatre each Saturday from June 5 through August 7 at 10:30 a.m. Young audiences will be entertained by area artists all summer long. These shows are free.
Mark Donnell will lead off the series with “Three Little Pigs.” Donnell has worked with the Surry Arts Council for many years as director, teaching artist, puppeteer, commedia dell’arte, mask maker, clown and actor.
He will be followed by Blanton Youell whose family is active in many arts council programs. Youell will share his DJ skills for young audiences and will bring his love of music to the Surry Arts Council Living Storybook stage for dance parties on June 12, July 3, and July 31. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the fun and music on the dance floor of the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
Evan Barnard, graduate of the UNC School of the Arts High School Drama program and frequent actor on the Andy Griffith Playhouse stage, will entertain young audiences with folk tales on July 17 and August 7. The tales will take inspiration from the Polish story of “Prot and Crot” and Appalachian “Jack Tales.” Evan will create an interactive experience for young audiences with the Surry Arts Council Living Storybook as he prepares for enrollment in the UNCSA School of Drama this fall.
Shelby Coleman’s young Surry Arts Players will perform “Princess Pig Face” on June 19, 26, and July 10 and July 24. This show tells the story of a cruel and selfish king who learns that his step-daughter’s beauty could be the end to his tyrannical reign. He places a spell on her – cursing her with the face of a pig.
Now, Princess Pigface of Hillshire must cross many hills and swim many streams, seeking acceptance and true love’s first kiss. Along the way, she meets a dashingly handsome woodsman who prefers picking flowers to hunting and comes to learn that true beauty is found within.
Madeline Matanick will share her artistic talents by painting the pages of the Surry Arts Council’s Living Storybook.
The outdoor setting for this series of events was chosen as a safer environment for young audiences.
These ten shows are funded in part by a grant from the Mount Airy/Surry County Community Foundation and a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
June 01, 2021
Two more Surry Arts Council Summer Concert series shows are scheduled for this weekend, one on Friday evening and one on Saturday.
The Magnificents are scheduled to be in concert Friday at the Blackmon Amphitheatre beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Twenty-four hours later, the Cat5 Band will take to the stage in a Saturday evening concert at 7:30.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
May 25, 2021
The North Tower Band and The Holiday Band will be in town this weekend, entertaining Memorial Day Weekend crowds in two separate concerts at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
Both concerts are part of the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series.
On Friday, North Tower Band will be on stage at the Blackmon Amphitheatre in a show beginning at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, The Holiday Band will be taking the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
May 22, 2021
Daniel Coston, who has spent years as a photographer focusing on musical and entertainment stars — especially those with ties to the old time and bluegrass music of this region, was on hand Tuesday for a presentation at the Historic Earle Theatre.
Hosted by the Mount Airy Photography Club, the presentation was attended by music enthusiasts as well as photographers.
Entitled “On the Way to Here,” Coston’s talk focused on his years photographing legendary musicians and personalities. Many photos in his presentation had never before been seen. He shared stories about surviving in the business of photography.
Photos the Charlotte-based photographer shared included those of Andy Griffith, Benton Flippen walking to his car, and other well-known musicians including Johnny Cash.
Coston has been to Mount Airy several times during his career that has focused on North Carolina musicians including several from Surry County. His extensive body of work represents many genres and a diversity of backgrounds and cultural experiences.
He has expressed his hope that his work will give visitors an experience and a personal connection to the music of North Carolina and celebrate musical styles from old-time, blues and jazz, to folk, rock, bluegrass and country, the music that makes up the rich heritage of Surry County and the state.
Coston’s exhibit, “Carolina Calling,” remains on display at the Historic Earle Theatre. The exhibit and the presentation are sponsored in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a Division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
May 20, 2021
The Surry Arts Council Blackmon Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series continues this weekend with two more concerts.
On Friday, Souljam will be performing for concert attendees in a show that gets underway at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the 80s band Cassette Rewind will be taking the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
May 13, 2021
The Surry Arts Council Blackmon Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series continues Friday night with one of the region’s more popular bands making a return to the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
The Catalinas will be taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. for a concert. Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
May 09, 2021
The Mount Airy Photography Club is hosting Charlotte-based music photographer, Daniel Coston, at the Historic Earle Theatre on Tuesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. The presentation is free and is open to the public.
Coston will discuss his photography career. Entitled “On the Way to Here,” the talk will focus on his years photographing legendary musicians and personalities. Many photos in his presentation have never before been seen. He will also be sharing stories about surviving in the business of photography.
