The Rapp for Jan. 9

A Little Washingtonian news

The January issue of that other Washington’s monthly magazine featured a couple of big-city honors of more than a little local interest:

• The Inn at Little Washington, first of all, was designated once again as First of All — No. 1 in Washingtonian magazine’s annual “100 Very Best Restaurants” feature, cited for its kitschy sense of fun as well as chef Patrick O’Connell’s “degree of precision on the plate, akin to that of a Swiss watch maker.” After 35 years, “the wonder is that . . . the dishes are not just beautiful to look at and well executed but also soulful and immensely rewarding,” Washingtonian said.

• Urban Washington developer Jim Abdo — and lately rural Town of Washington developer Jim Abdo, a longtime Rappahannock weekender whose White Moose Inn is about to open on Main Street, where he’s also recently purchased three other properties — was chosen as one of the magazine’s 12 Washingtonians of the Year for 2013. About his two decades of D.C. projects — first in Dupont and Logan circles, then on H Street NE and now in Brookland — Abdo said: “I’ve never wanted to turn neighborhoods around by displacing people . . . Cities tell stories. Updating historic properties keeps our story intact.”

Bluegrass on Saturday . . .

For this Saturday’s (Jan. 11) 8 p.m. concert at the Theatre in Washington by the Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band, tickets are $20 ($10 ages 17 and younger) — and, as Theatre owner Wendy Weinberg reminded us earlier this week, “complimentary or half-price tickets are available, by advance reservation, for those who cannot readily afford the cost of a full-price ticket.” Either way, contact the Theatre at 540-675-1253 or

. . . and espresso on Thursday

Tula’s off Main is reopening, for the mornings at least, starting today (Thursday, Jan 9), according to owner Ken Thompson — serving coffee, espresso drinks and Darla Morres’ baked goods from 8 to 11 a.m. The new kitchen, part of Tula’s significant renovation by the Thornton River Group, will take longer than originally thought, so the morning hours are part of an “interim plan,” Thompson said.

Members, friends team up at Middle Street

Detail of a work by Jo Levine in Middle Street’s Artists and Friends exhibit.
Detail of a work by Jo Levine in Middle Street’s Artists and Friends exhibit. Courtesy photo

This month and next, the Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville will put on its annual Artists and Friends exhibition, in which members of the artists’ cooperative show their works alongside those of selected guest artists.

Come by to see a broad array of styles and media from some 30 artists, many from Rappahannock County, at a show that runs from this Saturday (Jan. 11) through March 2. (There’s an artists’ reception from 3 to 5 Jan. 25.)

Gallery member Jo Levine shows finely detailed, backlit photos of tropical leaves. Her friend, Colleen Henderson, a well-known Maryland fine-art photographer and photography instructor, will show an atmospheric still life of cherries on a plate and a landscape with a tree set against a dramatic sky.

Kathleen Willingham, a new gallery member, will be joined by her friend, Jan Settle of Castleton, in a showing of soft pastels. Current gallery member Thomas Spande will show a small, nuanced pen and pencil drawing of two camels, framed in an Italian frame; he’s teamed with local artist Pam Pittinger with a large, colorful and energetic painting of playful, biomorphic shapes.

Maryland photographer Colleen Henderson’s works are paired with work by Middle Street’s Jo Levine in the gallery’s Artists and Friends show.
Maryland photographer Colleen Henderson’s works are paired with work by Middle Street’s Jo Levine in the gallery’s Artists and Friends show. Courtesy photo

Meanwhile Wayne Paige returns to the gallery after a leave of absence with his trademark pen and ink drawings of clothespin-like figures. The figures, Paige says, “observe unnamed events and populate imaginary landscapes of mountains, waterways and forest. All takes place under the moonlight with a celestial version of the inhabitants saturating the blackened sky.” Paige is paired with gallery member Ann Currie, with recent pen and ink and mixed media drawings.

New member Ruthie Windsor-Mann is exhibiting two photographs from travels to Paris and Rome. “Each photograph elicits alternative feelings when visiting two of the most well traveled cities in the world,” she says. She is joined by friend Ruth Anna Stolk showing some of her favorite ink and watercolor images. “These vignettes in vivid colors, like panels of a stained glass window, invite the viewer to imagine stories that they evoke,” she says.

