Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First Annual Southern Virginia University Alumni Art Show, October 2011

It was my pleasure to curate the first Alumni Art Show at my alma mater, Southern Virginia University as part of Homecoming Weekend.

Here is a little virtual tour of the art show.

Emmelin Himes and Krista Jones in the front room.

Front Room

Emmelin Himes, Krista and Ertle Jones enjoying the show.


The Man, John Feinauer, Alumni Guy.

Emmelin Himes ('11), Lo, This Hath Touched Thy Lips, Oil on Panel, $200
Tara Phillips (’11), Vision, Mixed Media, 21.25X19.25X5.25, $250
Khiah Smith (’08), Revery, Woodblock Print & Gouache, 16x20, NFS
Melissa Branin Wheeler (’05), Street Performer, Roma,
Oil on Canvas, 18x24, $100
Melissa Branin Wheeler, Woody Guthrie, Oil on Canvas,18x24, $100
Rachel Adams (’11), Fear, Mixed Media, 18x24, $50

Colleen Moore, Language, Sculpture, 30x80, NFS
Jasmine (Johnson) Sloan (’11), The Observatory, Graphite, charcoal, and Watercolor on Rives BFK Paper, 9x13, $65
Jasmine (Johnson) Sloan (’11), The Small Window, Graphite, charcoal, and Watercolor on Rives BFK Paper, 9x13, $65
Rachel Adams (’11), Elements of Childhood, Mixed Media,18x24, $50

Chloe Trammel, Grief Upon the Alter, Oil on Panel, 6ftx6ft, $450

 Lauren Soffe, Healing #1, C-Print, 13”x16”, NFS
Lauren Soffe, Healing #2, C-Print, 13”x16”, NFS
Nancy Lemmon (’10), Fog on the Golden Gate, Photography, 11”x13”, Highest Offer
Congrats to Nancy for selling her second piece Fog on the Golden Gate #2  at the opening reception!
Krista Jones (’09), Petals, Oil on Canvas, 12x16, NFS
John, checking in Alumni, giving them chocolate, free food, and free football.  He loves us!

I was really pleased with the turn out for this show, even though there were many people who said they would participate, then didn't come through, and there were many who should have responded but didn't.  I say "should have" because I personally wanted to see their art, selfish indeed.  But, SVU is an institution that thrives on tradition, so it will be fun to watch this new tradition evolve.  And for any one who would have or should have participated, you have plenty of time to prepare for next year!  And for those who did participate, thank you for continuing to be an SVU pioneer. 

By the way, if you are an SVU alum and aren't aware of everything John Feinauer is doing to make your alumni experiences better, you should learn about it.  He is moving mountains.  As more and more people join the ranks of alumni, there are more resources and programs designed for us. 

One great way to get involved is the 5 Buck-A-Month Plan.  All of the money donated to the Alumni Association, stays in the Alumni Association, which means you get to reap the benefits.  More importantly, those who swing the gavel on accreditation look very closely on the weighty subject of "donors" and importantly "alumni donors".  It doesn't matter if you donate 75 cents or 75,000 dollars, if you give to the school your name goes on the "donar list" that SACS looks at to judge accreditation.   We all know that we all need accreditation.  Just because we're gone doesn't mean there isn't something we can do to help, in fact, we "old schoolers" have far more invested in the success of SVU than the great majority of folks who came after '05.  We came to SVU because we wanted to be involved in something important.  I still feel that way about SVU, and I know the school still needs us just as much now as it did when we were only 400 (or less) strong. 

Get involved!

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Updates: Halloween Gig, Art Show, Occupy Soundry

Hello folk music lovers!

I have updates! Woohoo!  (Does anyone else feel like its really hard to have updates sometimes? It is for me.)  If you want to join my mailing list and get the entirety of the updates, sign up here: Mel's Mailing List

Upcoming Events!! 
Halloween Party with The Big Guise Band    Saturday, October 28th, 8pm-11pm     RSVP on FB
The Mediterranean Breeze
781 Station Street
Herndon, VA
Come decked out in your costume for a Halloween Bash--dance the night away to my awesome cover band, costume contest, raffle, and stellar food!  Free admission!

Art Show Opening at Epicure Cafe     Thursday, October 20th, 8pm        RSVP on FB
11213A Lee Highway, Fairfax, Va 22030
My oil paintings of rock stars are being featured at this great art-supporting cafe!  I've already sold some pieces from the show, so come to the opening and check it out.  There will also be an open mic happening at the same time, and I will likely be singing a few songs. 