Coston has been to Mount Airy several times during his career that has focused on North Carolina musicians including several from Surry County. His extensive body of work represents many genres and a diversity of backgrounds and cultural experiences. He has the hope that his work will give visitors an experience and a personal connection to the music of North Carolina and celebrate musical styles from old-time, blues and jazz, to folk, rock, bluegrass and country, the music that makes up the rich heritage of Surry County and our state.
Coston’s exhibit, “Carolina Calling,” is on display at the Historic Earle Theatre. The exhibit and the presentation are sponsored in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a Division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
The Mount Airy Photography Club is led by Kenny Hooker and Hobart Jones. Club meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Anyone wishing to be on the Photography Club email list should send a request to Hobart Jones at [email protected]
May 06, 2021
The Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series continues this week with two concerts at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
On Friday the Carolina Soul Band will take to the stage at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, also at 7:30 p.m., the Will Jones Band will be in concert. Tickets will be on sale at the gates one hour prior to the concerts. Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand with concessions.
Those attending are encouraged to take lounge or beach chairs or a blanket. For more information, visit www.surryarts.org
May 02, 2021
Signs that summer is coming — and that life is edging back toward normalcy — were in full bloom Thursday evening when the first of more than 50 Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series shows opened.
The series, performed at The Blackmon Amphitheatre, was forced into a year-long hiatus during 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 precautions are still in effect, with the series’ opening acts doing split shows, one at 7 p.m. and another at 9 p.m., with a limited number of patrons allowed at the amphitheatre for performance.
On Thursday, one of the more popular bands among area residents and visitors, The Embers featuring Craig Woolard, took to the stage.
“The evening went well and we’re looking forward to hosting the 2021 series,” said Tanya Jones, arts council executive director.
This week two more shows are slated for the Blackmon Amphitheatre, with the Carolina Soul Band set for Friday night and The Will Jones Band set to perform Saturday evening. Anyone seeking more information, or to learn about purchasing tickets, should email [email protected] or to online to www.surryarts.org
April 24, 2021
More than 100 people turned out for the 2021 Black History Celebration held earlier this month at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
The Celebration, coordinated by Marie Nicholson, Donnie Nicholson, and Maggie Hatcher of Surry Sings, featured music, poetry, dance, and stories.
Marie Nicholson opened the program with an introduction and purpose and gave historical highlights between bands. Adreann Belle, president of the Mount Airy Surry County Branch of the National Association of University Women, welcomed and greeted audience members.
Lashene Lowe, president of the African American Historic and Genealogical Society, read “The Creation,” a poem by James Weldon Johnson. She also gave greetings and comments on behalf of the Society. Maggie Hatcher gave some historical highlights. The C.R.E.W. Praise Dancers, youth from King’s Mountain View Progressive Primitive Baptist Church offered a Praise Dance to the song “You Know My Name” by Tasha Cobbs. The Chestnut Ridge Progressive Primitive Baptist Church Praise Team also entertained.
Instrumental and vocal groups who offered praise and song included soloist Evangelist Leslie Allen. She was followed by the New Dynamic Voices of Praise that were composed of Leslie Allen, Tabitha Brown, Brittany Flippen, Gavin Green, Pernell Wester on bass guitar, and song leader Jeremigh Brown. Elder Robert Webster accompanied the group on rhythm guitar. Also in the group were Pete Hale lead guitar, Billy Martin lead guitar, and Bernard Carter on drums. Others also participated. The Sons of Abraham played several gospel favorites. The band featured Leon Shuff on lead guitar, Bernard Carter on drums, Alton Williams and Frank Shuff vocals, along with Gerald Shuff on Bass Guitar.
This celebration followed the Living Rhythms Drumming workshops that were held hourly at from noon through 4 o’clock that day on the stage of the Andy Griffith Playhouse. More than 30 participants enjoyed the drumming workshops. These workshops and the celebration were free and were sponsored in part by a Grassroots grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. This grant and the programs represent a partnership between the Surry County African American Historical and Genealogical Society and the Surry Arts Council.
Another series of drumming workshops will be held on Saturday, May 8. All ages are invited to register and attend. Workshops are limited to 15 participants and will begin at noon and be held hourly until 4 p.m. Call the Surry Arts Council 336-786-7998 or register online at www.surryarts.org.
Surry Sings will resume rehearsals on Friday evening, May 7, at 6:30 p.m. on the Andy Griffith Playhouse stage. Marie Nicholson is coordinating these rehearsals. An effort is being made to have representatives from each local church in the chorus as the group prepares for a community Unity event this summer.
