The award-winning art therapy program, “The Art of Happiness,” to return as a winter series presented by the Montgomery Museum and LewisGale Hospital Montgomery

The award-winning art therapy program, “The Art of Happiness,” to return as a winter series presented by the Montgomery Museum and LewisGale Hospital Montgomery
The Montgomery Museum of Art and History is offering self-help coping tactics and strategies by using art exhibits, materials, and spaces as helpful tools to address mental health issues. This interactive series entitled, “The Art of Happiness,” will focus on aspects of positive psychology and the role that art can play in general happiness and well-being. Now in its second year, this program series will be held at the Montgomery Museum on the first and second Thursday of each month, December through February, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The museum will remain open late on these dates to allow participants the opportunity to see all the museum exhibits and spaces. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.
“The goal of this program series is to highlight and raise awareness about mental health issues and accessibility in a non-traditional way while simultaneously offering unique methods and strategies to cope with things like stress, anxiety, and depression,” said Casey Jenkins, the museum’s executive director. “Making space for art therapy in a museum or cultural center can have very profound effects as it relates to experiential self-help. We are very grateful for the support given by LewisGale Hospital Montgomery.”
This past year, the museum garnered state-wide attention when it was awarded the 2023 Innovation Award by the Virginia Association of Museums. The museum was given this prestigious award for the Art of Happiness based on its merit as a new program series that created positive change in the community through innovation and creativity.
The sessions will be led and facilitated by Shelby Wynn, a registered art therapist and licensed professional counselor. Session topics include Found Poetry, Mindfulness Clay Sculpting, and Visual Music and Painting. “I am very excited to be partnering with the Montgomery Museum for the next few months,” Wynn said. “Art is such an integral part of mental health – be it fine art, movement, or music – and it is inspiring to have an organization such as the museum find it important to bridge the gap in mental health awareness. I am honored to be a part of something so innovative.”
All materials will be provided by the museum and no art experience is required. The series is designed to be a free community-building, self-help experience rather than an outpatient group patient therapy session. For more information on this program series and to register, visit https://montgomerymuseum.org/arttherapy.

Montgomery Museum Brings Artist Elissa Steeves, Textile Artists of Virginia, and Montgomery County Coal Mining History and Art Show to the New River Valley

Join the Montgomery Museum of Art & History on Thursday, November 9 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at 4 E. Main St. Christiansburg, VA for the last reception of the year featuring local artist Elissa Steeves’ opening, the Textile Artists of Virginia exhibit, “Montgomery County Coal Mining” history exhibit, and a Coal Mining Theme Art Show.

Elissa Steeves is famous for her garden in Blacksburg. She is less well-known as an artist, but her upcoming exhibit Bag Lady at the Montgomery Museum of Art and History may help change that. The garden is notable not just for its profusion of interesting plants but also for the sculptures placed, not scattered, about, and the many seating areas offering strategic views. The chairs and tables are mostly painted in clear and vibrant colors.  These colors appear again in the needlepoint handbags Steeves has made for 41 years. Some of the bags feature flowers, as seems fitting, but others may have a chili pepper or a watermelon. Some handbags feature more geometric patterns reminiscent of Native American art.

Textile Artists of Virginia (TAVA) will have an exhibit of fiber art at the Montgomery Museum entitled, Wordplay and Puns with a Whimsical Streak. The title comes from two separate themes the group of about 30 artists pursued. The “Wordplay and Puns” series features fabrics that were hand-dyed by the artists, and the word “dye” appears in the title of each piece such as “Dyverse Marine Life” or “Dying to Escape Covid.” The Whimsical Streak pieces all have a humorous side that could take the form of goddesses, mermaids, playful goats, bugs, or a grandchild steering a boat. “Tuscan Still Life” has a border around the usual vases and things, which is important because one wine bottle has fallen over and spilled over the border.

Coal mining was an important industry in Montgomery County with production peaking in the first half of the twentieth century. Equally important, coal mining was a way of life for generations of county residents. Explore Montgomery County’s coal mines and how the hard work of the miners and their families created local communities in this new exhibit featuring many historic local coal mining objects. The Fears-Jones-Eaves Coal Company sign, from the only African American-owned mine in the county, is on loan courtesy of the Wake Forest Community Action Club. Many other objects were donated to the museum in memory of Dudley Scott by his widow, Faye. Mr. Scott was a coal miner in this area and was interviewed for the book Keepers of the Tradition. His portrait, painted by local artist Leslie Gregg for the book, is included in the Coal Mining Theme Art Show which will accompany the history exhibit. This Theme Show will include several talented local artists, Aileen Fletcher, Judy Niehaus, Leslie Gregg, Matt Gentry, Sally Mook, and Sue Hossack who were inspired by the themed coal mining show. A cash bar will also be available at the reception, and free heavy hors d’oeuvres will be catered by Zeppoli’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Shop. Visit https://montgomerymuseum.org/events/reception for more details.

