September Friday for the Arts: The Cockade City Camera Club

This month PAAL is hosting a Photographic Contest and Exhibit by the Cockade City Camera Club. Founded by John A. Rooney, Jr. in July 2009, the first meetings took place "At The Globe” in Petersburg. The Club met there for several months and then began meeting at PAAL. The Camera Club meets every month on the fourth Thursday at the art league with an estimated 28–29 people attending. The format of the meetings generally begins with announcements, a presentation, break and voting for the monthly Photo Challenge Contest, showing members’ photos at the meetings, and breaking into three classes. The classes are free and are Beginner/Novice, Intermediate, and D/SLR. The Club occasionally conducts photographic events such as tours of Old Towne Petersburg or a walk along the Petersburg section of the Appomattox River. At the end of the July meeting John Rooney retired as President and is now the Immediate Past President after completing ten years of service to the Club. John is still working hard behind the scenes. The Cockade City Camera Club heartily thanks the Petersburg Area Art League for all their support.

And in the Members Gallery…Popotillo Straw Art

Martin Gonzalez, owner of La Milpa, is an artist who produces the pre-Columbian art of popotillo. It is an art form produced with colored straw from Mexico.

Generally, art straw dates back to the Han Dynasty in China. In Mexico, however, it is believed that this type of art originated with the Aztecs, who used decorative feathers to adorn their shields, resorting to an earlier form when the birds that they used became extinct. During the mid-twentieth century Popotillo art became very popular in Mexico, and today you can find workshops that offer instruction and sales in several places in the Western world.

Popotillo artisans build a mosaic from millet straw color individually pressing down on a special form of beeswax known as Cera de Campeche, that has been applied to a board of some sort. During the creation of the artwork, the temperature of the wax must remain between 143 and 149 degrees Fahrenheit, to ensure that the board is easily covered. The technique used to dye the straw used in Popotillo is unique. The straw, which has been collected from the plains, should be given an acid bath after having been cleaned, in order to improve the quality and vitality of the color and dye once applied. Popoteros, or artisans, dye a great amount of straw for their project using vegetables or aniline dyes.

August’s Friday for the Arts: Henry Kidd

Opening August 9 in the Main Gallery, will be art by Henry Kidd.

A nationally known historical artist, Kidd is a lifelong resident of Colonial Heights. He graduated from Virginia State University with a BS in Art Education. His artwork has appeared in documentaries and on the covers of books and magazines. He has previously displayed in museums such as West Point, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Museum of the Confederacy.

Some of his awards and accomplishments are as follows: he received a National Red Cross Award in 1991 from Elizabeth Dole, President of the American Red Cross, for Desert Storm artwork which raised thousands of dollars for our fighting forces and their families. He also raised $25,000 for September 11th victims through the sale of his artwork, ‘America’s Heroes,’ and was recognized by the Virginia General Assembly with a Joint House and Senate Resolution for artwork and efforts aiding September 11th victims. He was nominated for the Michael Shaara Award for his novel ‘Petersburg, War on the Doorsteps,’ and is the official artist for the 150th anniversary of the battles of Gettysburg and Cloyd’s Mountain.

An avid Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactor, Kidd portrays Confederate General Lewis Armistead at the Gettysburg Reenactments. He has also been an extra in several movies, such as Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, and Lincoln.

While continuing to create historical artwork, Kidd works part time as a historical tour guide in Richmond and Petersburg. He is also the co-owner of Side Street Gallery in Colonial Heights, Va.

July’s Friday for the Arts!

The July PAAL Art Exhibit in the Main Gallery will feature members of the Central Virginia Art League, including work by Susan Buzzee, Cynthia Profitt Cornett, Marie Crites, Judy Harris, Jerry Harvey, Pat Harvey, Faye Henderson, Milly Youngblood Horner, Julie Northcott, and Carole Santa Maria.

The  Central Virginia Art League (CVAL) is an inclusive, energizing, welcoming, and teaching art group in Central Virginia that encourages artists of all mediums and genres to make and display their art through art shows, workshops, and fellowship.  The Art League meets at Sidestreet Gallery in Colonial Heights, at 11:00 a.m. on the 4th Friday of every month.  Those interested in learning more about CVAL can do so by emailing Pat Harvey at

The Members Galley will feature Johanna Stoneking. Her roots in creative endeavors go back to childhood, when she took art classes and ultimately became interested in photography. Johanna has incorporated a general environmental theme in her sculpture pieces, landscape and creative photography.

One 8-foot high piece, Oceans’ Plastic, symbolizes the problems caused by pollution. Johanna is pictured here with that piece, made of discarded plastic items. It’s an example of the aquatic life in the floating plastic islands.  

Stoneking has exhibited and won awards at Fairmont State University, Wheeling Jesuit University, Morgantown WV’s Last Night/First Night, Clarksburg WV’s Art League Gallery, Stonewall Jackson Festival, Petersburg Area Art League Gallery and Regional Arts Center, Richmond’s ArtWorks Gallery, JCC Weinstein’s Center, Crossroads’ Gallery and its online gallery. Also she was juried into and won in the Photography Society of America and the International Epson Panoramic photography contests.

