By Visit Loudoun
Gorgeous green hills, stone-fenced country lanes, farm fields dotted with red barns bathed in ethereal light—much of Loudoun looks like an oil painting, so it’s no small wonder so many artists have made the county their home. Increasingly, Loudoun businesses—galleries, parks, restaurants, even office buildings—are also showcasing and promoting that work, adding to the creative energy.
“The foothills of the Blue Ridge really refresh the human spirit,” said Susan Byrne, founder-owner of Middleburg’s Byrne Gallery, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in November. “There’s something inspirational about being here and we love to exhibit work that demonstrates that.”
Byrne’s gallery has hosted more than 500 local and international artists over the years, and this month unveils “April Allegro,” an exhibition of landscape and still life oil paintings from Virginia based artist and aeronautical engineer Robert Thoren. “Bob has the light, classical brushstroke of a great Impressionist,” said Byrne. “Loudoun residents will recognize our landscapes in his work.”
Of course, it’s not only artists who are drawn to Loudoun. Pulitzer-winning writers Larry McMurtry (“Lonesome Dove”), Geraldine Brooks (“March”) and Russell Baker (“Growing Up”) all lived in Loudoun. This creative combination—art and literature—is the theme of “Literature to Life,” a four-week exhibition at Franklin Park Arts Center in which Loudoun artists bring the written word of local authors and poets to life with original artwork.
“We’ve been supporting and engaging local artists across multiple genres since before COVID and this exhibition is a way to connect visual artists with local authors,” said FPAC Managing Director Elizabeth Bracey. Running until April 25, the exhibition will feature work in any medium and each piece will be accompanied by a notation from the passage of the book, poem or play referred to.
From gallery to public park to government offices: the first-floor lobby and hallway of Leesburg Town Hall frequently features rotating exhibits. In April and May, see the landscape and animal paintings of Antonia Plazibat in an exhibition titled, “Near and Far: Journeys in Watercolor.” Up the road, the popular Wine Kitchen restaurant has been displaying pieces by Leesburg artist Amanda Cioffi who works with alternative photographic processes, mainly cyanotype. Cioffi’s work will be shown at small local boutique ETC! in Round Hill April 23-25.
You don’t have to wait for an exhibition or show to see fine Loudoun art. Celebrated landscape painters Antonia Walker and Katherine Riedel sell their exquisite work from their studios in Waterford, while the Leesburg Arts & Cultural District incorporates more than a dozen galleries, studios and public works of art all within walking distance of each other in the historic downtown.
Happy art hunting.