Montgomery Museum to Present “DOC AT 100” benefit concert at Moss Arts Center, Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Doc Watson

Montgomery Museum to Present “DOC AT 100” benefit concert at Moss Arts Center, Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Doc Watson

The Montgomery Museum of Art & History is expanding its definition of the arts by presenting the “DOC AT 100” concert program at the Moss Arts Center on November 1, 2023, at 7:00 PM. “DOC AT 100” is a traveling concert program, which celebrates the life and legacy of Doc Watson by artists who performed with Doc, were profoundly influenced by his music, and called him a friend. This includes T. Michael Coleman and Jack Lawrence, who performed, recorded, and toured with Doc longer than any other musicians he worked with. Joining T. Michael and Jack are fellow guitarists Wayne Henderson and Jack Hinshelwood, who were both heavily impacted by Doc’s music through his many recordings and performances. Wayne counted Doc as a close friend, especially in Doc’s later years when he enjoyed visiting Wayne in his guitar-making shop in Rugby, Virginia. 

Ted Olson, Professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University, is the author of “Doc’s World: Traditional Plus,” the book that accompanies the 4 CD compilation of recordings from Doc’s career released in 2022 by Craft Records called “Doc Watson, Life’s Work: A Retrospective.” “DOC AT 100” begins with a talk led by concert host, Ted Olson on the legacy of Doc Watson followed by stories shared by the artists who knew Doc as a friend and fellow performer. Audience members will also be encouraged to share their stories of Doc and the impact he had on them. Enjoy an evening of story-telling and traditional music under the lights to celebrate the legacy and life of Doc Watson. 

A humanities talk will take place on November 1 at 2:00 PM at the Moss Arts Center “CUBE” and will be hosted by Ted Olson, Jack Hinshelwood, and Patrick Salmons, Adjunct Professor in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Religion and Culture program. Students within Appalachian Studies and the Graduate Program in Material Culture and Public Humanities at Virginia Tech are invited to participate in the discussion about Doc Watson and his cultural influence on Appalachia. 

Concert tickets may be purchased online at the Montgomery Museum of Art & History’s website, www.montgomerymuseum.org/events/music, or by calling the Moss Art Center Box Office at 540-231-5300. The presale cost will be $25, and $30 at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Montgomery Museum of Art & History.

This event is generously sponsored by Edward Via College Of Osteopathic Medicine, Asset Solutions Corp., Shelter Alternatives, Inc., Mary Ann Hinshelwood, Mike Eggleston Realtor at Coldwell Banker Townside Realtors, FocusOne Integrated Financial Planning, and Heartstrings Pet Lodging and Spa.

Heritage Day 2023 Recap

What an incredible day it was at Heritage Day 2023! We want to express our sincere gratitude to each and every one of our visitors, volunteers, staff, vendors, food trucks, and sponsors who joined us in celebrating our rich heritage and vibrant community.

From the bustling streets of downtown Christiansburg, VA to the serene Museum Gardens, the atmosphere was filled with joy and camaraderie as families, friends, and neighbors came together to enjoy a day of art, history, and fun.

A special shoutout to the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg VA for managing the delightful beer garden and to the incredible performers who graced the Downtown Christiansburg stage, including Amelia Empson, Virginia Hollow, Pathway, PanJammers Steel Drum Orchestra, and Appalachian Space Train – you kept us entertained throughout the day!

The mouthwatering offerings from food trucks like Scoops Arcade and Community Pizza, as well as Bubba’s Barn’s delicious paninis, were simply a treat for the taste buds. And let’s not forget the excitement of the silent auction within the museum itself, offering a treasure trove of unique experiences and local artwork! 

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our local business sponsors – American National Bank & Trust, Gates Flowers & Gifts III, CMG Leasing, Carter Bank & Trust, McCoy Funeral Home, Balzer and Associates, Inc., Foresight Design Services, Town and Country Veterinary Clinic, SERVPRO of Montgomery & Pulaski Counties, Summit Community Bank, Rice Realty and Landsales, Glenn Cochran – State Farm Insurance Agent, Corning Incorporated, The Tenacious Telecommunicator, and The Quilting Party. Your commitment to our community shines brightly!

