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MSV to host Women in the Arts panel Sunday

By Jenny Baker The Winchester Star Aug 3, 2019 0

Sally Meyer, adult programs manager at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, stands with a Tiffany lamp designed by Clara Driscoll, called Wisteria, which contains 2,000 pieces of glass.  Jenny Baker/The Winchester Star

Sally Meyer, adult programs manager at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, stands with a Tiffany lamp designed by Clara Driscoll, called Wisteria, which contains 2,000 pieces of glass.

Jenny Baker/The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Like many professions, art is a field in which women have had to break through the glass ceiling, not only as artists but also as professionals working in art museums and galleries.

“It’s an uphill battle in terms of recognition. If you look back to the mid-1600s, it wasn’t common practice for women to pursue art as a field, it took a lot of courage to do so. That’s increased over time,” said Celeste Fetta, director of education at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

“In the canon of art history, it’s still hard for women to find a place in the forefront, especially in terms of name recognition. Exhibitions that focus on a woman artist are fewer than those that focus on male artists.”

These themes, among others, will be part of a panel discussion on Women in the Arts to be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Fetta will be joined by local artist Sally Veach, whose exhibition Ghosts of a Forgotten Landscape recently opened at the MSV; Kerry Stavely, local artist and owner of Tin Top Art and Handmade in Old Town Winchester; and Nick Powers, curator of collections at the MSV. The panel will be moderated by Kathryn Wat of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The idea for the panel was inspired by the MSV’s current exhibition Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light. Louis C. Tiffany employed women in his studio at a time when women were typically not employed in the arts or recognized for their role in the field.

“(Tiffany) believed that women had a heightened color sense and had delicate fingers to handle the fragile glass more so than men. A lot of his designers were women,” said Sally Meyer, adult programs manager at the MSV, who organized the panel.

Two of Tiffany’s designers were Clara Driscoll and Agnes Northrop. In 2005, letters Driscoll had written to her family became public, which lead to long-overdue recognition of the role these two women, and the many others, played in Tiffany’s success.

“Knowing these two women were instrumental in his success, with the exhibition with this element of women designers and artists who didn’t necessarily get direct recognition in their time, sparked what we might be able to do,” explained Meyer of the inspiration behind the idea for the panel discussion.

“At the same time we were looking to install an exhibit by Sally Veach, and she’s a local artist who has a solo exhibition at the museum. It seemed like a really good time to look at women in the arts, historically and today, using contemporary art, art from long ago, to get a broad view of things.”

Veach, a trained artist who has a bachelor’s of fine arts from Syracuse University, said she took 25 years off from making her art when she had children. She got back into painting in 2011 and now paints every day in her home-based studio.

“It took many years to get back in touch with that side of me, which was so important to my identity for so long. But when my kids were home, I gave up my own identity and lived through them and our family,” said Veach.

“I’m so glad that I am doing the work now to pursue my interests and fulfill what I always believed was my purpose here on earth, even though nothing is more important than my children.”

Veach said she chose to stay at home to raise her children, since she had that option. But finding time for art was impossible.

“In any event, the option of pursuing the arts did not exist — there was no room in my life for focusing on myself. Looking back, of course, I feel this was a mistake. I took the easy way out since it was available to me,” she said.

Working professionally in the art world — in museums, for example — is also often unequal. “Pay equity is number one,” said Ferra.

Ferra said she would lalso ike to see more women in higher level roles and director roles.

“There have been a lot of strides in the past few years,” she said.

“Right now is a fabulous time for women in the arts. However, it seems some of it is opportunistic,” said Veach.

“It is the topic du jour and I am not sure the current focus on women artists is always coming from the right place. But this is the complexity of societal endeavors. I do feel that attitudes will not slip backwards, and women artists from today to hundreds of years ago are benefiting from this conversation.”

Meyer said that museums around the country are taking notice that a majority of art in museums is created by men, and are now seeking to add more art by women to their collections.

“In our collection at the MSV we are looking to increase the amount of objects made by women, whether they are contemporary artists or more historic objects,” she said.

In addition to these topics, the panel will also discuss women working in decorative arts in the 19th century, in particular Driscoll’s and Northrop’s contributions to the Tiffany studios.

The Women in the Arts panel discussion takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday in the MSV’s reception hall. Cost is $15 per person, free for members. Pre-register by today; walk-ins welcome as space permits. Register online or call 540-662-1473, ext. 240.

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Sally Veach, of Woodstock, talks about her painting titled “The Tangle,” which illustrates the experience of walking through forest foliage. Inspired by local landscapes, she said her work focuses on color and gestural marks.  Josette Keelor/Daily

Sally Veach, of Woodstock, talks about her painting titled “The Tangle,” which illustrates the experience of walking through forest foliage. Inspired by local landscapes, she said her work focuses on color and gestural marks.