Occupy Soundry    Friday, October 21st    7pm-7am         RSVP on FB
316 Dominion Road, Vienna, VA
The little art-space-that-could where I have been employed for 3 years now is being threatened with closer.  This experimental, unique, life-changing space and the vibrant community it has fostered needs our help--Northern Virginia would lose the best, brightest burning part of its soul if The Soundry were forced to close.  So, please, if you can spare an evening, or a twenty, or both, come to this all-night event that will be chalk full of entertainment (and pancakes!!), and show your support for local art in a very real way.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SVU Homecoming 2011

In 10 years, I have only missed one Homecoming at my alma mater Southern Virginia University.  Homecoming is the biggest event of the year, second only (maybe) to graduation.  SVU is small (but growing), quaint, beautiful, and my home away from home.  It is amazing to reflect on all of the changes and evolutions that have happened in the last 10 years, and wonderful to still feel like a valued part of the family.

Here are a few highlights from the weekend:
I loved the change from a female soloist to a male soloist, he did a great job.  This was my first time singing "Oh Shenandoah" with the choir; traditionally, only "choir alumni" are invited to join in the singing of our beautiful school song, however, I took advantage of a misrepresentation in the program that invited "all alumni and former choir members" to join the ranks.  Ha ha, suckas!  No one would believe I wasn't in the choir anyway.  It was fun and sentimental, as always. 

We ventured down the hill to hang out and ended up at Franks for the Memories, drawn in by the lure of karaoke.  Not really, but there were a lot of people there, and Nate, being the socialite that he is, drug us over there for hot dogs and this little number:

Okay, so that insert doesn't seem to be working: Watch Nate Sing here
I just love him.  We went to Alexanders, chilled, and Nate gave Kyle a dancing lesson and me a singing lesson.  What a peach.

Saturday brought many festivities.  First, we checked the Alumni Art Show, which I curated, and while there I got my SVU chocolate bar and my tickets to the tailgate party and football game.
We mixed and mingled with some other alumni on Chandler Field, ate some good BBQ from the cafeteria, and posed for an alumni and family picture.  When I find a copy of the picture, I'll post it here.  I found some friends:
Also, something other "old schoolers" will be interested in; the land is currently being cleared for some new building additions.  Remember the old houses on Walnut street?  The red brick house by the water tower, the yellow house on the corner (which became boys, and later girls, housing, but I can't remember the name of it) across from the blue one where that strange spanish professor used to live, and the Camelot house--all torn down.  The house where the Business Office used to be (the big white one on the corner of Chestnut across from the President's house) will be torn down, as well as Speas House and the grounds crew hut.  Here's a picture of the planned building, which will contain a new dining hall, classrooms, offices, raquetball court, and across the street (connected by a walking bridge), will be the Performing Arts Center, with 1,000 seat auditorium and black box theater.
So the street on the left is Chestnut, the one on the right is Walnut.  No more barn, no more SAC, no more tennis courts, no more financial aid house, no more road in front of the gym.  That quarter-circle entrance is placed right in the road as you turn to drive in front of the gym toward Craton.

Its a pretty wild plan.  I asked Joe Bouchelle when it would be started, he said, "As soon as you write the check."  Don't I wish I was in a position where I could donate to have this thing built.  "Branin Hall" and "Wheeler Wing", Ha!  He said he expects it to be in the works within 5 years.  Isn't that insane?

We met Dave Burke at Joyful for a short visit.  Nostalgia.

And then it was off to watch our football team bet killed.  Homecoming as usual!  Go Knights!

The Beautiful Dave Burke bringing snacks to the peoples.
 After the game, it was off to the Shiraki's for dinner, and to FW and Brinn's for a roaring bonfire.  A visit to BV in the fall would never be complete without a bonfire, unfortunately it was too dark for pictures, but good mallows and sweet jams were had by all, and FW let me rock out on his banjo.

It seemed like there were more alumni visiting this year than in many years previous, which is so awesome!  I wish more people would make the effort to come back.  So, about 4 years ago, a group of us decided that 2012 should be the year that everyone comes back at the same time--everyone meaning everyone in our group of friends.  So, 2012.  Do it.  We should all converge.  It would be epic.