Yes, it’s this Friday. Next Friday is one of those rare fifth Fridays that show up periodically to confuse us.
So bring your business – or business-related topics – to our Fourth (Estate) Friday open story conference at 9 a.m. tomorrow (March 22) at Tula’s Off Main in Washington, where the coffee’s on us and this month’s discussion is about business in Rappahannock: How it’s doing, what it’s doing, and perhaps what it ought or ought not do. (We wish we had a Family Dollar for every time someone’s expressed an opinion about that issue over the last few weeks.)
Then, bring your business – the browsing, shopping kind – to Sperryville for the village’s monthly Fourth Friday open-late specials, including Easter items at Coterie (540-987-8615; open till 6) ranging from moss planters and tabletop Easter scenes to naturally dyed eggs. Down amid the artists, antiques and distilled spirits of the River District, Old Rag Photography will offer slideshows by photographer Joyce Harman on her recent travels to Brazil at 5:30 and 6:30. Other afternoon-evening specials can be found throughout Sperryville.
Come mix and mingle with the mutts, and like-minded humans, at the latest Mutt, Mix & Mingle fundraiser for Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) – this one from 5 to 8 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 22) at Gadino Cellars (gadinocellars.com) on Schoolhouse Road.
Dontez Harris is bringing his mix of classic American jazz standards, Flint Hill Public House is bringing pizzas and Gadino wines are offered at $5 a glass (with $1 of every glass sold and 10 percent of bottles sold donated to RAWL). Well-behaved dogs on leashes get in free; tw; two-legged guests need to make a $20 donation at the door, all of it going to RAWL (rawldogs.org). For more details, email email@example.com or call Stephanie at Gadino Cellars (540-987-9292).
William Dunlap, a distinguished Southern artist, writer, arts advocate and commentator, will exhibit his landmark landscape paintings during April at the Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville. His works are inspired by views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and farms of Virginia, and the streams and rivers of Rappahannock County. “I owe the state of Virginia a great deal,” the Mississippi-born artist says.
Dunlap calls his works “hypothetical realism – the landscapes are not real, but they could be.” Some of his paintings hint at the simplicity of a Grandma Moses or a Grant Wood, others recall the melancholy of Andrew Wyeth, and still others incorporate found objects such as rocks, plants or bits of old furniture. Many of them turn the clock back to specific events such as 9/11 or the Civil War, while others present rural views that might have been etched 150 years ago. “I grew up in the 19th century,” Dunlap says. “Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, hadn’t changed a lot.”
Defining his art in traditional artistic terms is difficult perhaps because it is not from other painters that he draws inspiration. “I’m more influenced by writers – the great oral tradition of the American South,” he says. “There’s an implied narrative in everything I do, so there is nothing that is not a little allegorical.” He rattles off a long list of southern writers he admires, including William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy and John Grisham.
Dunlap is a great admirer of dogs, especially the intelligent and stout-hearted walker coonhounds of his youth. “I like using them because, at our best, we are like our dogs. And at their worst they are like us.” The dogs in his paintings are “stand-ins for human beings,” he says. One painting in the April show, “Rocks and Water,” shows two dogs on the bank of a river. They are allegorical trout fishermen, he explains.
Dunlap’s resume of four decades in the arts runs to 18 pages. His “Panorama of the American Landscape,” a 112-foot cyclorama painting depicting a contemporary view of the Shenandoah Valley in summer and the Antietam battlefield in winter, was commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Since its debut in 1985, the painting has been shown in a dozen American museums and art centers. Other major exhibitions of his work, including “Reconstructed Recollections,” “In the Spirit of the Land” and “What Dogs Dream,” continue to tour nationally.
Dunlap’s works are priced between $1,000 and $25,000. The exhibition runs April 5-28 (with a reception for the artist and the public from 2 to 5 on Saturday, April 6). He will offer for sale and sign copies of his book of reproductions, “Dunlap,” at the reception.
The gallery, at Rappahannock Central, 3 River Lane in Sperryville, is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. For more information, visit middlestreetgallery.org or call 540-987-9330.
– Gary Anthes
The connections between art and freedom are explored this Saturday (March 23) at a Chateuville Foundation “Castleton in Performance” series concert that brings together musicians from the Juilliard School, North Korea, Iran and the Castleton Festival Chamber Players.
The 7 p.m. program at Castleton’s Theatre House is anchored by Juilliard composer Wayne Oquin’s song cycle, “A Time to Break Silence: Songs Inspired by the Words and Writings of Martin Luther King Jr.,” performed by Juilliard bass-baritone Davone Tines. Tines worked closely with Castleton’s Orson Maazel to put together the special evening – tickets for which are just $15 – to raise awareness of human-rights injustices both past and present.
Interspersed with Oquin’s song cycle are performances by North Korean defector pianist Cheol Woong Kim (introduced by North Korean defector singer Songhwa Han), Persian singer Mamak Khadem and Castleton Chamber Players violinist Eric Silberger and cellist Daniel Lelchuk (who present a rarely heard duo by persecuted Jewish-Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff).
Alexandra Hellmuth from the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign and Sahrawi human rights activist Saleh Elbachra will speak and introduce films about art in the Congo and in Western Sahara. The films feature Congolese filmmaker Petna Ndaliko and Sahrawi singer Aziza Brahim. Author and human rights activist Austin Dacey will emcee the evening, each piece of which is representative of art that is, or was at one time, oppressed.
For tickets or information, call 866-974-0767 or visit chateauville.org.
Save the date – April 6 – for your debut as a rock star, backed by your own live band. Hearthstone School is offering a Live Band Karaoke evening from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 6 at the school on U.S. 211 west of Sperryville. Pick a song, jump on stage and sing with the awesome and entirely homegrown Stink Bugs Band, or just do some supportive listening, all the while supporting Hearthstone. Food, cash bar, $10 cover. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-987-9212.
A new “Village Post Office” opened March 5 at the Sperryville Emporium – a VPO being what the U.S. Postal Service calls a retail outlet outside of its regular postal facilities. Aside from the slight confusion – the Main Street post office in the actual village of Sperryville remains open six hours a day Monday through Friday – the Emporium’s newest addition also coincides with the official transfer of ownership of the Emporium (on April 1) to new owner Darren McKinney.
The Village Post Office – open 10 to 5 daily, like the Emporium itself, hours to be extended as the days grow longer – is a place to purchase first-class stamps and flat-rate supplies, and mail flat-rate domestic Priority Mail packages outside of ever-shrinking post-office hours.
The VPO is just one of an increasing number of tenants at the reborn Emporium, tenants who currently include Antique Tables Made Daily, the Blue Ridge Mountain Discoveries consignment shop and the traditional Emporium store itself, with its fare of souvenirs and gifts, jams, jellies, honey and ciders. The store is still looked after, at least part-time, by longtime Emporium owner Martha O’Bannon-Hitt, who will soon be joined by Beverly Samuels, formerly of F.T. Valley Grocery.
McKinney also has contracted with Boar’s Head to open a deli at the Emporium offering sandwiches, platters or meats and cheeses by the pound, hand-dipped ice cream and a small coffee station.