Once again, thank you for being a part of Heritage Day 2023. Your presence and enthusiasm added an extra layer of magic to the day, and we can’t wait to see you again at our future events during our 40th year as a museum. Here’s to preserving our heritage and creating beautiful memories together!

Montgomery Museum Hosting Local Artist Reception and Railroad Theme Art Show Awards

Join the Montgomery Museum of Art & History on Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM. for the opening reception of local artist Lois Stephens and the awards ceremony for the multi-artist Railroad Theme Art Show. The reception will take place in the museum at 4 East Main Street, Christiansburg, VA 24073.

So many talented and well-trained artists say they wish they could loosen up and let go of the comfort of realism.  Lois Stephens is one of the few who accomplished that goal.  Her new exhibition entitled, “Oilful Expressions,” shows how Stephens prefers to work in oil with a palette knife, a device that replaces the brush and lends itself to free rein.  She says the more you do it, the more confident you become.  Also, don’t be afraid to change something that doesn’t work.  “It’s just paint.”  Oil paint is especially easy to remove or paint over.  “Simplify.”  Painting in an impressionist style comes from simplifying what you have been doing. Many of the paintings in the show are landscapes depicting local scenes that often include water.  “Flow” shows a stream in springtime, “Hibernal” a cold winter scene, and “Garden Path” a walk bordered with flowers.  Compared to her earlier works, these paintings are more impressionistic in style.

Along with opening Stephens’ show on September 7, the museum is acknowledging the closing of the Railroad Theme Art Show. Twenty local artists have submitted over forty works in numerous media including paint, pen and ink, photography, and wood scrollwork that depicts railroad heritage. The People’s Choice voting for the awards ceremony is taking place now, and voting will close at 6:00 p.m. at the reception with awards presented at 6:30 p.m. Vote now at: https://montgomerymuseum.org/exhibits/railroad-theme-show. A cash bar will be available and food will be catered by Zeppoli’s.

Heritage Day 2023 to bring history, culture, and community to downtown Christiansburg

The Montgomery Museum of Art & History proudly presents its highly anticipated annual Heritage Day Festival on August 19, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM in downtown Christiansburg. This free, family-friendly event takes place at the museum, East Main St. and at the Museum Gardens located at 300 South Pepper Street.

This year, the museum will showcase an eclectic mix of vendors including craft, art, antique cars, native plants, baked goods, and many children’s activities. More than 40 vendors will display their finest creations, offering plenty of artistic goods to explore. Additionally, the street festival will feature a hay wagon ride, historical reenactors, and a beer/wine garden managed by Christiansburg Kiwanis Club. Live performances will be held at the Downtown Christiansburg stage featuring performances by Amelia Empson, Virginia Hollow, Pathway, The Panjammers, and Appalachian Space Train.

Additionally, food trucks, including Scoops Arcade Food Truck and Community Pizza will be serving ice cream and pizza next to the beer garden. Inside the museum, a silent auction will take place during the event and offer a myriad of gifts including unique experiences and local artwork.

This event is made possible by the generous support from many local businesses including American National Bank and Trust, Gates Flowers, CMG Leasing, Carter Bank and Trust, McCoy Funeral Home, Balzer and Associates, Foresight Design Services, Town and Country Veterinary Clinic, Servpro of Montgomery and Pulaski Counties, Summit Community Bank, Rice Realty and Landsales, Glenn Cochran – State Farm Insurance Agent, Corning Inc, The Tenacious Telecommunicator, and the Quilting Party.

For more information on the event, please visit https://montgomerymuseum.org/events/heritage-day.

Media Contacts: Casey Jenkins – Executive Director; director@montgomerymuseum.org; (540) 382-5644 Courtney Amos – Events and Marketing Coordinator; marketing@montgomerymuseum.org

Railroad Theme Art Show

Montgomery Museum hosts 20 local artists in the  Railroad Theme Art Show as a companion to the “Let’s Go to the Depot” History Exhibit and recent NRV Passenger Rail Panel

“Let’s Go to the Depot! How the Railroad Changed Montgomery County and Cambria” history exhibit opened on July 13 at the Montgomery Museum of Art and History. The railroad, completed through Montgomery County in 1854, created a social center where sweethearts ran off to get married and fresh-faced draftees set off to serve their country. It was also a point of commerce, where goods and harvests from the county were shipped and products from around the world entered into Montgomery County, VA.

