A Work of Art, A Work in Progress—Blacksburg Regional Art Association (BRAA) is an all-volunteer association located in the developing Blacksburg Arts District. The association was founded in 1950 as a community art club made up of general faculty and artists for the enjoyment and appreciation of the arts. The original founders included Dean Carter and Lucy Lee Lancaster. Mr. Carter, a Professor Emeritus of the Virginia Tech Art Department, is still an active member of the association and continues sculpting. In 2010, BRAA celebrated its 60th anniversary in its new home at the Community Arts Information Office.
Blacksburg Regional Art Association offers an exquisite array of galleries and programs for any art connoisseur. Currently, there are 10 community galleries available for public viewing including Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea and Blacksburg Municipal Building. Of course, the association houses pieces at the CAIO gallery on 149 College Avenue. Community gallery shows encourage sales with no commission. In addition, the association hosts several group/juried shows including “Expressions” for members, “New River Art” a regional juried show, and a themed show for local artists, with VT Community Arts Work. Apart from exhibitions, BRAA provides ample workshops. For example, each year BRAA hosts workshops by Virginia Museum teachers at Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Riner, and Eastern Montgomery high schools. A workshop by nationally celebrated artist Carrie Burns Brown will be offered.
As an all-volunteer association, BRAA strives to recruit a diversified pool of members. Its mission is to make quality art events affordable, attractive, and accessible to our members and the community, and to inspire, encourage and support one another while joyfully exploring the arts. Membership is open to individuals, families, students and exhibiting artists. Artists wishing to become BRAA Exhibiting Artists or to sell work must complete a jury process in order to show unsupervised. More information on membership can be found here: http://www.blacksburgart.org/membership/memfly2010.pdf.
Where is Blacksburg Regional Art Association going next? Dr. Leslye Bloom states, “[BRAA] has been a work in progress for the past 60 years and probably will be for the next 60 years. It reflects the diverse mix of people passionate about community service and fine and performing arts.” From working to establish arts in elementary schools, to establishing “art friendly” zoning in the planned arts district, the association works to promote community arts. In terms of members, the association welcomes all ages, media, and levels of experience – from professional to beginner. Appreciators and collectors are welcome too.
To learn more about BRAA or find out about upcoming exhibits, visit: www.blacksburgart.org.