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43rd Street Festival of the Arts Returns on Saturday

Last year’s festival was canceled due to Covid but this year its back.

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This Saturday join your neighbors for the 43rd Street Festival of the Arts. 30 years of fine arts in RVA. Outdoor Forest Hill neighborhood setting on the streets. Fundraiser for CARITAS and a lot of artisans that could use your support! September 11th, 10-4.

 

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Downtown

Island Shrimp Co. opening in former Conch Republic space at Rocketts Landing next March

A second location of the HOUSEpitality Family concept is set to open this spring.

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Local restaurant group HOUSEpitality Family announced that it will open its second Island Shrimp Co. location at Rocketts Landing in March 2022.

The restaurant will be located next to The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing in the space that was formerly occupied by Conch Republic. The first Island Shrimp Co., also known as ISCo, location opened in 2019 at Chesterfield Towne Center. The new location will offer the flavors of the tropics for a city-inspired port-to-plate experience in an artistic seaside environment.

“We’re looking forward to adding another HOUSEpitality Family concept at Rocketts Landing, an area that has been special to us since we opened The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing in 2009,” said Kevin Healy, owner of HOUSEpitality Family restaurant group. “At the time, The Boathouse was the first restaurant to utilize the riverfront location along the James and our whole team is excited that the second location of Island Shrimp Co. will be right on the water.”

Menu items will include favorites like garlic shrimp, lumpia and lobster and shrimp fried rice and the drink menu will feature beach-inspired cocktails like the hurricane, painkiller, mojito and the ISCO-original Blue Typhoon.

Island Shrimp Co. at Rocketts Landing will offer an ambiance that marries city and seaside. Like the original Island Shrimp Co., HOUSEpitality Family considered the full dining experience and will incorporate several Instagram-ready photo opportunities when developing the space.

Island Shrimp Co. is currently hiring for a number of positions, including lead cooks, line cooks, servers, bartenders, hosts, dishwashers and support staff. Those interested in applying for a position at the new Island Shrimp Co. can visit www.growwiththefam.com.

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Government

Henrico taps Sheila Minor to lead Department of Finance

Minor comes to Henrico from the city of Colonial Heights, where she has served as finance director since June 2017.

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Henrico County has appointed Sheila S. Minor director of the Department of Finance, effective Saturday, December 18th.

Minor comes to Henrico from the city of Colonial Heights, where she has served as finance director since June 2017.

Prior to her service with Colonial Heights, Minor worked as director of finance for Prince George County and as a budget and revenue analyst for Chesterfield County. She earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Tech. Minor is a certified public accountant, a certified public finance officer, and a certified government finance manager. She and her husband David have two daughters.

“Henrico County is fortunate to have such a truly experienced professional join our ranks,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said.

As Henrico’s finance director, Minor will head an agency with more than 160 employees and a budget of $15.1 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year. Finance comprises the divisions of real estate assessment, treasury, management and budget, accounting, purchasing and revenue. Among its scope of duties, the department prepares and administers the county’s operating and capital budgets and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; reviews, assesses, bills and collects taxes, licenses and fees; assesses real estate and certain personal property; and purchases goods and services for general government departments and Henrico County Public Schools.

Minor also will serve as commissioner of revenue and treasurer for the county, as prescribed by the Code of Virginia.

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Arts & Entertainment

VMFA acquires work by abstract painter Alma Thomas

Painting complements works by African American and women artists and artists of the Washington Color School.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) recently acquired Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring (1970), a painting by African American artist Alma Thomas (1891–1978).

“We are delighted that Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring has joined VMFA’s Modern and Contemporary art holdings,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Alma Thomas was a major contributor to 20th-century art. Her nature-based paintings significantly influenced artists who came after her, and her vibrantly colored canvases resonate with viewers today.”

Born in Columbus, Georgia, during the Jim Crow Era, Alma Woodsey Thomas and her family moved to Washington D.C., where more educational and economic opportunities were available for African Americans. By 1921, Thomas enrolled in art instruction courses at Howard University and, by 1924, became the program’s first graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in fine arts. After receiving her Master of Arts degree in education from Columbia University in the 1930s, Thomas taught at Shaw Junior High School in Washington D.C. for 35 years before retiring in 1960 and devoting herself to painting full time.

Thomas had earlier eschewed abstract art in favor of figurative and still life painting. By the 1960s however, when studying at American University in Washington D.C., she admired and responded to the abstract paintings created by Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and other contemporaries in the Washington Color School. This loosely affiliated group of painters applied luminous colorful hues by staining and soaking their raw canvases with thinned oil or acrylic paint.

In 1972, Thomas became the first African American woman artist to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. She was also the first African American woman artist to have her work acquired and displayed in the White House after former First Lady Michelle Obama selected two paintings, Watusi (Hard Edge) and Sky Light, installed on loan to the White House in 2009, before the landmark acquisition in 2015 of Thomas’s 1966 painting Resurrection. Thomas’s works are featured in many museum collections including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. Her work is the subject of the current nationally touring retrospective entitled Alma Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful.

“Acquiring a painting by Alma Thomas has long been a priority for the museum. We patiently waited for an iconic work and are delighted to bring this vibrant visual echo of Thomas’ garden into our collection,” said Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring will complement VMFA’s existing holdings of work by African American and women artists, artists of the Washington Color School, as well as the canon’s celebrated masters of abstraction Norman Lewis, Henri Matisse and Wassily Kandinsky, whom Thomas noted as significant influences.”

The painting, from Thomas’s Earth series, is a classic example of the unique painting style she developed after encountering the work of the Washington Color School. Her technique of placing precise dabs of vibrant color in a succession of vertical, hyphenated stripes conveys the beauty of a colorful flower garden. The palette of warm browns, fresh greens, bright blues and sunny yellows evokes the blooming flowers, petals, grass, tree trunks and clear skies the artist could see from her bay window, which overlooked the garden at her home at 1530 Fifteenth Street in Washington D.C.

“Alma Thomas applied her radiant colors in a series of vertical, staccato brushstrokes in Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring to capture, in abstract terms, the beauty and rhythms of the natural world, including the flowers in her garden,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education. “The white gesso ground that breaks up both the lines and bold touches of color not only helps to organize the composition’s rendering of the diverse shapes and colors of the natural environment, but also illuminates the scene and suggests sunlight peeking through the flowers and leaves. We believe that this joyful painting will be a landmark purchase for VMFA and an iconic work for our visitors to see and enjoy.”

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