The public art movement is gaining ground in Purcellville

It will take a public hearing and city council approval, but, if all goes well, the Purcellville Arts Council should soon become an official standing committee.

Liz Jarvis couldn’t be happier. She has chaired the ad hoc committee since last fall.

“I’m genetically predisposed to the arts,” she said, noting that her mother was a fine arts professor in Charlottesville and founder of the city’s McDuffy Art Center.

Raising the committee to a permanent status “gives us more oomph,” she said.

Jarvis says the panel is having an impact, recounting a recent conversation in which someone told him, “I’ve seen more art in Purcellville in the past two years than in my entire life.

The city’s effort to include art in its public spaces began several years ago with wine tastings and art exhibitions at the train station.

Since then, the effort has grown considerably, with four exhibition competitions per year set up at Town Hall on Nursery Avenue. The works of Penny Hauffe form the current exhibition which will run until the end of the month.

“We would like to bring as much art to town as possible – art in empty retail stores, the train station, and we encourage artists to participate,” Jarvis said.

The Arts Council is sponsoring the “Youth Art Month” show at the station. This month, starting Saturday, there will be an art exhibition every weekend, when the station is filled with works of art by area college students in conjunction with the “One to the World “from Loudoun County Public Schools to bring student art to the community. The shows will take place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The committee will also be hosting the arts exhibit at the Purcellville Music and Arts Festival in May.

“We hope that the artistic part of the festival becomes quite important,” Jarvis said.

The Town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee joined with the Arts Council in planning the “Painted Wine Barrels Around Purcellville” program. Artists from the region are invited to submit their ideas for the wine barrels. A committee will select the best concepts, and those who are chosen will receive a barrel to convert to art.

“The wine barrel project is a balance between art and tourism,” Jarvis said.

Each barrel will have a paid sponsor and will be placed in a public place after being shown and judged at the Purcellville Music and Arts Festival, scheduled for May 21 at Fireman’s Field. In the fall, the barrels will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be used for future community projects. Cash prizes will be awarded to the artists of the first three barrels voted by the public. For more information on sponsors and artist nominations, contact Michael Oaks at 540-751-0707 or [email protected]

The council also invites arts organizations in the region to apply for funding from the city by March 10 for activities that will take place in Purcellville from July 1 to June 30, 2017. The city will request a matching grant of $ 5,000. of the Virginia Commission for the Local Government Arts Challenge Grants Program.

Funding requests for the Local Government Challenge Grant should be sent to the Purcellville Arts Committee, 221 S. Nursery Ave., Purcellville, VA 20132, emailed to [email protected] or delivered to City Hall. The municipal council will examine the requests at its meeting on March 22.

The arts council is also preparing guidelines to help Purcellville businesses and artists better cooperate to exhibit art in the city.

Norma D. Ross