Contact Marie Nicholson [email protected] with questions, to participate, or for more information.
April 19, 2021
More than 40 area high-school students attended the second annual Surry Arts Film Festival at the Historic Earle Theatre on Tuesday evening, April 13.
Mount Airy High School had five entries under the direction of Gena Ray, choral and theatre director. Surry Central High School had one entry. ‘
The in-person event was hosted by Surry Arts Council staff including Courtney Thompson welcoming and presenting the awards, and Ken White handling projection and technical support. Courtney noted that the event is sponsored by Surry Arts Council fundraisers for school programs as well as a Grassroots Grant from the NC Arts Council, a Division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
The Best Overall award was presented to Tyler Mullins and his team for “Birthday Boy.” Tyler attends Mount Airy High School. The short film depicts a brother cleaning his home after an eventful birthday party. A knock at the door during the clean-up tells us more than first meets the eye.
“The short film was excellent on many levels ranging from directing to production and editing to the final frame,” event organizers said.
The Best Documentary was awarded to Kate Deaton and her team. Kate attends Mount Airy High School. The documentary “Pollution” is a short film about kids entering a forest. The film shows that pollution has taken over their play space. The message that pollution is all around us and affects us in many ways is clearly shown in the film.
Students were encouraged to continue to express their vision and talent. Tanya Jones, Surry Arts Council Executive director, closed the show by expressing gratitude to Gena Ray, parents and students who made the event such a success. She also thanked Courtney and Ken White noting that White has probably seen more films in the past 30 years than anyone else in Surry County.
Students were encouraged to contact the Surry Arts Council for volunteer, theatre, and other opportunities. All those attending enjoyed popcorn and drinks.
For more information on school programming or movies at the Earle contact [email protected]
April 13, 2021
The Surry Arts Council managed to offer a modified summer camp schedule last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and the organization will be bringing increased summer camp offerings to the community this year.
New programs include the “Once Upon the Blue Ridge” free Theatre for Young Audiences series. These shows will be held each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Blackmon Amphitheatre or moved to the Andy Griffith Playhouse in the case of bad weather. The series will begin on Saturday, June 19 and run through Saturday, August 14.
Free old-time dance and stringed instrument lessons continue at the Historic Earle Theatre each Thursday with dance lessons at 4:30 p.m., fiddle at 5:30 p.m., and guitar, mandolin, and banjo at 6:15 p.m. This program is funded by a TAPS grant from the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Registration is onsite prior to the beginning of each class and instruments are provided.
Summer camp registration is online at www.surryarts.org or parents may visit the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street to register. New camps continue to be added. High School volunteers wishing to assist with summer camps may email [email protected] with dates and times that they are available.
2021 Summer Camps include:
• June 7-10, Arts Alive Fiesta!, ages 3-5
• June 14-17, Arts Alive Fiesta!, ages 6-11
• June 21-July 1, Musical Theatre Ensemble, ages 8-18
• June 21-25, Princess Camp, ages 3 and up
• July 5-16, Acting Camp, ages 5-18
• July 12-15, Surry Strings Camp, ages 5 and up
• July 19-23, Dance Camp, ages 3-6
• July 19-23, Dance Camp, ages 7-12
• July 19-30, Acting Camp, ages 8-18
• July 19-23, Visual Arts Camp, ages 9-16
• July 26-30, Visual Arts Camp, ages 4-8
Families are encouraged to keep watch for family movies at the Historic Earle Theatre. The Surry Arts Council hopes to begin the free monthly family movie series soon.
Need-based scholarships are available. Email [email protected] for an application. Funds are provided by the Kester Sink Birthday Endowment and the Dr. John L. Gravitte “Dentistry with Heart” Scholarship Fund. These applications may also be accessed online at www.surryarts.org or picked up at the Surry Arts Council office, 218 Rockford Street, or at Dr. Gravitte’s office, 140 N Pointe Blvd.
April 11, 2021
After a year-long COVID-19 related hiatus, the Surry Arts Council Summer Concert Series is returning with three shows at the end of April.
The popular series, which features regional and national musical acts in concert at the Blackmon Amphitheatre, has more than 50 shows on the slate for this year, a welcome return to normalcy for area fans after all 52 of last year’s concerts were cancelled.
But there will be a few corona virus-related restrictions this year, at least during the first three shows set for April 29-May 1.
