AFP Local News Blog – Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

– News: BRCC to host Appalachian Music Concert, Wednesday, 1:40 p.m.
– News: Updated driving conditions from VDOT, Wednesday, 10:45 a.m.
– News: You Made It! wants to help local nonprofits, Wednesday, 10:25 a.m.
– News: Art Center to open Youth Art Exhibit, Wednesday, 10:25 a.m.
– News: Ampersand Arts puts call out to community for help with art project, Wednesday, 10:25 a.m.
– News: Today’s Events, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.



News: BRCC to host Appalachian Music Concert, Wednesday, 1:40 p.m.

Blue Ridge Community College’s Fine Arts Center plays host to an Appalachian Music Concert Friday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. Featuring the talents of Faster Than Walking and Mando Mafia, this exciting performance focuses on the rich heritage of Appalachian music.

Faster Than Walking is known for its high-energy traditional tunes and songs, mixed with some country blues. The inclusion of the harmonica as a lead instrument encourages improvisation, and gives the group an atypical old-time band sound. Faster Than Walking features the talents of Joe Mead – fiddle, John Murphy – harmonica, Chris Leva – guitar, Dan Rublee – banjo, and Zach Blatter – bass.

Mando Mafia, rooted in Appalachian Old-Time String Band traditions, has been delighting audiences across the Mid-Atlantic with their award-winning “wall-of-mandolin” sound since 1989. Their recordings have been heard nationwide on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and played on radio shows all over the US and as far away as Australia. Individual band members have won instrumental contests in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina; collectively the band has won the non-traditional band competition at West Virginia’s Appalachian String Band Festival three times.

Tickets are $10, with students admitted free. For advance tickets, call 540.453.2215. Remaining tickets will be available at the door 45 minutes before the performance. The event is sponsored by the BRCC Educational Foundation Endowment for Cultural Enrichment.


News: Updated driving conditions from VDOT, Wednesday, 10:45 a.m.

Drivers should continue to use caution on some roads of the Shenandoah Valley due road conditions from winter weather that began before sunrise.

Here are the conditions as reported by the Virginia Department of Transportation Staunton Traffic Operations Center as of 10:30 a.m.:

Interstate 64 – Clear conditions are in Rockbridge, Alleghany and Augusta counties.
Interstate 66 – Clear conditions are in Warren County

Interstate 81 – Minor conditions are in Rockbridge County. Clear conditions are in Augusta, Rockingham, Frederick and Shenandoah counties.

Primary roads are in moderate condition in and Highland County. Minor conditions are in Alleghany, Bath and Rockbridge counties. Clear conditions are in Augusta, Rockingham, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, Page and Clarke counties.

Secondary roads are in moderate condition in Bath, Highland and Frederick counties. Minor conditions are in Alleghany, Rockbridge and Shenandoah counties. Clear conditions are in Augusta, Rockingham, Warren, Page and Clarke counties

Motorists are reminded that ice and freezing rain conditions can still produce hazardous driving conditions, even when roads are treated. People should not drive unless absolutely necessary. People who are driving in winter road conditions should use extra caution particularly on bridges, overpasses, curves, hills and ramps.


News: You Made It! wants to help local nonprofits, Wedneday, 10:25 a.m.

David Miller and Joan Clasbey, co-owners of You Made It! Pottery Studio in Downtown Harrisonburg, partner with area schools and groups to help with their fundraising events.

Everyone associated with nonprofit organizations is feeling the economic pinch when it comes to funding worthy projects. Area schools are no exception! You Made It has created a way to team up with schools and organizations that helps everybody’s bottom line.

Says Clasbey, “We created this approach to fundraising while I was a teacher at Stone Spring Elementary School. Every year the PTA sponsors an auction as their main money maker for the year. We started painting class plates to sell at these auctions. To make a class plate, all the children in a class put a fingerprint of paint on the plate. The plate is then embellished with the name of the school, teacher, classmates and then dated and painted. Classes have different themes that their plates portray such as “Hooked on Learning” where all the fingerprints are fish and “Egg-cellent First Graders” where all the fingerprints become eggs in an Easter basket. For example: on the “Garden of Learners” plate, the fingerprints become flowers in a flower pot.

One example of successful fundraising in 2009 is Linville Edom Elementary which raised over $3800 from their plate auction! See Attachments for pictures of plates.