Josette Keelor/Daily

ArtFest paints a fun scene in downtown Woodstock

  • By Josette Keelor The Northern Virginia Daily

  • Jun 24, 2019


WOODSTOCK — Two years in the making, the Shenandoah Valley ArtFest came to town on Saturday afternoon, filling the streets of the county seat with music and art.

The inaugural festival included 38 artists from around the Shenandoah Valley, said co-sponsor Katie Mercer, enhancement coordinator for the Town of Woodstock.

Even before the official 2 p.m. start time, dozens of visitors were already perusing the artists’ tents spread across the front lawn of the Shenandoah County Historic Courthouse to the tunes of oldies music performed by Bill Vaughan, of Woodstock.

Harrisonburg band Stone Rollin’ and Charlottesville band Love Canon also signed up to perform.

The festival was part of a day of unrelated events taking place in and around Woodstock, including Bike Virginia, which attracted cyclists from around Virginia to tour the region this weekend, as well as the Vintage Woodstock festival, which took place downtown on Saturday evening. Having ArtFest sandwiched between the Bike Virginia events and Vintage Woodstock presented an ideal setting for the first-time event, said co-organizer Jane Beasley, a board member of the Virginia Educational Center for the Creative Arts (VECCA) of Woodstock.

“This just makes it that much more of a festival,” she said.First Bank, the Town of Woodstock, and the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce also collaborated on the event. “It’s a really good partnership,” said Town Manager Angela Clem. Mercer said she hopes this will become an annual festival. “For a first-year event, [it’s] not bad,” she said.

Participating artists were approved by a jury of three area artists: Holly Huddle, of Woodstock; Kay Witt, of Strasburg, and Trudy Van Dyke, who lives in Washington, D.C. Artists came from all around the Valley and beyond, and included various painters, sculptors and crafters of recycled items.

Surrealist painter Sally Veach, of Woodstock, said she’s inspired by local scenes in her artwork, which portrays “contemporary or abstract landscapes.” She has an upcoming show called “Ghosts of a Forgotten Landscape” at The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester starting with a wine and cheese reception from 6 to 8 p.m. July 13. Guests should RSVP to the museum at 901 Amherst St. by July 10.


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Artist Sally Veach paints her latest barn painting titled "The Burning 2" inside her home studio in Woodstock. Veach uses her abstract expressionism style in this oil and acrylic medium. She is showing her art work at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville. Rich Cooley/Daily

Artist Sally Veach paints her latest barn painting titled "The Burning 2" inside her home studio in Woodstock. Veach uses her abstract expressionism style in this oil and acrylic medium. She is showing her art work at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville. Rich Cooley/Daily

‘Barns of Shenandoah County’: Artist aims to save local history with her paintings of historic barns

WOODSTOCK – After a 25-year hiatus from art, artist Sally Veach is focusing on a project dear to her heart – the “Barns of Shenandoah.

“It’s very interesting how this collection began,” Veach, said. “I was never one who wanted to paint cute, pastoral scenes because I like to be somewhat edgy with my work.”

The avid painter defines herself as an abstract, expressionist who explores color on canvas and draws inspiration from her surroundings. She defines herself as a “freak about nature” and has thousands of photos of skies and clouds on her cell phone.

Veach, 55, has dabbled in all mediums but prefers oils, which she said gives her paintings the desired texture and raw emotion she wants patrons to experience when viewing them.

The walls of her Woodstock home and studio feature many of her own pieces, and it’s clear her muse is Shenandoah County and the valley.


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Local town creates public art out of traffic signal boxes

By Monica Casey | Posted: Mon 12:47 PM, Oct 23, 2017 | Updated: Mon 3:03 PM, Oct 23, 2017

SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Town of Woodstock is the first in Virginia to try out a new public art project. Local artists submitted designs to cover the traffic signal control boxes along Route 11 from West Reservoir Road to West North Street.

Katie Mercer attended a public art meeting three years ago, and got the idea from Alexandria's program.

But while Alexandria handles their own traffic signal boxes, Woodstock had to get permission from VDOT to cover the boxes;now, there are five locations with colorful public art.

"These are our traffic signal control box wraps," said Katie Mercer. "The theme is words that move you."

Katie Mercer is the Director of Marketing and Events for the town.

She says the traffic light boxes can "make you feel good, happy, I guess maybe even sad, just thought-provoking."

It's a way for local artists to display their work.

"We kind of want to wrap them into it as well," said Mercer.

Sally Veach has lived in Woodstock for about thirty years, and fellow artist Laurel Vaughan has been a resident for twelve.

"I love the fact that Woodstock supports local artists," said Vaughan.

Veach was thrilled when she was selected to participate. Her art is at the intersection of West North Street and North Main Street.

"What a great way to get more involved in my community!" said Veach.