The Embers featuring Craig Woolard will open the 2021 Summer Series at the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday, April 29, followed by Legacy Motown Revue and Cat5 on Friday and Saturday of that weekend, all operating on a modified schedule.
“Due to COVID restrictions and guidelines, the arts council’s choice was to cancel opening weekend or open with a modified schedule and they chose the latter,” said the council’s Tanya Jones in a statement announcing the return of the series.
The modified schedule will include a 7 p.m. show and a 9 p.m. show each night during the first weekend. Patrons will choose which show they wish to attend each night. Gates for the 7 p.m. Early Show will open at 6 p.m. The Early Show audience will leave after the show ends at 8 p.m. and patrons for the 9 p.m. Late Show will be admitted.
“Season ticket holders will need to specify their preferred showtime in advance for the three opening weekend shows by emailing [email protected] or calling 336-786-7998 and speaking with Lucas or Courtney,” Jones said in the statement. Others may purchase individual tickets online at www.surryarts.org for their preferred show times at these opening weekend shows or call or go by the Surry Arts Council office. If available, tickets will also be on sale at the gates but patrons are encouraged to get tickets in advance.
Patrons must follow CDC guidelines that include placing their chair groups six feet apart and wearing masks except when eating or drinking. Dancing must be limited to that space as well.
“The number per concert will be limited and we will be following state guidelines regarding the number per concert. Children will not be admitted free on the first weekend and will be guided by the same rules as adults.”
Legacy Motown Revue will play on Friday, April 30, following the same schedule and guidelines, as will the CAT5 band on Saturday, May 1.
”The arts council had a choice of cancelling the first weekend this year or trying this schedule and hoping that the Governor opens up outdoor venues at an increased capacity so that the remaining concerts can return to the regular schedule,” Jones said in the statement. “The arts council requests that patrons check Facebook.com/surryartscouncil for updates. “
She said many of the series’ past bands are returning along with some new ones. The Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be on hand for Summer Series concerts with hot dogs, sandwiches, snacks, beer, and wine available for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are permitted to be brought into the Amphitheatre area. There will be no exceptions.
Annual passes are on sale for $125 plus tax. In addition to the Summer Series, the Annual Pass also includes admission to the weekly WPAQ Merry-Go-Round at the Historic Earle Theatre.
Summer Series rack cards with the season schedule are available for pick up at the Surry Arts Council, the Historic Earle Theatre, and the Andy Griffith Museum. The series may also be accessed online at www.surryarts.org. Annual Passes are available online www.surryarts.org, at the Surry Arts Council office, 218 Rockford Street, or at the gates prior to shows. Individual tickets for the Summer Series shows are $15 plus tax. Patrons are asked to have correct change as gate staff will not have coins at the gates. Again, advance purchase for the first weekend is encouraged.
“The arts council is excited to be opening up the series and is grateful to all patrons as we work through this together,” she said.
For additional information on the Summer Series, contact Courtney Thompson at [email protected] or call 336-786-7998.
March 22, 2021
CRITZ, VA – Curious adults ages 50 and older who are looking for opportunities to explore history, art, fitness, and more, are invited to join the Reynolds Homestead’s College for Older Adults (COA). The spring session for COA will begin April 19 and run through May 28. This session will be a hybrid session with lectures and discussions delivered via Zoom, and fitness and art classes held outside where social distancing can be observed safely.
COA is a membership program that offers 32 classes for members to enjoy. Those interested in fitness can choose among Moving to Motown, a gentle aerobics class designed to keep you moving and flexible, gentle yoga, line dancing, hiking and golf.
History buffs can explore subjects such as the Martinsville Seven with the author of the ground-breaking book, the families and stories of Rock Castle Gorge, the Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy, and more.
For those who love arts and crafts, plein air painting, acrylic painting, barn quilts and wreath-making are offered. Discussions and presentations on native foods of Appalachia, protecting yourself from ticks, food prepping for emergencies, and social media for seniors are hot topics.
One special program offered this time is the Better Angels Workshop, Depolarizing from Within. Better Angels is a national citizens’ movement to reduce political polarization in the United States by bringing liberals and conservatives together to understand each other beyond stereotypes, forming red/blue community alliances, teaching practical skills for communicating across political differences, and making a strong public argument for depolarization.
This session will begin with a 40-minute video, break shortly for lunch, and then resume with a “Depolarizing Within” workshop, with the goals of being more aware of our own “inner polarizer,” being critical without demonizing, dismissing or stereotyping large swaths of the population, and learning strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.
Interested in hobby drones? Garden photography? Kayaking? The College for Older Adults has it all.
