Taubman Going Out of Town for Fundraiser; New Exhibit Debuts

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Walter Biggs (American, 1886-1968), “Illustration for Girl Into Woman,” 1932, Collection of the Taubman Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. William Figgat [Anne Funkhouser Francis], 1972.001
Walter Biggs (American, 1886-1968), “Illustration for Girl Into Woman,” 1932, Collection of the Taubman Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. William Figgat [Anne Funkhouser Francis], 1972.001
Walter Biggs (American, 1886-1968), “Illustration for Girl Into Woman,” 1932, Collection of the Taubman Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. William Figgat [Anne Funkhouser Francis], 1972.001

A unique exhibition has opened at the Taubman Museum of Art in the new special exhibitions gallery that debuted with the very successful Norman Rockwell “American Chronicles” show in March.

This time local and regional artists will be feted posthumously with “Legacies: Honoring Artistic Luminaries from Southwestern Virginia.” It celebrates artists, many well known to patrons of the arts, who helped shape the local landscape.

Legacies runs through next January 28. The exhibit features works from the 1800’s to the recent past, from painting, to sculpture, from glass art to jewelry.

“The exhibition aims to draw attention to and raise awareness on a topic underrepresented in the region – honoring artistic legacies who have influenced artists working today and paved the way for them in their own artistic endeavors,” says Taubman Museum deputy director of exhibitions and collections Amy Moorefield.

Curated by Moorefield, Legacy includes such artists as Dorothy Gillespie, Harriett Stokes, Will Creasy, Walter Biggs and others. Some of the works were borrowed from private collections for the exhibition; others are on loan from museum collections.

Stokes, for example, founded the longtime Salem show Art in the Alley; Biggs was a contemporary of Norman Rockwell and made his living in the 20’s and 30’s as a book and magazine illustrator. Gillespie was known for large-scale installation pieces and had exhibitions worldwide.

New event out of town: a novel event being held on October 1 to raise funds for Taubman programs is also a “friend-raiser,” says Holly DiGangi, the deputy director of development at the museum.

It’s also not in Roanoke.

“We’re going out to the Lexington area to try and build our network and gain exposure for the museum – get to know some new folks.”  Blues, Brews and Barbecue debuts from 5 to 9 pm at Grace Hill Farm, a private estate and farm in Rockbridge Baths about 10 miles from Lexington. DiGangi calls it a “historical property,” where guests will mingle in a renovated party barn.

Tickets are $65 in advance ($75 the day of) and if you don’t want to drive to Rockbridge County and back you can take a shuttle bus from the Taubman for another twenty dollars.

There’s craft beer from Deschutes Brewery and local wine from Jump Mountain Vineyard, along with live blues music, a tour of the property and a silent auction. The winery is actually right next door to farm owner Harry Shannon’s property; they will offer tastings for patrons on October 1. Slow-smoked pork and chicken barbecue will be accompanied by side dishes by the Taubman’s own in-house Blue Ridge Catering. “We’re also looking to build our partnership with them,” says DiGangi.

If Blues, Brews and Barbecue is successful DiGangi envisions other special events outside of Roanoke: “[after] Lexington, Charlottesville isn’t much further than that, as well as Lynchburg.  We have a radius of people we would like to get engaged with. Right now we would like to see what the response would be.”

Funds that are raised during Blues, Brews and Barbecue will go towards education programs and special exhibitions at the Taubman.

See taubmanmuseum.org for more details and tickets.

Gene Marrano