The gallery is adjacent to River District Arts at 3 River Lane in Sperryville. January-February hours are 10 to 5 Saturday and Sunday. Call 540-987-9330 or visit for more information.

— Gary Anthes

Felted beret workshop

Dabney Kirchman leads a wet-felting workshop at River District Arts on Jan. 18.
Dabney Kirchman leads a wet-felting workshop at River District Arts on Jan. 18. Courtesy photo

Dabney Kirchman conducts a six-hour felting workshop from 10 to 4 Saturday, Jan. 18, at River District Arts. Students will use a sampling of wet-felting techniques, including layering, color blending texture and image to create a beret, the iconic artist fashion accessory. No experience necessary; the workshop is for ages 11 to 111 — so bring your mother, your husband, your wife, your son, your daughter and your friends. It will be fun, says Kirchman — who can be seen demonstrating the entire wet-felting process in 38 seconds flat, thanks to time-lapse photography, in a YouTube video.

The workshop includes all materials and personal instruction for $65. If you want a box lunch, add $10 or bring your own. Email to reserve.

Lynn Mehta makes an Impression

Lynn Mehta’s “Low Tide on the Chesapeake” is among the Alexandria plein air artists works at Ballard’s in Washington.
Lynn Mehta’s “Low Tide on the Chesapeake” is among the Alexandria plein air artists works at Ballard’s in Washington. Courtesy photo

R.H. Ballard Art, Rug and Home has works by a new artist this month: Lynn Mehta of Alexandria. Originally from the west coast, Mehta moved to Virginia in 2008, where she began participating in plein air competitions; her participation’s grown to about a dozen competitions a year along the east coast, as well as in California and Ireland. Influenced by the early Impressionists, Mehta’s work has been described as very painterly; a recipient of awards and honors, her memberships include the American Impressionist Society, California Art Club, Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association and the Salmagundi Club. Visit to see more of her work, or stop by the open-daily gallery and shop at 307 Main St., Washington.

Old Rag’s winter photography classes

Old Rag Photography, which recently moved to a new home inside River District Arts at 3 River Lane in Sperryville, is continuing its photography classes this month at the new location. All the workshops run from 9 to 4 p.m., with morning lectures and afternoon practice and image evaluation time, and cost $95 ($75 ages 17 and younger).

Point and Shoot Basics, this Saturday (Jan. 12): Find out what all those buttons do on your point-and-shoot camera, and how to use them to improve your pictures. The class covers the basics of how to make a good picture and how to figure out what went wrong. Morning lecture with afternoon practice and image evaluation.

DSLR Basics, Jan. 19: Discover your camera’s controls and how to use them to improve your pictures, as well as what lenses to pick for which type of pictures.

iPhoneography, Jan 26: Learn how to take cool pictures with your smartphone (main emphasis is the iPhone, but any phone can be used, though it might not have all the apps available). Image processing apps will be covered and you will see gallery-quality images made entirely on the iPhone.

To register or for more information: or visit

Mitchell Grant season begins

The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) has announced the opening of its second annual grant season, which will close on March 15.

Grants are available to emerging and established artists of all ages, arts organizations, arts programs within community-based organizations, collaborative projects and especially to projects with a community focus.

Said Mitchell Fund Committee chair Barbara Black: “The committee and board are thrilled to offer another round of grants and eagerly await a new crop of proposals and more great projects. We are thrilled at the diversity and quality of art-making in the county and are pleased to encourage more.”

In 2013, $19,000 was awarded in Mitchell Fund grants that ranged from $150 to $3,500. Recent grants helped fund community music performances, after-school photography workshops, artists’ continuing education, video productions and support for young artists.

For grant guidelines, an application and a list of recent grantees and projects, or to contribute to the fund, visit and click on the Mitchell Arts Fund link.

The Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund is RAAC’s primary channel for offering financial support to the arts in Rappahannock. It was established with a generous bequest from the estate of Claudia Mitchell, RAAC’s president for many years and a dedicated supporter of the arts and community. Grants are funded through ongoing donations, fundraising events, and income generated by RAAC programs including the annual Art Tour.

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