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In an effort to reach out to and positively impact the Rockbridge area community through the arts, the Buena Virginia Arts Council invited individuals from other organizations to attend the Virginia Commission for the Arts “ArtWorks” Conference in Richmond on January 25th. Tina Himes, from Southern Virginia University, Tom Roberts, newly hired city planner for the city of Buena Vista, Jesse Paul, from Natural Bridge and “Chicken Alley”, as well as Mark Breightupt, a stone and metal sculptor that recently relocated his studio to the “Coffee Pot,” accepted the invitation.

The conference, “A New Virginia Renaissance - How Creativity Will Define Our Commonwealth,” offered abundant information on topics from creative place-making, arts in education and art therapy to public art. All the attendees felt that one of the best opportunities of the gathering was to rub shoulders with the many participants who have “been there, done that” in arts organizations across the state.

Some of the attendees were able to stay for “Arts Advocacy Day” at the capitol on January 26th. They were privileged to hang additional art in the hallways surrounding Creigh Deed’s office, meet with state legislators, and be recognized in the gallery of the Senate as supporting the arts in the community. All of this was possible because of a matching grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the city of Buena Vista.

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