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Smith House Galleries features two virtual exhibitions in February

Arts Council of the ValleyArts Council of the Valley opens two new virtual exhibitions in February: a landscape series by John Hancock, and posters reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement by JMU architectural design students.

Both exhibitions will be available on Feb 1-26, with support provided by ACV’s 2021 Cultivating the Arts Platinum Sponsors Matchbox Realty, Kathy Moran Wealth Group, and Riner Rentals.

In A View Beyond the Window: New Works from the Shaped Landscape series, Hancock’s paintings combine realism and abstraction to both embrace and reimagine the traditional conventions of landscape through reshaping, interrupting, or shifting the view.

“Each image is a tentative integration of opposites,” Hancock noted, ”a structured space where an image from nature — a traditionally painted scenic view, a close-up of a dry streambed, or a rendering of a bird’s nest — can intersect with drawings, maps or diagrams.”

Hancock said he uses color and compositional harmonies to knit the fragments together. A collaboration with 150 Franklin Street Gallery, e = empathy is the brainchild of William Tate, Associate Professor of Architectural and Industrial Design at James Madison University.

Against a background of racial strife and tension, Tate asked the 14 seniors in his architectural design class to use their design language to express what they were feeling and to speak out for people in the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I gave them the task to make their ideas into posters, using only the letter e,” Tate explained. “Next we began to filter in photographs,” he continued. “Here the requirement was that the photographs had to be sliced and fragmented. Not really legible. Only suggestive.”

Student artists featured in e = empathy are Melinda Anselmo, Matthew Barton, Deanna Botkin, Tony Cautilli, Sebastian Cedron, Cassidy Deering, Megan Garrick, Madison Goff, Nathan Guzman, Sayeda Islam, Megan Mueller, Tyler Moulton, Bailey Sanford, and Jillian Strauss.

Smith House Galleries’ previous and present virtual exhibitions are available for viewing on Arts Council of the Valley’s Facebook page ( in the Photo Album section.

For more information on Arts Council of the Valley, visit

augusta free press
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