It's been at least 15 years since my last class at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, but poking around in the new letterpress studio recently with Art Director Mike Freeman made me hunt for a class schedule.
The class I took way back when was in faux finishing, taught by artist John Balasa, who has done some of the "marbling" that you see in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I haven't used my marbling or malachite-ing skills much since that class, but being in the VisArts space — working on the paint-splattered tables and with students in other classes nearby — did make you feel part of something bigger, which is how VisArts teacher Susan Adams explains her relationship with the center, beginning on Page 94.
With 400 classes offered on and off site and with about 28,000 people being served annually, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond's reach after 50 years is impressive, and it will continue to grow, staffer Harry Kollatz Jr. finds out from Ava Spece, who became CEO in 2012. "Retail is part of our history and roots, and we'd like to honor that," Spece says. "Having said that, though, it would require a build-out, and that means a capital campaign to pay for not only the construction but to staff and maintain it. It's not an inexpensive proposition."
A 30th birthday is as much a milestone as a 50th anniversary, and for Lindsay Ess, turning the big 3-0 means shedding her former life and stepping into another. Reporter Chris Dovi and photographer Ash Daniel followed Lindsay for two months as she directed her final fashion show and continued to adapt after her double-hand transplant in fall 2011. Watching Lindsay in action during RVA Fashion Week in spring 2011, I know how tenacious she is, and I can't wait to see what's around the corner for her. Her story starts on Page 98.
Chris Dovi also caught up with the two men who put Short Pump on the map with Short Pump Town Center in 2003. Developer Tommy Pruitt's first proposal didn't make Henrico County Manager Vigil Hazelett do any back flips, but it was Pruitt's second attempt that made him take notice.
Now to another 50th milestone: Read Maureen Egan's piece, "Intestinal Fortitude," on Page 148, and then encourage any 50-year-old you know to follow in Maureen's footsteps. It could give them a really good chance at another 50 years.
On April 20 in Norfolk, Richmond magazine brought home two out of three best-in-show awards and first-place awards in arts reporting, editorial writing, special-edition design, investigative reporting, health reporting and personal-service writing in the 2012 Virginia Press Association News Contest.
Contributing writer Richard Foster's August 2012 piece "Echoes of War," about novelist Kevin Powers, took the writing best-in-show award. Richard is a former managing editor of Richmond magazine.
Illustrator Tim Cook also received a best-in-show award for his illustration that accompanied "The Last Revolution, " a story from February 2012.
Richmond Bride and its new design, under the direction of V. Lee Hawkins and Kate Andrews , won first place in special editions. The judges said: "Very well done photography blended with excellent layout and design. A pleasure for the reader to look through."
Health stories by assistant editor Anne Dreyfuss received a first in health, science and environmental reporting. The judges commented: "Excellent work. I've been judging contests like this for a decade, and this was the most competitive category I have ever been presented. You edged out the competition because of the human scale of your writing."
Food editor Brandon Fox was awarded first place in personal-service writing for her monthly column, Brandon Eats. Her fear of canning and her battle to get her daughter to try new foods won over the judges. The judges said, "Living and breathing, not just words on a page."
Contributing writer Whit Sheppard's September 2012 piece, "He Paid the Price," a story about Ray Easterling and football head injuries, also won a first place for investigative/in-depth journalism. —SW