ABINGDON, VA – Barter Theatre kicked off the 2012 regional events for MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Children and the Arts on March 15 with a public reception, a performance of A Tale of Two Cities, and the recognition of nominated individuals who have made significant contributions in the lives of children and the arts in Southwest Virginia.
• David Alford, artistic director of Barter Theatre's Youth Academy
• Katy Brown, artistic director of The Barter Players, which presents classic theatre for kids of all ages
• Lindsey Holderfield, for her commitment with children and the arts in the community, including her work at William King Museum
• Kayla Kiser, for her dedication to teaching young children the art of dance and for being a great role model
• Sue Ella Boatwright-Wells of Mountain Music School has given children the opportunity to connect with Master Musical Artists so they can learn from each other and about the music of our region
• Bonnie Elosser, for her work with Pro-Arts in Wise County
• Tommy Edwards, for his tireless work to promote mental health awareness and the healing value of the arts.
• Megan Atkinson, artist-in-residence at Abingdon High School
• Peter & Christina Holland, who have brought songwriting to students and created theatre venues for children in Patrick County
• Jan Thompson, for encouraging students to achieve great things. Her 9:00 Club will present its 16th musical this year.
• Catherine DeCaterina, the creator and executive director of Bristol Children's Theatre (now called Theatre Bristol), which played to as many as 30,000 kids from 21 surrounding counties and neighboring states
• Beth McCoy and Jane Morison, Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy
• Ellen Elmes, for her work with children in Tazewell County and her assistance in creating a strong art department at Southwest Virginia Community College
• Bristol's Art in Public Places, for hosting an Artistic Excellence Competition for local high school students in conjunction with the Minds Wide Open initiative
• Bristol's Arts & Entertainment District, for its Summer Camp, "Who ART You?"
• Bristol Ballet, which has a long history of providing professional ballet training to area youth
• Theatre Bristol, which has provided opportunities for children through entertainment and education throughout the years
• William King Museum's Education Dept., which ties children's programming with the Museum's exhibits and provides classes, camps, and activities for area children
• Richlands Citizens for the Arts, for providing cultural and educational opportunities for citizens of the Richlands/Tazewell County area
"We were happy to recognize these individuals and organizations that have worked so hard to bring the arts to the lives of children throughout the region," said Robyn Raines, advancement officer for Barter Theatre, "In addition to those individuals and organizations that were recognized on Thursday, there are many, many other people and organizations in Southwest Virginia working hard to promote the arts to our children."
MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Children and the Arts will include thousands of special events and programs offered between March and June of 2012. Events include plays, choreography, compositions, and exhibitions of paintings, photography or films that have been created by children, feature children as the primary focus, or can be educational or entertaining for children and their families. This celebration is a collaboration of hundreds of participating artists and cultural organizations and is a demonstration of the breadth and diversity of arts and culture across the Commonwealth.
For a list of events and more information about MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Children and the Arts, visit http://artsva.org.