Johanna Stoneking.jpeg

And upstairs, in the Members Gallery, Svetlana Sevostyanchik Exhibits Work For First Time in the USA

Svetlana Sevostyanchik was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1964. Her path has covered many roads. It began in science and business, but later in life she chose to follow her passion and dreams from childhood - to paint! Svetlana is also an art instructor. She has successfully completed 8 International Exhibitions in both Kiev, and Lviv, Ukraine. 

Einstein and Dali Sublimation, by Svetlana Sevostyanchik

Einstein and Dali Sublimation, by Svetlana Sevostyanchik

Sevostyanchik loves displaying her work to her friends in the comfort of her own home. She invites those who acquire her work to experience the joy she feels in creating art. To Sevostyanchik, it is very important to keep the inner child at hand. She believes that one should always attack life with the exuberance and excitement of a child by not placing limitations on their dreams. Her ultimate goal is for her work to inspire motion in those who have the opportunity to experience it. 

Sevostyanchik’s painting style, according to the Academy of Arts of Ukraine, is defined as emotional expressionism. This is sometimes achieved at the expense of sharpened, grotesque, and deliberate deformation of the typical architypal forms. Her creations apply intensive saturation, combined with chaotic placement of objects, and tell an emotional story of vision. The subjects are derived from everyday life, folklore, mythology, history, religion, and imagination.

June Friday for the Arts!

This month we have a lot going on!

In the Main Gallery, Three Faces of Art: Cynthia Profitt Cornett with Jerry and Pat Harvey

Jerry and Pat live in Chester with four cats, two Mini Coopers, a 100-year old gold harp, and a desire to “Unleash their creative Kraakens.” After 30 years as an Army dentist, Jerry transferred his skills at the dental chair into building useful, affordable art and furniture from exotic woods.  He has won several awards for his furniture and wood turnings, which are warm and touchable. After 30 years as a college administrator and instructor, Pat has fully embraced her eccentricity by creating abstract and fantasy art in her home studio.

Cynthia Cornett is an award winning artist from the Richmond area. Her colorful paintings show a distinctive personal style which expresses the vibrant spirit of her world through ink and photography. Cynthia is self taught and believes you can do and create anything if you put in time and practice. Her artwork can be found at Artworks and has been accepted into shows at Crossroads Gallery, Artworks Gallery, For Art Sake Gallery and the JCC of Greater Richmond.

All three artists are members of the Central Virginia Art League, and share Studio #106 at Art Works in Richmond.

Above the Clouds, by Pat Harvey

Above the Clouds, by Pat Harvey

by Cynthia Cornett

by Cynthia Cornett

Deco Table, by Jerry Harvey

Deco Table, by Jerry Harvey


This May, PAAL presents the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology 14th Annual Spring Show. The opening reception is Friday, May 10, 5–8pm. The show will feature the students’ ceramics, drawing, fashion, graphic design, painting, photography, and sculpture. The works will present a variety of styles that range from figurative to abstract, and will represent traditional and innovative uses of materials. We hope to see you there!


April’s Friday for the Arts!

For April we will be showing the work of Steve Harris. The exhibit features sculptures and drawings. The elements of everyday life inspire Harris in his artwork. He is influenced by the works of Michelangelo, Rodin and Da Vinci. A story, sometimes generated by current events, revolves around each piece. The drawings on exhibit include mixed media of pencil, watercolor, ink pen, and tempera. His latest sculpture centers around his young grandsons' favorite puppets coming to life.

Harris uses the subtractive method in creating the sculptures, carving from a solid block of plaster and tempera. Using a variety of tools, including dental tools for fine details, the works take from 50 to 700 hours to complete. As many as 30 figures are represented in some sculptures.

Harris has been featured in one man shows at The Last Stop Gallery, Richmond; Meredith Gallery, VSU; Petersburg Area Art League Gallery; Hampton University and local public libraries. He has also exhibited in juried shows in Richmond, the Tidewater Area, Tri-City Area and in Northern Virginia where he won numerous Best -in-Show and First Place Awards.

Harris taught middle school art in Chesterfield County for 35 years and was awarded Art Teacher of the Year. During his teaching career, he also coached track and volleyball. Following retirement, he taught design at VSU for two years. A native of Williamsburg, Harris received a BS in Fine Arts at Virginia State University and a Masters in Education degree also from VSU.


George Fatseas

For our March show in the Main Gallery, we will be showing the abstract paintings of George Fatseas. Currently an abstract artist, George’s medium is oil paint. Before his epiphany about a year ago, he was an impressionist, expressionist, realist, portraitist and more. What has always been a constant is his use of color to define paintings and elicit emotions. Many of George’s recent paintings have been triptych canvases where he uses color to tie the three panels together. 

