Thursday, August 17, 2017  

Rappahannock Art League
Promoting Art Education and Appreciation  

The town of Kilmarnock, VA, tucked along the banks of the Rappahannock and Corrotoman Rivers, is becoming a mecca for city-weary folks seeking a cottage to call home on the weekends or a home place forever. The town sits in the southern half of Lancaster County, historically an area rich in farming and commercial water trade. Where once the steamboats docked to deliver goods and summer visitors, today Kilmarnock is a major draw for retirees and young families looking to settle in a place blessed in the rural tradition of friendly, small-town, southern living.

Here, the neighbors are friendly, the amenities plentiful, and the schools first-rate. The friendly “rural wave” from passing cars lives comfortably among the water waves abounding in creeks, rivers, and coves gently streaming into the nearby Chesapeake Bay. While the weather rules the tides and everyday talk of residents, it is mild over all and fairly cooperative year round. This is a tranquil place for people who love living in a natural preserve with others of like mind.

If Virginia is for lovers, then the Kilmarnock area is definitely a big draw. Water lovers, land lovers, history lovers and art lovers all reside here. In fact, the area’s beauty alone is a major draw for artists and artisans alike. The Rappahannock Art League, established in neighboring Irvington in 1949, provides an organizational home for artists working in every medium.

The 400-member volunteer league has become a major influence for promoting art education and appreciation in the three surrounding counties of Northumberland, Lancaster and Middlesex.

Additionally, the league provides yearly grants to area schools for art festivals and summer art camps as well as a wide variety of art workshops for adults in the community. The art league also sponsors art scholarships for high school students wishing to study art in college. RAL is supported by membership fees, artists’ commissions, patron’s gifts, and competitive grants from the Virginia Commission on the Arts and the River Counties Community Fund, among others.

Perhaps the most visible presence of the art league in Kilmarnock is its artists’ cooperative gallery on Main Street. The RAL Studio Gallery displays and sells original works of more than 70 artists and artisans. Among the creative treasures are watercolors, oils, acrylics, photographs, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and hand-made wood furniture. Visitors and residents alike visit the Gallery to chose unique, hand crafted pieces of art or sculpture to fill that special place in their home or business. Many of these items can be found decorating area residences as well as homes in the outlying, commuting areas of Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC.

As one artist observed, every person is an artist at heart. And every home or business provides the perfect setting for displaying an original work of art that reflects its owners’ unique taste, love of color, memento of a wonderful trip or family occasion. The RAL Studio Gallery is a place where finding that special piece may be a dream come true.

The Rappahannock Art League Gallery is located at 19 North Main Street in Kilmarnock. For more information on getting involved with the Art League, they can be reached at 804-436-9309 or emailed at ral@ralgallery.com. Members automatically receive a subscription to their monthly newsletter, receive discounts on the costs of their classes and workshops, have lots of opportunities to enter all-member art shows, and have the opportunity to volunteer at the gallery.