You Made It! is also involved in fundraising projects and business partnerships with sororities and other student groups at JMU, area churches, scout troops, A Dream Come True Playground Fund, Susan G Komen Foundation and many more.

You Made It! Pottery Studio has been in operation six years and is located across from the Massanutten Regional Library on Main Street in Historic Downtown Harrisonburg. You can visit us at or call 540.434.4500 for more information on how we can assist you with your fundraiser.


News: Art Center to open Youth Art Exhibit, Wednesday, 10:25 a.m.

The Staunton Augusta Art Center presents the annual Youth Art Exhibit Feb. 22-March 29 featuring the best works of area aspiring artists, grades K-12.

The opening reception to celebrate the artists is Sun., Feb. 22, from 1-3 pm.

Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.

The Art Center is also offering art classes every Tuesday in March, 5:30 – 7 pm ($15 per class) and every Saturday in March, 10 am – noon ($20 per class) for ages 6-9.

The Art Center is located in the R. R. Smith Center for History and Art, 20 S. New St. in historic Downtown Staunton across from the Visitor Center.

For more information, call 540.885.2028 or visit


News: Ampersand Arts puts call out to community for help with art project, Wednesday, 10:25 a.m.

This year, Ampersand Arts is launching a community-wide visual artistic project honoring two of the Shenandoah Valley’s most beloved arts patrons, Fletcher and Margaret Collins. Fletcher and Margaret helped bring theatrical arts to the Valley, and fostered a reverence for the arts in our community which has inspired local artists for generations.

Ampersand Arts will distribute six hundred 2′ x 2′ canvases from various different locations. Participants may paint whatever they would like onto the canvases.

Absolutely no artistic experience is required to participate and anyone from any age group can paint a canvas. Participants can also paint more than one. Once all of the canvases are returned, Ampersand will assemble the canvases into two mosaics depicting Mr. and Mrs. Collins.

After a brief public exhibition, the mosaics will be donated to a prominent local institution for permanent display. Participants will be invited to the exhibit’s opening gala on June 1st (which would have been Mrs. Collins’ 100th birthday).

Now, you’re probably asking yourself how we’ll pull off creating two mosaics depicting two portraits from 600 random images. We begin by first examining the image we would like to reproduce. We take a small square from the image, in this case Mrs. Collins’ portrait. We break that image into a grid of 16 x 16 units. Each unit has a specific grayscale value which is identified in Photoshop. Each canvas we receive from a participant has its own grayscale value. Once we identify the grayscale value of an individual canvas, we simply place the canvas within the grid. As an experiment, we grabbed a handful of images online of several famous paintings. Then we ran those paintings through the same process outlined above, creating an experimental mosaic.

Although at a close distance it looks messy, when we pull back far away from it, we get a fairly faithful reproduction of our original image. To make the process easier, Ampersand is developing software that may arrange the images for us. This will free up a tremendous amount of time in the assembly of the mosaic.

Right now, what Ampersand needs more than anything is public participation. We need people to paint on these canvases! Besides just setting up designated pick-up / drop-off locations, we’re hoping you can help us get the word out to members of the community who wish to participate.

This is an activity that can be done by individuals or in groups, and it doesn’t have to take long at all. But it will only work if people participate.

Ampersand will be asking a donation of $1-$3 per canvas to offset the cost of the canvases. Furthermore, each participant will be asked to fill out two forms; one when they pick up the canvas (so that we know who’s got them) and one when they drop them back off (so that we know who to give the credit to).

Call me at 540.245.0200 if you want more information.

– Item by Heath Pecorino


News: Today’s Events, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

– Brown Bag Book Club. Read thought-provoking books and participate in fascinating and far-ranging discussion with other book lovers. Waynesboro Public Library, noon-1 p.m.

– Waynesboro City Council work session, Charles T. Yancey Municipal Building, 6 p.m. Info:

– Wednesday Night Book Club. Read thought-provoking books and participate in fascinating and far-ranging discussion with other book lovers. Waynesboro Public Library, 7-8 p.m.

– Jimmy O live at South River Grill and Wine Shop, 23 Windigrove Drive, Waynesboro, 7:30 p.m. Info:

– ShenanArts presents Children’s Letters to God, Stage 4 Theatre, Verona, 7:30 p.m. Info:

– The Playhouse, Harrisonburg’s community theater, presents Stephen Crane’s The Blue Hotel, a world-premiere stage adaptation of the classic short story, featuring original music by The Shakes, at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 each, or $8 each for groups of ten or more. Info:

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