‘Longwood at its finest’

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Members of the Farmville community decked out in gowns, suits, and enjoyed area artwork, food and dancing during the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) gala held Saturday at the Blackwell Ballroom at Longwood University.

In various rooms, participants could view and bid for 68 paintings, photographs, mixed media and other forms of artwork from area artists.

Participants used a mobile bidding service, the app OneCause, where participants can competitively text bids for a product and pay for a product once the winner was announced.

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A selection of curated books was also available for bidding. The books were chosen by author Donna Tartt.

The ballroom was decorated with flowers, delicately assembled finger foods and pineapples.

The band, En’Novation, played energetic music and ballads onstage.

Megan Miller, who headed the assembly of the decorations, said the gala organizers wanted to convey a sense of hospitality, and a sense of home, for the event.

“I wanted it to have a feel like you’re walking into someone’s room,” Miller said. She said the flowers for the event came from Rochette’s Florist.

Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV spoke during the event and thanked community sponsors and various departments at the university and art gallery for making the event a night to remember.

“This is Longwood at its finest,” Reveley said after the address.

LCVA Communications Director Lisa Tharpe said the gala raised more than $150,000, primarily through community support, even before the live and silent auctions.

“I can’t say enough about the local businesses, patrons,” Tharpe said, thanking the community for its support.

She said the gallery is open seven days a week and serves 14 counties.

The LCVA, according to the event brochure, is “a collaborative forum for students and faculty of Longwood University and the people of South Central Virginia to explore visual art and its relevance to everyday life.”

During the event, members of En’Novation sang for LCVA Director Rachel Ivers as it was her birthday Saturday.

Den Cralle with Green Front Furniture, a sponsor of the gala, spoke during the event and said the LCVA and Green Front have worked to bring people from around the United States. He said he hopes the community’s efforts can put Farmville on the map.

“I really appreciate being with an organization that promotes and showcases beauty,” Cralle said about the gallery. “I think both of us are going to help make downtown become the culture hub we all want Farmville to be, and I think we also have a lot of positive momentum with everything from the Vice Presidential Debate to the new restaurants, the hotel, I think there’s just some really good vibes going down in Farmville.”

Farmville Town Mayor David Whitus attended the event and said he enjoyed seeing the community support.

The Benefit Committee Chairpersons, Tammy and Mark Southall, spoke about their experience encouraging others to embrace the gallery’s impact.

“If everybody can reach that one person, it’s wonderful,” Mark Southall said.