The Rapp for Jan. 12

Celebrate King’s birthday

Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010, will be at the Little Washington Theatre Sunday to help celebrate Dr. King’s birthday.

You — and a former Miss America from Virginia — are invited to the 26th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday observance in Rappahannock County this Sunday (Jan. 15). The event, which starts at 4 p.m. at the Little Washington Theatre on Gay Street, features a talk by Caressa Cameron, the Fredericksburg native who won Miss Virginia in 2009 and went on to claim the Miss America crown in 2010. Organizers say Cameron will be around for a spell afterwards to sign autographs.

Sponsored by the Julia E. Boddie Scholarship Committee, the free event raises funds — through voluntary donations — that stay in the community by supporting Rappahannock County graduating seniors to further their education. Donations and pledges will be taken during the event. In addition to Cameron, there’s special music by the Show and Treble Choirs of Culpeper County High School, recognition of local officials and more.

“This is just a really good event every year,” said Washington Mayor John Sullivan during this week’s town council meeting. “It is well worth attending.”

For more information, contact MLK program director Nan Butler Roberts at 540-661-2013 or nb_roberts@msn.com.

RAAC Theatre has new artistic director

RAAC’s Community Theatre’s new artistic director Patty Hardee.

RAAC’s Community Theatre Committee last week named Patty Hardee as the theater’s new artistic director. Former artistic director Peter Hornbostel stepped down in December after serving in that capacity since the theater’s inception. “Those are big shoes to fill,” says Patty. “Peter has taken the theater in many new directions and has greatly expanded our offerings and audience.”

A member of the Ki Theatre board when the organization was run by Julie Portman, Patty — who also serves as a part-time reporter for this newspaper — has served on the committee since the theater aligned with the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC) in 2008. Patty has acted in several RAAC productions, including “The Shepherd’s Play,” “The Kings Play,” “The Dining Room,” “Proof,” “Uncle Vanya” and “You Can’t Take It With You.”

She’s appeared in large cast holiday productions, taking small roles she could make her own. In “Peter Pan,” she played Nana the dog, nursemaid for the Darling children. In last year’s production of “Annie,” Patty played Sandy, Annie’s stray dog. “I like those animal roles,” says Patty. “They have no lines, fewer rehearsals, and I can be a ham.”

She has also directed many RAAC productions, including “The Good Doctor”; “Love, Loss, and What I Wore”; “The Odd Couple” and the most recent holiday show, “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Patty began her theater career in the early 1980s performing stand-up comedy at open mikes in clubs around D.C. and Baltimore. She studied improv with area teachers Sylvia Toone and Gary Jacobs and with ComedySportz and Arena Stage. She performed improv and sketch comedy with ComedySportz, Video Buddies and Gross National product.

For many years she studied acting with well-known L.A. and New York actor/teacher Eric Morris and taught his method in D.C. She performed with the Source Theatre in mainstage productions and Source summer festival 10-minute plays.

Patty wrote and performed her own one-woman show called “The New Age Woman Is Flying Scared” and was a long-time company member of Murder Upon Request, a comedy improv murder mystery group that performed throughout the D.C. area.

Theatre Committee Chair Sallie Morgan expressed RAAC’s appreciation for both Hornbostel’s and Hardee’s leadership. “The entire community has been blessed by the energy and vision Peter Hornbostel has brought to the RAAC Theatre over the past decade, and we are now most fortunate to have an experienced, enthusiastic thespian and director like Patty Hardee to take up the mantle. Look for many more great RAAC theater productions to come.”

‘Members and Friends’ at the new Middle Street

In its first major show of the year — and its first in a new gallery space — the Middle Street Gallery is putting on its annual “Members and Friends” exhibition, in which members of the artists’ cooperative show their works alongside those of selected guest artists.

The show runs through Feb. 12., and there’s an opening reception 3 to 5 p.m. this Saturday (Jan. 14)  where you can see recent works by more than 30  artists from Rappahannock County and nearby areas as well as celebrate the official opening for the gallery’s new home — above the Before & After espresso bar and wine cafe at 31 Main St. in Sperryville.

Expect a rich variety of colors, textures, sizes, shapes, subjects and media at this show. Rosabel Goodman-Everard will show a painting of her highly-stylized tree, which is “exploding in colors and patterns [and which] has no other purpose than to make people feel happy and joyous.” Her artist friend, Darien Reece, offers a mysterious and slightly sinister painting of a ghost-like person pinned beneath the roots of a tree while a huge black bird looks on. Reece’s ideas come from “dreams and stories from my unconscious,” she says.

Photographer Jo Levine presents an image of a foggy, wintry landscape at early morning at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. And in a first for the gallery, Levine teams with her mother, Sue Vorel, who will show an intricate ceramic flower, adorned with faux pearls, that she created after taking up ceramics in her early 90s.

Meanwhile photographer Susan Raines pairs her image of a 15-foot electric blue rooster at the National Gallery of Art with friend Stephanie Mendlow’s oil painting, “Autumn in the Smokies.” Photographer Gary Anthes and friend Matthew Black both offer images of local sycamores, Anthes of an entire tree in a snowstorm, Black of a single leaf against a stark black background.

Painters Kathleen Willingham and Barbara Bond each offer colorful views of plant offspring, Bond of onions and Willingham of abstract structures “that could be interpreted as seeds, or the beginnings of plant growth or a release into the air or a symbolism for the start of thoughts and ideas.”

Sculptor Robert Bouquet will show an abstract, beautifully translucent carving in Italian alabaster called “Sun Bird.” He is joined by Rappahannock artist and gallery owner Kevin Adams with a brooding oil, “Grey Day,” of a barn overlooking the sea. Another sculptor, Lynda Smith-Bugge, friend of Jane Forth, offers “Beckoning,” a walnut and dogwood structure suggesting “a cathedral arch with steps leading up into a place of mystery and reverence.”

The gallery is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. Call 540-987-9330 or visit  middlestreetgallery.org for more information.

UVA credit union expands scholarships

UVA Community Credit Union recently announced expansion of their college scholarship program to include seven public high schools in the credit union’s expanded membership area of Culpeper, Fauquier, and Rappahannock counties.

Seniors graduating in 2017 from Culpeper, Eastern View, Fauquier, Kettle Run, Liberty, Rappahannock and Southeastern Alternative High Schools are eligible to apply for a scholarship. In May, the credit union will award a $1,500 scholarship to one college-bound senior at each of the 18 participating high schools in the credit union’s membership area for a total of $27,000 in scholarships.

In February 2016, Northern Piedmont Federal Credit Union merged with UVA Community Credit Union. As part of the transition process, UVA Community Credit Union has expanded its financial education program to include the Northern Piedmont region communities. The college scholarship program is an integral part of the credit union’s education program, which also includes financial education classes and online education portals that reach thousands of students and adults each year. Since the scholarship program’s inception in 2006, the credit union has awarded $165,000 in scholarships to college-bound seniors within the credit union’s membership area.

The application deadline for the credit union scholarship is April 2. Students can apply online or download and print an application to mail through the credit union’s website, uvacreditunion.org. As part of the application process, applicants are asked to write an essay response to the following: “What are some common missteps people make when managing their money? Learning from these lessons, explain how you will avoid these mistakes?”

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