Membership is $35 for the six-week session. Art classes have a small supply fee. For those who want to do the hiking only, a special price of $25 is available.
Registration forms are available online at www.reynoldshomestead.vt.edu or in person at the Patrick County Chamber/Creative Arts Center at 334 Patrick Avenue in Stuart.
Anyone with questions may contact Lisa Martin at [email protected] ege for Older Adults.
March 06, 2021
Carolina Calling: The Photography of Daniel Coston, which opened on Friday, Feb. 26, will run through Monday, May 31 at the Historic Earle Theatre in Mount Airy.
The exhibit celebrates the work of Charlotte-based music photographer Daniel Coston and the North Carolina musicians he has photographed over the past 27 years. Coston and Surry Arts Council staff have selected photos of North Carolina musicians from Coston’s extensive body of work who represent many genres, a diversity of backgrounds, and cultural experiences.
The exhibition is put together with the hope of creating an experience and a personal connection to the music of North Carolina for any visitor. It will also celebrate musical styles — from old-time, blues and jazz, to folk, rock, bluegrass and country — and how they make up the rich music heritage and culture of Surry County and North Carolina.
Coston will give an in-person presentation at the Earle Theatre in May. Details will be announced as soon as the state pandemic guidelines are relaxed. The exhibit is located in the Historic Earle Theatre, 142 North Main Street, Mount Airy, in the heart of downtown Mount Airy. For more information call the Surry Arts Council 336-786-7998 or email [email protected]
March 03, 2021
The Tommy Jarrell Youth Competition was held at the Historic Earle Theatre on Saturday, with 18 individual or ban entries, some in-person and others virtual. While travel is generally down because of COVID-19, entrants to the contest came from as far away as Roanoke, Virginia.
The winners were:
Ages 5-12
Fiddle
First place: Cheyenne Grantham from Boones Mill, Virginia
First place: Hunter Hiatt of State Road
Third place: Shawn Rippel of Pilot Mountain
Third place: Lily Arispe of Mount Airy
Clawhammer Banjo
First place: Wyatt Grantham of Boones Mill
Guitar
First place: Gavin Bush of Mount Airy
First place: Evan Bush of Mount Airy
Third place: Levi Arispe of Mount Airy
Other
First place: Blaine Young, of Roanoke, Virginia, Mandolin
First place: Grantham Band featuring Cheyenne, Wyatt and Gatlynn Grantham, of Boones Mill
Ages 13-18
Fiddle
First place: Victoria Blakey of Tobaccoville
First place: Neely Sizemore of Elkin
Guitar
First place: Darrius Flowers of Pilot Mountain
Dance
First place: Darrius Flowers, of Pilot Mountain, Flatfoot
First place: Candace Noah, of Dobson, Clogging
Bands
First place: Hwy 268 featuring Darrius Flowers of Pilot Mountain and Neely and Natalie Sizemore of Elkin
First place: Blakey Family featuring Victoria and Gabrielle Blakey and Family, of Tobaccoville
Other
First place: Ayden Young, of Roanoke, Bluegrass Banjo
First place: Candace Noah, of Dobson, Bluegrass Banjo
Third place: Natalie Sizemore, of Elkin, Mandolin
February 19, 2021
It’s beginning to sound like a broken record (for those who remember records) — another event cancelled because of COVID-19.
That is the case with the annual Arts Ball gathering, which would have been held Friday night under normal circumstances. The Arts Ball, sponsored by the Surry Arts Council, is the annual soiree held at Cross Creek Country Club. While the gathering generally has a different theme each year, it includes food, music, and a popular auction of various goods and services — with the proceeds going to support numerous in-school arts programs held throughout Surry County.
While the soiree part may no happen, the arts council’s auction is going on now, featuring more than 300 items that range from gift cards to hand-crafted furniture items to home baked goodies for the purchaser prepared at a mutually agreeable time. There’s even a few overnight stays at some area resorts.
All to support various art projects benefitting area school children.
Melissa Sumner, Surry Arts Council events and school programs coordinator, said she is overwhelmed by the response from schools and the community, and that the community and schools “were more generous than ever with donations that everyone will want.”
Some of the specific items up for grabs in the auction include overnights at a Kibbler Valley home with a trout stream, two nights at the River House Inn and Restaurant with breakfast and dinner for one, overnight stays at a private home in Pinehurst, handcrafted Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, massage gift cards, a family pass to the zoo, passes to the Greensboro Science Center, an electric tooth brush in a gift basket, jewelry, a private wine class, socks, a custom made trestle table by Joey Martin, and many more great options.
