The Rapp for June 18

Alice in Avon-land this Saturday

The plans for the Child Care and Learning Center’s “Alice in Wonderland” summer garden party fundraiser at Avon Hall (5 to 8 p.m. this Saturday at the town-owned estate) seem to keep growing, mushroom-like — now including tours of the historic house (with featured, decorated rooms), “Alice” characters joining the crowd, good food and an excellent assortment of games (croquet, bocce and badminton, plus extreme golf and corn hole games). There’s a silent auction, a surprise “Rabbit Hole,” two raffles and a live auction that features a study of poppies by Robin Purnell and original “Alice in Wonderland” art by Maggie Rogers. Tickets are available at the door for $50, all of which goes to support the work that CCLC has been doing for more than 39 years. Call 540-675-3237 for more information.

Little Washington: the DIY reality show?

Have a passion for renovation? Do you love to remodel historic or old homes, furniture or fixtures in your area? Are you enthusiastic about your neighborhoods real estate market? Do you look good in sawdust? A New York production company is apparently considering the town of Washington — among other fetching small towns and villages around the country — as a possible site for a reality-TV series featuring “passionate real estate fanatics based in charming and unique locations.”

“We’re looking for energetic, vibrant duos or couples who build, renovate homes or design (or home furnishings),”  said Linda Latortue, who works in casting for Left/Right TV, the company that’s produced the popular “Caribbean Life” and “Hawaii Life” series for HGTV, among other shows. “We’re looking for hands-on folks — people who are involved in the whole process and love to get their hands dirty. We’re not looking for the “money-guys,” but people who are truly passionate about home design and renovation.

“We want to celebrate charming, unique neighborhoods; places that have their own quirks and characteristics,” she said. “Potential candidates can be seasoned builders, skilled DIY-ers or just starting out in the industry, but all must be vivacious, relatable, and comfortable on-camera.”

If you fit the bill, send an email to for a list of the 20 (or more) questions that you’ll need to answer before having a shot at getting a call back.

A symphony of Art at Middle Street

Middle Street artist Jo Levine's "Blue Note."
Middle Street artist Jo Levine’s “Blue Note.”

“If you look deep enough you will see music, the heart of nature being everywhere music,” said the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle.

Indeed, you won’t have to look very deep at Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville, from tomorrow (June 19) through July 26, to see music. The members of the nonprofit artists’ cooperative will mount their annual summer theme show with sculptures, paintings, drawings, and photographs all expressing musical ideas. (The exhibit’s opening reception is 3 to 5 p.m. this Saturday.)

In addition, the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC) and Castleton Festival will present at the gallery the winners of their invitational competition celebrating music through the visual arts. Works by winners Patricia Underwood, Jo Levine, Barbara Heile, Margot Neuhaus and Darien Reece will be displayed, as will works by winning student artists Claudia Barnes, Sara Garcia, Renee Jenkins, Alyssa Rogers and Alisha Stanley.

Levine is a gallery member who won acclaim from the panel of judges in the RAAC/Castleton Festival competition. Her photograph, “Blue Notes,” is named after a kind of musical note popular in jazz, and it’s also the name of a jazz recording company. Says Levine: “The photo has a jumpy rhythm that makes me think of jazz; maybe it’s also because the oblique lines resemble a musical staff, and the long shadows remind me of trombones.” She will also show four images inspired by Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” concertos.

Some of the art on display was shaped by music as it was created. For example, Middle Street member Kathleen Willingham says her painting, “Line Dancing with G.F. Handel,” was created while listening to one of the composer’s works, “with my hand interpreting the sounds of the music.” And Wayne Paige says the image of a guitar in his work “appeared almost Rorschach-like” as he was painting it.

The photographs of member Susan Raines are of street musicians in New Orleans and of a building in Treme, a New Orleans neighborhood known for its musicians. “The building is the ‘Ernie K-Doe’s Mother-in-Law Lounge’ named for the famous song, ‘’Mother-in-Law,’ ” she says. Meanwhile Nancy Brittle’s oil paintings were done from a series of quick sketches she made at various schools and county student art and music venues in her last years as an art teacher.

The works of Phyllis Northup in particular evoke Carlyle’s music-in-nature idea. “There is a symphony of sounds — creeks flowing over rocks, waves lapping in rhythm against the shore of a lake, wind in the trees, birds singing, or perhaps the echo of thunder rolling around the mountains,” she says.

Member Carl Zitzmann joins Levine in offering a blue photograph — “an abstract composition in blue light, dancing energetically in cool and sensual bliss.”

“Music is well said to be the speech of angels . . . . It brings us near to the infinite,” Carlyle said. The public is invited to see the music, meet the artists and maybe an angel or two at Saturday’s reception at the gallery, next to River District Arts at 3 River Lane in Sperryville. The gallery is open 11 to 5 Friday-Sunday. Call 540-987-9330 or visit for more.

Sky studies in watercolor

One of Carole Pivarnik's cloud-based watercolors.
One of Carole Pivarnik’s cloud-based watercolors.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to paint fresh, lively, dramatic watercolor sky studies with bold confidence using wet in wet glazing and lifting techniques — well, this weekend would be your chance.

Amissville-based artist Carole Pivarnik is leading a four-hour workshop Saturday at the Mullany Studio School in Flint Hill, where students will learn what a study is and why they’re a good idea and review brush- and paint-handling basics, and then complete guided practices of three sky studies: a blue summer sky with fluffy white clouds, a golden sunset and an ominous storm sky with sheets of rain in the distance. The workshop costs $45; visit or call 540-878-3687 to sign up.

New forestry funding available

Well-managed, productive forests offer numerous conservation benefits, but the long growth cycle of trees can present a financial challenge for landowners seeking to retain working forest lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now making $470,000 available to help increase adoption of forestry practices statewide through a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project.

Offered in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), the RCPP Forestry Program offers landowners an opportunity to help establish and maintain the forest lands that are fundamental to clean air and water, wildlife habitat and recreation/tourism. Interested individuals have two opportunities to sign up for this special funding. The first application deadline is July 8 and the second is July 22. All applications must be submitted by July 22 to be considered for FY15 funding.

VDOF foresters will help eligible landowners develop a plan to manage their land for specific purposes, such as recreation or wildlife habitat. This Forest Management Plan outlines the landowners’ goals and objectives, recommended conservation practices and an implementation schedule. Financial assistance is available for creating this plan as well as installing the following conservation practices: prescribed burning, critical area planting, riparian forest buffers, firebreaks, tree/shrub site preparation, tree/shrub establishment and forest stand improvement.

Created in the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP empowers local leaders to work with a variety of partners to design conservation solutions that work best for their regions. “With local partners and the federal government investing funding and manpower, these public-private partnerships can have an impact well beyond what the federal government could accomplish on its own,” said NRCS Virginia State Conservationist Jack Bricker.

To apply for, or to receive additional information on, Virginia RCPP projects, visit To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit

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