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Beverley Street Studio School

Mission: Beverley Street Studio School’s (BSSS) mission is to provide the community a variety of opportunities to explore the world of visual art through practice, professional instruction, and contact with working artists.

Community Need: The latest Staunton Tourism Market Research study conducted in 2014 shows that 25% (the largest sector) of Staunton visitors are retirees between the ages of 54 and 71. In both Staunton and Waynesboro, those 65 and older make up the second largest sector of population, surpassed only by those ages 35-54.  The BSSS sees the engagement of this demographic as extremely important to the region’s economy and overall health, offering a place for these active art and culture enthusiasts to learn, engage, and create a meaningful community with other likeminded individuals. This form of engagement not only helps to attract this demographic to the region but keeps them as active members of society long past their retirement years. Seven percent of members live in assisted living facilities and find the community at BSSS absolutely fundamental to their quality of life. Art impacts, inspires, heals, and encourages a healthier way of life in those of all ages. The skills learned, the conversations had, and the dynamic community built offer a unique resource to the community’s largest demographic.

Constituents Served: BSSS welcomes those of all ages and skill levels to participate in programs and enjoy art exhibitions. 2017 Participation: Classes/workshops (315); Conversations About Art (248); Open Session (309); Travel Study (53); Peer Critiques (52); Gallery Exhibition Openings (638); Gallery and off-shite exhibits: open to the general public; Book Club (53); Paint Staunton Day (54); The Artist’s Palate Dinner (60).  2017 student/participants age range: 40% 65 and older, 30% 51-64, 20% 31-50, and 10% ages 6-30.  Scholarships are offered to cover up to 75% of tuition cost for applicants who prove a financial need and a sponsorship pogrom allows for Mary Baldwin University students to attend a class free of charge when paid student minimums have not been reached.

Primary Activities: The BSSS distinguishes itself from other art organizations in the region by offering year round, non-degree, college-level art classes and workshops to students of all learning levels. Subjects include drawing; sketching; printmaking; art history; and acrylic, oil, and watercolor painting. Class sizes are intentionally kept small so that instructors can work with each student on an individual basis. BSSS instructors include artists, art historians, and critics who are highly esteemed, professional and experienced educators.

In addition to the core curriculum and as part of the School’s mission to make art accessible to the community, BSSS offers: an art gallery with eight annual rotating exhibits by professional guest artists, instructors and students; several offsite exhibit opportunities (partnering with local businesses to supply quality art for their store front); a high quality Travel Study program which includes local, national, and international trips; the biennial Queen City Plein Air Festival; the annual Paint Staunton Day; year-round Open Session figure drawing; Spring and Fall Conversations About Art speaker series; and numerous free community programs including monitored art discussions, art history lectures, and peer critiques.

Amount Requested: $3,500

 Operating Budget: $187,976

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