In conjunction with the “Let’s Go to the Depot” history exhibit, members of the museum and other local artists have participated in a railroad-themed art show. Photographs, watercolors, oils, acrylics, pen and ink drawings, and even wood scroll-work are represented. 41 pieces by 20 artists of trains and related items will be on display from July 18 – September 8. You may view the pictures online and vote for your favorite at https://montgomerymuseum.org/exhibits/railroad-theme-show (online voting starting on July 18), but even better, come in and see for yourself. The closing reception is on September 7, 5:00 -7:00 pm at the museum. People’s Choice voting will allow only one vote per person, and voting will close at 6:00 pm the day of the reception with awards presented at 6:30 pm.

Last week, the museum hosted a very successful panel discussion on NRV passenger rail, providing a forum of updates and discussion led by experts from the New River Valley Regional Commission, Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, and the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board. In a packed lobby, community members learned more about the history of passenger rail and the exciting new developments regarding Amtrak’s future service to Christiansburg and the New River Valley.

Artists and their specific media in the Railroad Theme Art Show include:

  • Aileen Fletcher – Digital Photography
  • Matt Gentry – Watercolor
  • Blake Gore – Miniature Drawing
  • Sue Hossack – Ink, Acrylic
  • Carol Josefiak – Oil
  • John Josefiak – Watercolor
  • Carl Lefko – Photography
  • Susan Lockwood – Photography
  • Sally Mook – Watercolor/Acrylic
  • Rita Mayer – Wood, Acrylic
  • Pippi Miller – Photography
  • Glenn McDaniel – Digital Art
  • Wayne McKinney – Photography
  • Betty Moore – Acrylic
  • Judy Niehaus – Acrylic
  • David Pearce – Painting/Photography/Drawing
  • David Petersen – Photography
  • Mary Ratliff – Watercolor
  • John Singleton – Photography
  • Charles Whitescarver  – Photography

Media Contacts: Casey Jenkins – Executive Director; director@montgomerymuseum.org; (540) 382-5644

Courtney Amos – Events and Marketing Coordinator; marketing@montgomerymuseum.org

Celebrate Beauty, and the Past and Future of NRV Rail

Montgomery Museum Invites Public to Reception Uniting Art, History, and Dialogue that Celebrates Beauty, and the Past and Future of NRV Rail

The public is invited to attend a reception and program on Thursday, July 13, from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. that will unite art, history, and community dialogue. This unique event will open a new exhibition by local artist Patricia Bolton, as well as an exhibit focused on the history of the railroad in Montgomery County, an exhibit of works by noted photographer O. Winston Link, and a panel discussion about the future of NRV Passenger Rail.

Patricia Bolton’s new exhibit, “Celebrating Beauty,” showcases a diverse range of artistic media, including alcohol ink, pen and ink, colored pencils, pastels, and photography. Bolton’s mixed media pieces often combine various techniques, with her own photography serving as inspiration for her paintings. With a lifelong passion for art, she believes practice is the key to success and is constantly sketching and doodling. One of her most exciting pieces, “Bicchiere,” which is Italian for drinking glass, began as a restaurant doodle. The reflections off the glass and images seen through it in parallax are beautiful. Known for her meticulous attention to detail, Bolton’s work demonstrates precision and beauty, particularly evident in her pen and ink drawings and colored pencil works like “Howling Wolves.” The exhibit, “Celebrating Beauty,” will be held at the Montgomery Museum of Art and History in Christiansburg, starting July 6, with the reception taking place from 4:30-6:15 p.m. on July 13.

Also opening at the Montgomery Museum is “O. Winston Link: Capturing the Last Steam Railroad.” The exhibit features prints from Link’s 1955-1960 work, including some signed by Link himself. These were donated to the Museum in 2022 by Link’s nephew, Robert Zider. The exhibit will focus on Link’s artistic process and his important role in the history of art photography. Giving context to the O. Winston Link prints will be a separate exhibit, “Let’s Go to the Depot! How the Railroad Changed Montgomery County and Cambria.” The railroad, completed through Montgomery County in 1854, was a social center where sweethearts ran off to get married and where fresh-faced draftees set off to serve their country. It was also a point of commerce, where goods and harvests from the county were shipped and products from around the world entered into Montgomery County, VA. These two rail heritage exhibits will open the evening of July 13 for the reception and program.

