Virginia’s First Lady visits Farmville

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2022

FARMVILLE – The town of Farmville drew some attention from the Youngkin administration last week. On Thursday, Aug. 18, Virginia’s First Lady Suzanne Youngkin took a tour of the Longwood Center for Visual Arts (LCVA). Mrs. Youngkin spent two hours at the museum, going through the exhibits and learning more about what the operation does. 

Getting on the schedule for Virginia’s First Lady is a process, one that takes a bit of time. LCVA Community Engagement Director Lisa Tharpe started the conversations in May, after meeting Mrs. Youngkin in Richmond. 

“I was determined to get her to the LCVA,” Tharpe said, “to see our incredible local and Ukrainian youth art exhibitions.” 

The Ukrainian pieces came in thanks to an international project. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Anastasiia Cifers traveled with her husband Luther throughout the country to aid fellow citizens in their escape to Poland.  Once in Warsaw, where housing and care was provided, the Cifers gave the children art supplies so that they might process their pain, anxiety, and confusion through art. 

Every evening these children – all under the age of 14 – created works of art to find some sense of comfort during a traumatic and violent time. The Longwood Center for Visual Arts now has some of that artwork, more than 250 pieces, on display. 

The First Lady’s take

Mrs. Youngkin said she enjoyed her time in town, reflecting on the need for artistic expression. 

“The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts is a stand-out contributor to Virginia’s vibrant arts culture,” Youngkin said. “While visiting, I saw works produced by pre-school to grade 12 youth that were part of the Commonwealth’s largest youth art competition, creations by Longwood Life’s special needs adults, and drawings and paintings created by displaced, Ukrainian refugee children. The experience underscored the therapeutic and life-enriching benefits of artistic creation and expression.” 

Tharpe said the success of the First Lady’s visit made all the hard work and effort worth it. 

Working with the Youngkin team was a pure joy,” she added. “Mrs Youngkin said many times on Thursday how much she enjoyed seeing the impressive art, meeting some of our local local leaders, and spending time at the LCVA. I am sure she’ll be back for another visit.” 

For more about LCVA’s “My Ukraine” exhibit, click here.