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 for more details.