From 6:30-7:30 p.m. the museum will feature a panel discussion that will focus on the NRV Passenger Rail that is coming to Christiansburg in 2025. Listen to passenger rail updates and an opportunity to ask questions about rail coming to Christiansburg, VA. This panel will consist of experts in passenger rail including Collin Burch, Planning Manager of Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, Raymond D. Smoot Jr., Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board, Sandra Davis, Co-Chair, New River Valley Passenger Rail, and Kevin Byrd, Executive Director, New River Valley Regional Commission. This event will be moderated by Ann Cassell, President of The Blacksburg Partnership.

Montgomery Museum of Art & History Receives Virginia Association of Museum’s 2023 Innovation Award for new Mental Health Series

Photo Credit: Charlie Whitescarver of Whitescarver Photography, LLC

The Montgomery Museum of Art & History has garnered state-wide recognition this week as it received the 2023 Innovation Award presented by the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM). The museum’s brand-new mental health series, “The Art of Happiness,” was awarded the Innovation Award for its contributions to Community Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, and Audience Expansion. The Innovation Award is given each year at the annual VAM conference to one museum across the Commonwealth that demonstrates a commitment to use their platform as a trusted source of information to build relationships with its community and create long-term positive impacts for community members.

“The Art of Happiness” is an interactive series for adults that focuses on aspects of positive psychology and the role that art can play in our general happiness and well-being. The sessions are led by Shelby Wynn, a registered art therapist and licensed professional counselor. This series has included the use of visual music, mindfulness clay sculpture, coping with words to understand your thoughts and emotions, and Zentangles, a practice of mindful doodles that is useful when other coping skills are inaccessible. Support from the LewisGale Hospital Montgomery made this program series successful through a generous sponsorship, which enabled the museum to open up additional sessions.

Montgomery Museum Executive Director, Casey Jenkins, traveled to the annual VAM conference on March 13 to receive this prestigious award. “We are so proud of this new, innovative program series. It was amazing to see the interest and demand from everyone, especially young people who participated in these free sessions,” said Jenkins. “This award validates our important charge and mission to be a community-wide museum for everyone to be a part of and we are very grateful for the generous support given to us by LewisGale Hospital Montgomery.”

“The Art of Happiness” offers mental health self-help tactics and strategies by using art exhibits, materials, and spaces as helpful tools. Spots filled up quickly with enthusiastic support from the community.

A press conference was held in the main lobby of LewisGale Hospital Montgomery the morning of Wednesday, March 22. Community members, hospital staff, and museum board members were in attendance. VAM representative, John Long, presented the award to Jenkins and the Montgomery Museum. Jenkins and Board President, Jean Haskell, gave brief remarks and the press conference closed with remarks by hospital CEO, Lauren Dudley.

Media Contacts:

Casey Jenkins – Executive Director; director@montgomerymuseum.org; (540) 382-5644

Courtney Amos – Events and Marketing Coordinator; marketing@montgomerymuseum.org

Virginia Association of Museums’ Innovation Award.

The Montgomery Museum of Art and History is the 2023 recipient of the Virginia Association of Museums‘ Innovation Award. This prestigious award is given to one museum across the Commonwealth who demonstrates innovative and creative programming that brings impactful change to its community. The new program series, “The Art of Happiness” was selected for this award.
The “Art of Happiness” is a new, innovative art therapy program series designed to utilize museum spaces, exhibits, and materials as tools for experiential self-help and coping strategies. With generous support from the LewisGale Regional Health System (LewisGale Hospital Montgomery), this new series flourished as we saw high demand for this free community programming, which engaged individuals of all ages in the same space. The program offers avenues of art such as painting, sculpting, poetry, and more to raise awareness and enhance access to mental health resources through positive psychology. For more information on this program, please visit https://montgomerymuseum.org/arttherapy/
Thanks to the generous support from LewisGale Regional Health System (LewisGale Hospital Montgomery), the museum was able to expand its programming by offering additional sessions due to high demand.
A brief award ceremony and press conference will be held at the LewisGale Hospital Montgomery on Wednesday, March 22, at 9:30 a.m., located at 3700 S. Main St. Blacksburg, VA 24060. ALL are welcome to attend!
LewisGale Hospital Montgomery is proud to support this important work in a non-traditional space such as a museum. Thank you!