The Purcellville Town Council this week recognized Elizabeth Bracey for her years of leadership in Loudoun’s art scene. 

The managing director of the Franklin Park Visual and Performing Arts Center was presented with the Jim “Doc” Wiley Leadership in the Arts Award.

Among the accomplishments highlighted by town leaders was Bracey’s work to organize the late 2019 Bob Ross exhibit, the first showing of original Bob Ross paintings on the East Coast. During the monthlong exhibition, more than 15,000 people visited the arts center. 

Mayor Kwasi Fraser also cited her work to continue to support artists and performers during the pandemic.

“Elizabeth is dedicated to bringing visual and performing arts to people who live in and visit Purcellville,” said Mayor Kwasi Fraser. “… When faced with the challenges of 2020, she continued to give local artists opportunities to be featured and bring joy to those looking for a cultural experience through Facebook live features and in-person events that follow all of the safety protocols.”

Bracey said the COVID-19 restrictions during the past year living has shown how essential the performing and visual arts are.

“Despite quarantines, isolations, social distancing and shutdowns, the arts continue to keep us connected to one another.  The shared experiences, even through computer screens, have brought joy and laughter when we needed it the most,” she said.

The Purcellville Arts Council created the award in 2018 to recognize outstanding, sustained contributions by individuals and organizations to the Purcellville culture and arts. It is named for James Wiley, former Town Council member and longtime town dentist and supporter of art and artists. 

The Arts Council will soon be soliciting nominations for this year’s award.