Carysbrook Performing Arts Center celebrates art and music

By Page H. Gifford

The Fluvanna County Arts Council and Fluvanna Art Association partnered to present an afternoon of jazz music and art on Nov. 5, its first visual arts show.

With the demographics changing in the area in the last 30 years since the inception of the FCAC and the 47 years that FAA has been around, both groups wanted to reach out to the community and encourage people to come out and see the beautiful art created by local artists and hear the smooth jazz sounds of local musicians.

People who have recently moved to the area were ecstatic to come and have a place to enjoy music and see art on a weekend afternoon. While people perused and studied the paintings and other works created by local artists and members of FAA, they listened to the mellow yet upbeat tone of Dynamic Sound, a new band formed by Horace Scruggs, James Shelton, Wilbert Harris, and Garland Anderson. Jazz lovers attended just for the music but weren’t averse to taking a peek at the art in the hallway before entering the theater. A couple of pieces of art by artist Sara Gondwe were in the back of the theater on the way to the Anderson room, where there was more art lining the walls.

People enjoyed a reception while admiring the work of newcomer Maria Teresa Frescas, who designs her work in stained glass and mosaics. Frescsas’ cow skull adorned with cut glass and other unique features fascinated artist Jane Prete, who also had work in the show, including her dreamy pastel-colored watercolor birch trees done in her ethereal style. Also, noteworthy is the unique abstract style of Alyce Walkovich’s work in stunning graphic display and Duffy Dillinger’s vivid 3-D sculptures in paper mache. Even pastel artist Lorraine Momper went outside her comfort zone with a larger-than-usual piece of a goat chewing on a little girl’s ponytail. Also, another newcomer, Amy Jeanguenat, featured mixed media and collage with graphic features and pops of gold and teal.

Meanwhile, the music of Dynamic Sound could be heard in the Anderson Room, throughout the theater, and the building, complementing the blend of visual and performance art. Even though people were talking, one couldn’t ignore the smooth jazz and rhythm and blues generating soulful sound, completing the bond between the two.

FCAC finally got their ’22-’23 season off the ground and has added film to its seasonal offerings. In July and in September, films about local history brought in an attendance of over 300. Last month blue grass band Willow Branch brought in 105 people. These attendance numbers had been waning in the years before COVID.

With newer and more diverse artists joining their ranks, FAA is looking at ways to engage these artists and the community by learning about activities and events that will enrich everyone.

President of FCAC Sharon Harris was pleased with the turnout for a first-ever event and an estimated 60 attended. She felt that it had been a success for a first-time event of this kind. FAA members agreed and both are enthusiastic to keep the momentum going in the future.

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