The auction went live Friday, Feb. 19, at 9 a.m. the day the Arts Ball was planned, and the auction will run through March 1.
All of the funds raised will be used to support 2021-2022 arts programming in the Surry County Schools, Millennium Charter Academy, and the Mount Airy City Schools.
The Surry Arts Council and area schools are grateful to Rogers Realty and Auction for hosting the online auction. Everyone is invited to participate by going online www.rogersauctiongroup.com and registering. The minimum bid for each item is $5. Gift cards will be mailed to the successful bidders. Other items can be picked up at the Surry Arts Council offices following the auction closure. Sumner will work with those purchasing larger items on mutually agreeable pick-up times during the week following the close of the auction on March 1.
“Dozens of volunteers and school personnel worked hard on the silent auction,” the arts council said in announcing the auction. “Melissa Sumner thanked the volunteer committee for their hard work during this logistically challenging time. The committee met via Zoom and early in the process made the decision that an in-person gathering would not be safe.”
That left the group working with schools to coordinate the online event. All 25 schools participated with both donations and support. Surry Arts Council board members, school personnel, and dozens of volunteers worked to ensure “that the arts remain a part of our area school programming,” the council said.
Committee members included Surry County Schools staff Tracey Lewis, Gaye Cooke, Lisa Parrish, Hollie Lyons, Antonia Cawley and Jessica McLeod. Millennium Charter Academy efforts were led by T.J. Lievsay, and Mount Airy City School coordination was overseen by Carrie Venable. Surry Arts Council Board Members and spouses assisting including Brooke Lowry, Meredith Simmons, Ashley Mills, Jennifer Nester, Ginny and Cooper Adams, and Nicole Harrison. Jenny Lowry was added support to the effort along with many others downtown and in local and regional businesses.
In addition to directly paying for arts programs, the Arts Ball proceeds leverage grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and South Arts. The TAPS grant provides support for several hundred students to have a hands-on experience with traditional stringed instruments. Jim Vipperman spends a week in each of three schools introducing students to fiddles, guitars, and Surry County’s traditional music heritage. Students are then able to attend the weekly free year-round lessons at the Historic Earle Theatre every Thursday afternoon if they wish to continue free lessons.
There have been limits during the current school year but the arts council has collaborated with Mount Airy City Schools and the Reeves Community Center Foundation on the ELISS grant to provide in-person arts programming while following CDC guidelines. The Arts Council staff took dozens of craft kits, gingercookie kits, and other materials to special education classes in the schools.
The Surry Arts Council has a grant from South Arts to provide programming with Sons of Mystro concerts in the school and in the community as soon as guidelines permit. In addition, Mike Wiley is scheduled for multiple Black History programs in the schools as soon as in-person engagements are safe.
The arts council is working with school officials and will host the second Surry High School Film Festival. The winning entries from each high school will be shown at the Historic Earle Theatre on Tuesday evening, April 7, for contestants, friends, and family. The Surry Arts Council has worked with the schools and continued to host interns during the current school year.
Arts programs funded by the Arts Ball facilitate more than 15,000 student contacts annually. It is the Surry Arts Council’s goal to send at least one program to each school in the Surry County School system, the Mount Airy City School system, and Millennium Charter Academy, the organization said. Most schools receive two or three programs. Students in these 25 schools are also invited to one or more programs at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Historic Earle Theatre, and/or the Blackmon Amphitheatre. Students visit and have guided tours at the Andy Griffith Museum, the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, and the Siamese Twins Exhibit at no cost. School concerts and drama presentations are hosted by the Surry Arts Council throughout the year at no cost to the schools.
The arts council works with schools to host interns and to provide art instruction in both in-school and after school programs along with many other partnerships throughout the year. In addition, scholarships from the Jimmy Lowry Endowment, the Betty Lynn Endowment, the Mildred Robertson Endowment, and the Sandy Beam Endowment provide scholarships to Surry County students who wish to further their education in the arts.
All of these programs are supported by the annual Charity Ball auction.
February 18, 2021
Surry Early College High School student Elorah Gillispie recently competed in the Regional NCASA Art Showcase Competition. Elorah entered a digital media piece of artwork titled “Changing History,” and will move on to take part in the state competition this spring.
