The Art Guild of Greene is making a comeback after a year of canceled and postponed events due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Guild members met for the group’s annual summer picnic last week to hear updates on planning and programming for the coming season while enjoying homemade snacks and baked goods and listening to the sweet sounds of An Lár, a traditional Irish band based in Charlottesville.
“Last year was a total zilch, but we started up again in January,” Art Guild President Cory Ryan said to the group. “We gave a $2,000 art scholarship to a student from the high school who was going to go into an art major in college, and we give money to all the art teachers in the county—each semester they get $100 from us … to help them with projects or supply them with materials.”
In addition to scholarships, the guild is helping to fund an Eagle Scout project to rebuild the garden area behind the county visitor’s center.
“So far this year we’ve had two kids’ craft and storytelling time classes and we’ve had two barn quilt workshops,” Ryan said. “We have a great venue at the Qute Scraps shop there on U.S. Route 33; they have a wonderful space in the back for classes.”
The guild maintains a booth at the weekly farmers market at Greene Commons in downtown Stanardsville where members can exhibit and sell their artwork, which will be expanding next year. Upcoming events include an artisan showcase at the Taylor Barn behind the visitor’s center, to be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25. Fourteen local artists are expected to participate and work presented will include jewelry, gourds, sculptures, photography and paintings.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, the annual Plein Air event “Paint the Town Greene” will see artists gathering to paint outdoor views of historic Stanardsville and the surrounding areas. A reception and awards ceremony will follow. For more information or to register, visit artguildofgreene.org/paint-the-town-greene.
Beginning in 2022, the guild will host quarterly art receptions at Stanardsville Station on Main Street, with speakers and food and fellowship. If interested in presenting or volunteering to help with food, contact (434) 260-6708 or email@example.com.
Guild Treasurer Vyvyan Rundgren, who is credited with forming the Blue Ridge Barn Quilt Trail in Greene County, gave a brief update on the project.
“The trail in Greene County is today—as it has been for almost a year—the largest in Virginia,” Rundgren said. “We have 148 barn quilts on display.”
Barn quilts are the wooden plywood boards displayed on barns, sheds, fences and yards throughout the county, painted with a quilt design and coated in weatherproof sealant to protect against the elements. Maps of the quilt trail are available at the county visitors center or by visiting www.exploregreene.com/explore/barn-quilt-trail.
“The workshops stopped when COVID came along,” Rundgren said, explaining that family health issues have kept her closer to home in recent months. Despite the setbacks, she has hosted three small barn quilt workshops in her own barn since January, capping each session at eight to 10 participants. If you’re interested in making your own barn quilt, contact Rundgren at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
With 102 families on the guild’s membership roster, 49 are currently working as artisans. Income from the barn quilt workshops helps to fund the annual scholarships as well as other events hosted by the guild.
“We have a member that helped in the development of the art guild—Lillian Baird,” Rundgren said. “Lillian passed away several weeks ago and her family has asked that any contribution or donation be given to the art guild, which I thought was very generous. … The pinwheels on the tables this year are in memory of Lillian because she wanted a pinwheel in the logo of the art guild. She said the reason she wanted it was because there were so many different colors and that means there are so many different talents that could be connected with our group.”
Ryan added that the annual art scholarship given by the guild to a graduating senior has been named in honor of Lillian Baird, who passed away in July at the age of 94.
The Charlottesville-based band An Lár, which means “downtown” in Gaelic, entertained guild members and visitors during the picnic event. With Mike Hannon on guitar, Alex Davis on fiddle and concertina, Sherry Olander on flute, Holly Horan on button accordion and Wes Craig on penny whistle, bodhran (frame drum) and uilleann pipes, the group presents traditional Irish tunes at local venues throughout the year. You can find them on Facebook @AnLarBand.
For more on the upcoming artisan showcase, visit artguildofgreene.org/artisan-showcase or stay tuned for an upcoming article. A virtual art gallery of pieces done by guild members is also available on the guild’s website.