Monthly Archives: November 2017

An inspired community

Karen Watson – Infusion Arts

Karen Watson – Infusion Arts

We live in a community of hardworking folk and, among us, is a community of artists who lend grace, beauty and a wealth of spirit to the region.

They are down the side streets in spaces that they’ve set aside for their art, in converted farm buildings and garages, having overrun kitchen counters, closets, and cluttered places in their homes.

The soil and clay around these parts is fertile for the various arts.

They work at their crafts down dirt roads, make and show what they’ve wrought on town and county art tours, and bring their inspired creations to local festivals when they are not shown on-line.

They work at their art because they love it, inspired by the smoothness of formed clay, an attempt to synthesize a media array, to play with the forgiveness of oil brushed on a stretched canvas, the challenge of water colors, or acrylics, or a charcoal drawing stick, a string of stones to make a necklace, or wool to make a scarf, inspired to try to create something no one’s ever made quite like what they’ve imagined and made concrete and real.

They have a passion to invoke their gifts, creating when they can get away from their “real” work, until, they dream, they can make their art full time, and give up “their day job.”

Thus has it always been.

Jill Evans-Kavaldjian, the President of the Loudoun County Arts Council said, “I was struck by the reflection of the trees outside on the tiles inside and captured what I saw with colored pencils and a varnish.”

Tiles

Tiles

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The election – Virginia chose civility and reason

election-signs-2017-va - 1Hardly a person fails to follow the polls to consider the trend of opinion approaching the day of election.

In Virginia that appeared to favor Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Edward Gillespie closing in on his Democratic opponent.

There was a pol that had Mr. Gillespie’s opponent, Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam, with a 13-point lead in September, then a 6-point lead weeks ago, and a 2-point lead the weekend before the election.

There was much concerned talk among Dems and joyfully anxious conversation among Republicans.

As they went from polling place to polling place on the day of the election, many wondered if Northam might be the only member of the Democratic slate left standing by election night.

This seeming trend toward a narrow victory for Northam augured badly for down ticket Dems who rely on the tail of the statewide ticket to pull them over the electoral finish line.

Polls and pundits, however, were astonished at the results several hours after 7PM when the precincts across the state closed and began reporting their results. Continue reading

Black lives should be honored – not just tolerated

Congress approves DC statue of Frederick Douglass in Capitol complexIt’s high time that we had a statue placed on the Loudoun County Court house lawn honoring abolitionist Frederick Douglas and the black Union troops from Loudoun County that fought for the union and for their freedom from slavery.

In Washington, DC, there is a statue to Black Union Troops.

There is a statue of Frederick Douglas in the Capitol.

But we have no memorial in Loudoun.

You may not appreciate that there’s good and sufficient history to do so.

Kevin Dulany Grigsby, a Loudoun native, believes his black ancestral heritage from the Civil War has been overlooked, invisible in Loudoun County, particularly how Blacks fought for the Union.

“It was the movie, ‘Glory’,” Kevin said, “while I was a Junior at Loudoun County High School, that revealed to me that there had been black soldiers fighting for the Union in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.”

“It was my cousin, Vernon Peterson,” Kevin said, “who first told me, that there were Black Soldiers from our Loudoun County who fought for the Union.  He told me the story of Dennis Weaver, an African-American Civil War veteran, who was buried in the Rock Hill Cemetery in Southwestern Loudoun.”  Weaver, Kevin learned, had been a slave in the Bluemont area and enlisted at – what we now know – as Theodore Roosevelt Island.

These revelations contrasted sharply with what Kevin had been taught about blacks in school.  “In our Loudoun County school text book,” Kevin said, “they pictured blacks as families of slaves, the few pictures they showed, and all I could see was pain and suffering.  I was embarrassed, and it brought upon me a sense of shame.” Continue reading