Art Showcase is a competition that recognizes both the best individual artists and best art programs in North Carolina schools. Students are presented with a prompt and given about one month to create their submission. Media categories include painting, drawing, collage, photography, and other creative efforts. Electronic copies of submissions are sent to NCASA and forwarded to judges. Submissions from top teams and students from each category advance to the state finals and are evaluated by judges in a live exhibition.
February 17, 2021
The Surry Central High School art competition team placed second in the Western Region behind Myers Park High School of Charlotteduring a recently competition.
Individually, Joy Tilley’s Collage of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Adora Dudley’s Lino-cut Print for Equality both placed first in their respective divisions. Emma Cooke’s Computer-Generated BLM Police Officer tied for first with Surry Early College.
Laken Creed’s Painting for Mental Health Issues placed second in her division, and Delia Chavez Sculpture of The Fabric of Society placed fourth.
While not everyone placed in their category, each entry helps build the team score and the team will move on to the state finals. Students will prepare an artist statement that explains their choices and continue competing against 10 other high schools.
The team members are Joy Tilley, Adora Dudley, Emma Cooke, Laken Creed, Delia Chavez, Lanie Fitzgerald, Josh Marion, and Yadira Branch.
February 17, 2021
As is the case with seemingly everything else, the organizers of the annual Tommy Jarrell Birthday celebration have been forced to cut back just a bit this year as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
But the annual event, along with a popular youth competition, will go on, even if some of it is in the virtual world.
The yearly gathering — which celebrates the music and teachings of Surry County native and blue grass and old time music pioneer Tommy Jarrell, will kick off on Feb. 25 with the opening of photographer Daniel Coston’s show “Carolina Calling” featuring North Carolina musicians.
“The photo show will be opening during the Tommy Jarrell weekend but there will be no official ribbon cutting or opening due to the pandemic,” said Tanya Jones, executive director of the Surry Arts Council, which oversees the festival.
“This, like all events we have hosted since March 2020, is significantly scaled back with no birthday concert and dance and without the in-person old-time classes,” she said.
As a result, she said that Coston will present a free workshop at a later date “when guidelines hopefully permit an in-person event where he will be hosting both a presentation and workshop as well as selling and autographing his books,” she said.
Coston’s show is sponsored by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in partnership with the Mount Airy Photography Club. The show will be at the Earle through May 2021.
“He has lived in Charlotte since 1983 and his work has been featured in many major publications, on television, in documentaries, and in various exhibitions,” the arts council said in announcing the show. “Coston has worked with artists including the Avett Brothers, Johnny Cash, Marice Williams, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and many more.”
In addition to his work capturing visual music moments, he has authored several books including North Carolina Musicians: Photographs and Conversations; There Was a Time: Rock and Roll During the 1960’s in Charlotte North Carolina; and Home of the Blues: A History of the Double Door Inn. Coston’s Exhibit “Carolina Calling” showcases his documentation of North Carolina music. Coston is amazed at the diversity of the music in NC. “Every musical genre we know would not be the same without musicians from North Carolina, blues, jazz, bluegrass, all the way through to Rock & Roll and Hip Hop.”
The show opened at the Earl Scruggs Museum in Shelby last year. Coston has added several local musicians that he photographed to the Mount Airy show. These include Andy Griffith, Benton Flippen, and Donna Fargo.
On the same day, Darius Flowers will lead the weekly free old-time dance workshop at 4:30 p.m. Youth fiddle and guitar lessons led by Brown-Hudson award-winning teacher Jim Vipperman will follow the dance class.
On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and Feb. 27, award winning old-time musicians Martha Spencer and Emily Spencer will teach fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin workshops online.
Interested participants are encouraged to go online at www.surryarts.org and register for the classes. Emily and Martha Spencer have enjoyed a lifetime of preserving the old-time music, dance, and vocal traditions of the Appalachians.
“It’s music that is authentic and real for Martha who grew up in the musical Spencer family, singing and flatfoot dancing by the time she could walk. She has known and loved music all her life and has mastered instruments including the guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, mandolin and dulcimer.” the arts council said.
The Tommy Jarrell Youth Competition will be held at the Historic Earle Theatre at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27. The competition welcomes youth through the age of 18. Each competitor has three minutes to perform. Virtual entries will be accepted this year and should be emailed to [email protected] by Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. The winners will be announced and trophies will be presented following the competition on Saturday.