George had some formal training in college and continued to paint upon graduation. Years went by when he didn’t have the time or energy to paint, but he continued his studies through videos and online seminars. About twenty years ago, he had more time and energy and he started to paint in earnest; putting to canvas the backlog of cerebral creations.

George retired a few years ago and has started his full time job as an artist. He states, “I have always been an artist in my heart, and now I get to live my dream of painting all the images in my brain that accumulated when I couldn’t paint. I’m loving every minute of it”.


From Our Permanent Collection

This month, PAAL will exhibit a selection from its Permanent Collection. Many of the works on display were acquired through purchase prizes at PAAL's long-running Poplar Lawn Art Festival, in its heyday one of the outstanding art festivals on the East Coast. The festival took place at one end of Garden Week in Virginia, and the Prince George Heritage Fair took place at the other end. Sometimes the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra performed in the park during the weekend. It cries out for revival.

Some scenes from January's Friday for the Arts

In the main gallery, we had an exhibit of art by Jared Barr. Here are some images:

Upstairs, The Petersburg Area Mental Health Arts Collective

 Since October of 2015, PAAL has been hosting approximately 15-20 adult clients from the Petersburg area on a bi-weekly basis. The clients come together to create and display visual art. This opportunity invites individuals to feel free to engage in a pursuit of self-discovery and then create an inspired physical product that represents that journey. The main focus is on identifying a common ground. In this environment, we make it a point to replace the word “patient” or “client” with “artist.” This initiative has been very successful and has engaged artists from various mental health agencies in the Tri-Cities area.  The artists engage in painting, sculpture, jewelry making, coloring, DIY projects, journaling, photography, scrapbooking and other artistic activities.  In other words, the world of art is at their disposal. 

The artists have thoroughly benefited from the Collective. The counselors and “helpers” have personally seen a change in each and every one of them for the better.  During one of their first public shows at the Petersburg Area Art League, the artists were ecstatic and overwhelmed with satisfaction to see their work on display. One artist in particular said that seeing his artwork on the wall made him feel “energized”.  Another artist said that she felt “joy” when her friends and family came to see her work on display. These might appear to be simple words, but they are in actuality, emotional gems. Mental health issues can be debilitating, leaving the victim with only a few options for healing and recovery. With this program in place, these artists now have an even better chance at inclusion and community engagement. Here are some images from that show:

The narrative above was written by Bryant Pugh, former PAAL Board member and Founder/Director of the Petersburg Area Mental Health Arts Collective. Bryant’s busy work schedule has limited his time to devote to the Collective, but the program continues to thrive with the help of counselors from District 19 and other mental health agencies, who transport their clients to the sessions and stay and work with them on their various projects. Special guest artists from PAAL and the area community often present projects to the clients, as well. PAAL member Iris Schwartz is presently serving as the Coordinator of the Collective and performs live music on her flute and recorder while the clients work on their art. She often engages them in sing a longs and helps to get them in the spirit of the various upcoming holidays. The clients are also provided with snacks, sweets and various hot drinks during their 90 minute sessions. The responses from the clients are always positive and uplifting! Expressions like, “this is the best day of my life” and “I love being here” are often heard as they are leaving. The Arts Collective will be presenting an exhibit of their artwork in PAAL’s Members’ Gallery on January 11, 2019 for Friday for the Arts. 

The 39th Annual Trees of Christmas


On December 14, for Friday for the Arts, PAAL will host the 39th Annual Trees of Christmas. Come see the trees by Alibi Resturant; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Boulevard Flowers; Brith Achim; Clean Sweep; Cockade City Camera Club; Crater District Agency on Aging; Curl Up or Dye; Colonial Honda; David Emory Designs; Dinwiddie Health and Rehab; District 19 Community Services; Forgotten Tails; GFWC Swift Creek Woman’s Club; Owen Printing; Petersburg City Schools; Petersburg High School; Petersburg Links; Petersburg Schools Language Instruction Ed. Program; Petersburg Sheriffs Department; Runaway Dish; Southside Regional Medical Center; Theatre for Children; Therapeutic Massage; Tri-Cities Continental Societies; Joyce Tucker, The Oak; Virginia Commonwealth Bank; Virginia State University; Walnut Hill Elementary School; and the Wilcox Watershed Conservancy.

Vote for your favorite!

And please thank our sponsors: McCray Electric Company, Buttermilk Bakeshop, David and Una Harrison, Partin Home Inspections LLC, Suzanne Vaughan and the Wilcox Watershed Conservancy.

Friday for the Arts, November 9, 2018

Nan Jones

November 9–January 5

This Friday for the Arts we have the privilege of showing the work of Nan Jones. Nan was instrumental in the formation of PAAL in the 1930s, and without her PAAL would not have the permanent home at 7 E Old St. Join us this Friday, November 9th between 6:00 -9:00 and view this historic collection of works.