Piedmont Arts Association
|Location||215 Starling Avenue, Martinsville, Virginia|
Piedmont Arts Association or 'Piedmont Arts' is a nonprofit art museum and educational outreach center in Martinsville, Virginia. Piedmont Arts is a statewide partner of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Piedmont Arts was founded in 1961 by a group of local artists, including Jessamine Shumate, when the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts encouraged the formation of a statewide network of local chapters. In 1976, E.I. DuPont deNemours Company agreed to lease the group the Lynwood House, a company house named for the first DuPont manager to reside there. The artists subsequently took the name Lynwood Artists and began curating exhibits by regional artists and craftsmen for display in the Lynwood House.
In 1976 the group incorporated under the name Piedmont Arts Association and in 1978 assumed the new status of Affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In 1981 the heirs of Michael and Purnell Schottland donated the Schottland Estate to Piedmont Arts for use as a permanent facility. This donation led to a capital campaign for renovations. During the campaign Piedmont Arts raised more funds than required for renovations and the excess monies were used to establish an endowment for the organization.
In 1995, Piedmont Arts launched its Shared Vision Campaign, which was designed to raise funds to renovate the existing facility and add a new wing featuring gallery space, a classroom and a performance hall. In April 1997 Piedmont Arts held a groundbreaking for the new wing, which opened in April of the following year.
In April 2004, Piedmont Arts was awarded accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums after completing a year-long self study.
In 1991, Piedmont Arts began a performing arts series. Over 20 years later the On Stage! series features five performances per year in a variety of genres. Some artists that have performed as part of the On Stage! series include, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Step Afrika!, Sam Bush, Barrage, Cherish the Ladies and Aquila Theatre.
The Piedmont Arts exhibition schedule includes six major exhibits per year. These exhibits vary in theme and feature national and international artists. Major exhibits are displayed in the Hooker-Garrett, Pannill and Box Mezzanine galleries; three of the six galleries at Piedmont Arts. In addition to national and international artists, local artists are displayed in the Lynwood Artists Gallery, which is named in honor of the group of artists who founded Piedmont Arts and who curate the gallery.
Piedmont Arts brings educational activities into local schools for students to enjoy. Elementary through high school students are exposed to plays, musical performances and artist workshops.
All fourth grade students in Martinsville take part in Minds In Motion, a program created by the Richmond Ballet. Minds In Motion teaches "discipline, dedication and self–awareness through movement."
Classes that visit Piedmont Arts are given guided tours by staff members. Treasure Hunts are also an important part of the tours for younger children. Paw prints with numbers are posted next to artwork in the main galleries, and after the guided tour students are given a list of questions that can be answered in the artwork with the paw print clues.
All art students in Martinsville and Henry County schools have the opportunity to display work in the Foster Gallery, which features rotating exhibits of student work. This gallery is curated by the Charity League of Martinsville and Henry County.
In 2007, Piedmont Arts opened Studio 107 Artist Studios for Piedmont Arts in Uptown Martinsville. The facility provides rental space for artists work and communal retail space for the sale original artwork.