Washington column for Feb. 14

Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund

The Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund was established in 2009 by The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) from a generous bequest from Claudia Mitchell’s estate. Claudia was a dedicated supporter of RAAC and served as its president for many years.

The fund encourages the development of artistic talent in the Rappahannock community by providing grants of financial assistance to artists of all ages, in all media, especially emerging ones. The fund also extends financial support to organizations devoted to the arts in our community and seeks opportunities for collaboration. By nurturing recipients’ growth as artists, these grants are designed to enhance the arts environment of Rappahannock County for all of its residents and visitors.

RAAC president Joanne Hilty accepts a funding challenge check from Ray Gooch. RAAC hosted an elegant reception for the Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund Feb. 9, which raised $9,300 to help support local artists. Photo by Dave Hilty.
RAAC president Joanne Hilty accepts a funding challenge check from Ray Gooch. RAAC hosted an elegant reception for the Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund Feb. 9, which raised $9,300 to help support local artists. Photo by Dave Hilty.

Grants may be awarded to individuals or organizations who demonstrate a need for funds to develop and explore artistic talent. The fund’s areas of interest include the visual arts, music, literature, theater, dance, media/film, as well as projects combining more than one type of media.

The fund is managed by a RAAC committee chaired by two individuals, at least one being a RAAC board member. The committee evaluates applications or requests as submitted, reviews proposals and makes recommendations to the board for approval.

Ongoing support is through contributions and fund-raising events by the community as well as income generated by RAAC programs.

Last fall, Claudia’s brother, Steven Crawford, who lives in Bend, Ore., and Ray Gooch, as executors of Claudia’s estate, made a challenge to RAAC that if the organization could raise $2,500 for the fund by Dec. 30 (Claudia’s birthday), they would match it with an additional $2,500. RAAC members and supporters contributed the money within 10 days and went on to raise a total of $5,800.

At a reception last Saturday (Feb. 9), Steven and Ray gave RAAC a check for another $2,500 – and then added $1,000. The successful challenge campaign brought $9,300 into the fund to provide grants to local artists.

Speedy recoveries

Washington Mayor John Fox Sullivan and vice-mayor Gary Schwartz [see the photo on the front page], both now on crutches, swapped “war stories” Monday night as they arrived at the monthly town council meeting. Sullivan’s ankle injuries are the result of a car going out of control during rush hour in Big Washington and running onto the sidewalk, where he was standing, near the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. The car crashed into a metal signpost, which fell onto a metal newspaper box, which ripped into Sullivan’s ankle – requiring 21 stitches at George Washington University Hospital emergency room.

Schwartz, who told the mayor, “I feel your pain,” has a severe knee injury after slipping on black ice one morning last month while trying to put air in his tires at a gas station in Front Royal on his way to work. He ruptured 95 percent of his quadriceps tendon and required major surgery. Both Schwartz and Sullivan will be undergoing extensive physical therapy, but are expected to recover fully.

Good luck to you both and I wish you both a speedy recovery.

Pinewood Derby

Trinity’s Cub Scout Pack 123 held its annual Pinewood Derby Jan. 26. In only one month, 27 creative scouts transformed simple blocks of pine wood and plastic wheels into race cars of various and colorful designs; there was even a shark. The five ounce cars raced down a 27-feet long rack at a NASCAR scaled equivalent speed of up to 195 miles per hour to cheers and applause from the crowd. The competition was very tight, with some races decided by five or six ten-thousandths of a second. Race officials rely on a high-tech electronic finish line and software package to determine race results with such precision.

Three racers from each den advanced to race in the Shenrapawa District Pinewood Derby race in Front Royal on March 2. Cub Scout Pack 123 has been chartered by Trinity Episcopal Church since 1975.

Remember the sick

Let’s remember Harry Smoot in our prayers each day. He is a resident at Oak Springs Nursing Home in Warrenton in for rehabilitation from a recent fall. If anyone would like to send him a card, his address is 614 Hastings Lane, Room 109, Warrenton, VA 20186.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is today (Feb. 14), a holiday traditionally set aside to celebrate our fondest affections for loved ones. Valentine’s isn’t just the day of “love.” It’s also the day for couples to recapture their relationship, for the time that they’ve been together.

There are many theories and myths surrounding the origin of the modern-day celebrations. And while many adore Valentine’s Day, others dread it. Whatever your inclinations are, I hope everyone has a nice day and that the ladies receive their red roses – the traditional Valentine’s flower.

Remember: Love doesn’t make the world go round – it is what makes the ride worthwhile for everyone.

We all like to be loved, and after all, Valentine’s Day is all about love; sometimes it is great for this to be shown in a symbolic way. It’s the time of the year for a little romance in the air, and who can quarrel with that? Certainly not me!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes go out to Rev. Phil Bailey, who celebrated his special day yesterday (Feb. 13) and to Bryant Lee, who is celebrating his special day on Sunday (Feb. 17).

Anniversary wishes

Anniversary wishes go out to my brother and sister-in-law, Wayne and Ruth Burke, and Danny and Hope Huff. They are celebrating their special day today (Feb. 14).

Anniversary wishes also go out to Roger and Charmaine Piantadosi. They celebrated their special day on Tuesday (Feb. 12).


Sympathy goes out to the family of Cary Gordon Thornhill, 81, of Thorn Ridge Farm, in Boston, Va. Mr. Thornhill passed away on Sunday, Feb. 10. He had a long history in Rappahannock County as the manager of the Rappahannock Farmers Co-op, with 40 years of service. A memorial service is 11 a.m. this Saturday (Feb. 16) at New Salem Baptist Church on U.S. 522 in Culpeper.

Sympathy also goes out to Barbara Shanks of Washington, on the loss of her brother, William Mckinley Dennis, Jr., of Castleton, known to many “Mac.” William passed away on Jan. 8. He drove the bus for Child Care and Learning Center for some years.