Piedmont Arts has been bringing festive traditions to the community for years, and 2023 has been no exception.
Starting with Giving Tuesday, then decorating the museum with the Teen Arts Council (TAC), the Christmas Tree Lighting in the Gravely-Lester Art Garden, and culminating in the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Spectacular, Piedmont Arts is part of the Martinsville and Henry County holiday landscape.
On Tuesday, Nov. 28, the agency participated in Giving Tuesday. Touted as a “Global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world,” Piedmont Arts created multiple opportunities to give to both the museum and the community at large.
Monetary donations to the museum were accepted in the lobby. Sidewalk chalk was provided for participants to chalk inspirational messages about creativity and generosity on the sidewalks around the museum and around Martinsville. In addition, Piedmont Arts held a canned food drive for the food pantry at Patrick & Henry Community College.
Spirits were high as visitors came to the museum throughout the day, dropping off food for the food pantry and donating to the museum. The community’s support for Giving Tuesday provided the food pantry with much-needed essentials and raised more than $5,000 for Piedmont Arts.
Later that evening, the Teen Arts Council visited and decorated the museum’s Christmas tree and lobby. With decorations donated by Brad Draper of Draper Flowers and Gifts and handcrafted ornaments created by TAC students, the lobby was transformed into a winter wonderland in a matter of hours.
TAC’s mission is to get young people involved in the arts, to give them a safe place to express themselves, and to provide support for TAC members and Piedmont Arts.
TAC is open to students in grades 9 – 12, who attend a school in Martinsville-Henry County. The group meets monthly to build leadership and artistic skills, get behind-the-scenes experience at Piedmont Arts, and connect with other teens. Students who are interested in joining can e-mail Programs Coordinator Lauren Ellis at Lellis@PiedmontArts.org.
On Thursday, Nov. 30, Piedmont Arts turned its holiday spirit outward by inviting the community to the annual Christmas Tree Lighting in the Gravely-Lester Arts Garden. With crafts for kids provided by TAC, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, visits with Santa Claus, and entertainment by the First Baptist Church choir and Martinsville High School Jazz Band, this event was not one to be missed.
The event culminated in the lighting of the tree, designed by Ian Hogg. Just like the sculptures in the Art Garden, the Christmas tree is a work of art using more than 3,000 lights. If you missed the initial lighting, the tree brightens the Art Garden nightly through New Year’s Day.
Finally, Piedmont Arts hosted the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra for their beloved Holiday Pops Spectacular! on Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Martinsville High School Auditorium. The concert, led by Maestro David Stewart Wiley and with guest vocalist Emme Cannon, is a tradition unlike any other at Piedmont Arts. The orchestra played an epic two-hour concert with holiday classics that ranged from the sacred, to film scores, to joyful sing-along songs, perfuming for an audience of more than 600 people.
The concert was also another opportunity for the community to give back to the community, with Altrusa setting up a canned food drive in the lobby and the Martinsville High School Jazz Band selling fruit and snacks to benefit the band.
Piedmont Arts is a nonprofit art museum in Martinsville, Virginia that is located at 215 Starling Ave., Martinsville. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free. Learn more at PiedmontArts.org.