For more information, contact the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998 or [email protected]
January 09, 2021
In celebration of Black History Month, the African American Historical and Genealogical Society with a grant from the Grassroots Program of the North Carolina Arts Council is partnering with the Surry Arts Council to host drumming workshops on the stage of the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
The workshops will be held on Saturday, Feb. 13, March 13, April 10, and May 8. Three workshops will be hosted each day at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, at 218 Rockford Street. The workshops are free but advance registration is required by calling 336-786-7998 or going to www.surryarts.org. Each class is limited to 10 participants. To remain in compliance with CDC guidelines masks are required, drums will be sanitized between classes and are distanced. Drums are provided for each participant. All ages are encouraged to register.
Living Rhythms exposes participants to the music of Africa with the aim to broaden understanding of an increasingly interdependent world and to encourage the embracing of cultural diversity. The joy and community spirit inherent in drumming gives participants direct access to the concepts of tolerance, harmony, and responsible world citizenship.
For more information or to register, contact Courtney Thompson at 336-786-7998 or via email [email protected] or email Marie Nicholson [email protected]
These free programs are sponsored in part by the African American Historical and Genealogical Society and a grant from the Grassroots Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in partnership with the Surry Arts Council. Nicholson wrote the subgrant application for these programs on behalf of the African American Historical and Geneological Society, with the effort garnering a $3,000 grant for the program.
November 03, 2020
The Surry Arts Council is accepting applications for North Carolina CARES for Arts Subgrants through Nov. 9, and applications for the North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program Subgrants through Nov. 30.
The North Carolina General Assembly designated $9.4 million federal CARES Act funds for arts councils and arts organizations to mitigate business disruptions caused by COVID-19. The North Carolina Arts Council will distribute these funds on a per-capita basis to all North Carolina counties with a population of less than one million people. The Surry Arts Council is receiving the funds and will sub-grant a portion of the county allotment to eligible recipients in Surry County.
Arts Councils and Arts Organizations are eligible to apply for a North Carolina CARES for Arts Subgrant to offset business expenses incurred due to COVID-19 between March 1 and Dec, 30. The following expenses can be considered: paid salaries and benefits, on-going operating expenses, costs associated with canceling programs and creating virtual programs, and COVID-related safety and cleaning measures. Subgrant applicants must provide documentation as evidence for expenses and these documents must include receipts, invoices, monthly financial statements, and payroll ledgers.
North Carolina CARES for Arts funding cannot reimburse expenses already paid by other federal relief funds such as PPP loans, direct grants from the NEA, and stimulus grants issued by the North Carolina Arts Council. Application forms and grant guidelines are available on the Surry Arts Council website at www.surryarts.org. Applications including supporting documentation must be received in the Surry Arts Council office no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 9.
The annual North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program Subgrants are open to Surry County nonprofit and arts organizations who present arts programming. These applications are available on www.ncarts.org and www.surryarts.org. These applications are due in the Surry Arts Council office no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30. For questions about either of these subgrant applications email [email protected]
October 18, 2020
A decades-long fixture in the Mount Airy and greater old-time music world soon will be returning after a COVID-19 hiatus.
WPAQ’s long-standing Merry-Go-Round live radio broadcast will return to the Historic Earle Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 24, with several performances, beginning at 11 a.m.
The performers at 11 a.m. are Surry Arts Council Ukulele Retreat musicians led by George Smith. Once the ukulele musicians are finished, The Java Brothers will take to the stage to entertain, from noon until 1:30 p.m.
A week later, on Halloween, the Merry-Go-Round will feature The Goodfellers at 11 a.m. and Flint Ridge from noon until 1:30 p.m.
“It will be great to get back live on the stage at the Earle with these favorite bluegrass and bluegrass/gospel bands,” said Jennie Lowry, a weekly host of the WPAQ Merry-Go-Round.
According to Tanya Jones, Surry Arts Council executive director, WPAQ and the Surry Arts Council are working together to safely and slowly reopen this popular weekly live broadcast. Masks and social distancing will be required and attendance will be limited to remain in compliance with state guidelines.
WPAQ Merry-Go-Round is the second-longest continuously running live radio broadcast in the nation, second only to the Grand Ole Opry. COVID-19 closed down the public performances earlier this year, and the Merry-Go-Round had to broadcast from the WPAQ Studio.
Admission to the Merry-Go-Round is $8 and can be purchased at the door. Admission to the Merry-Go-Round also includes admission to the Andy Griffith Museum at 218 Rockford Street and the Siamese Twins Exhibit.
Anyone holding a 2020 Surry Arts Council Annual Pass or Merry-Go-Round Annual Pass can use those for admission through Dec. 31. The weekly show runs from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Saturday.
For additional information, www.surryarts.org or www.WPAQ740.com




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