Art school will 'Rock the Block' on Saturday

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Among other events, Galax will go "Gaga" over creative costume contest.

By April Wright, Reporter


With a rocking chair auction, a rock-painting activity and a rockin’ Lady Gaga costume contest and open jam session, Chestnut Creek School of the Arts will be “Rockin’ the Block”  on Saturday from 1-5 p.m. in downtown Galax.
The events also serve as a kickoff to raise funds for the school through the launch of its “Friends Campaign.”
Rockin’ the Block is free and open to the public. It will also feature bake sales, artists demonstrating their craft, children’s activities, a student gallery display, food and more.
“Through Rockin’ the Block, we want to show that art is for everyone,” said CCSA Director Chris Shackelford.
When visitors arrive, they can visit CCSA Friends tables and pick up a passport. As they visit artists and activity stations, the passport gets marked to show they were there. When passports are fully marked, visitors can drop them in a drawing box for a chance to win free CCSA classes.
Festival-goers should plan ahead to enter the Lady Gaga-inspired costume contest to be held at the Grayson Street Stage at 4 p.m. The contest is open to everyone, and participants can sign up for a Lady Gaga look-alike contest the day of the event.
Winners will receive a $100 gift card for Rue 21 and Twin County Cinema tickets.
Her style might be eccentric and outlandish, said Shackelford, but Lady Gaga also provides inspiration. Her bizarre sense of style sparks an interest to create, and this allows festival-goers to show off their Gaga-inspired pieces.
“Lady Gaga is creative, talented, manages every aspect of her business and is a humanitarian,” said Shackelford. “This contest is about expression of one’s creativity.”
Local artists have transformed ordinary rocking chairs into original art, up for live auction at the Grayson Street stage during intermission at the costume contest.
Rockin’ the Block drawing boxes will be available at the painting station on Grayson Street for people to enter for a chance to paint a rocking chair. Chairs painted during the event are up for silent auction beginning at 4 p.m.
In tune with the rockin’ theme, visitors can bring a smooth river rock, and CCSA instructors will show how to turn it into a work of art.
During the CCSA Friends Campaign launch, patrons are encouraged to sign up to become one of  the Founding Friends.
Festival-goers can become a Friend (individual, $20 per year; family, $40 per year), a Working Friend by volunteering 100 hours a year, or upgrade to Founding Friends Status, a one-time offer this year (individual, $35; family, $65). This campaign represents an annual giving campaign that offsets ongoing operational costs.
A contribution will give donors the knowledge “that you’re a part of a larger effort, emphasizing the importance of arts, creativity and the preservation of the rich tapestry that is our cultural,” said Shackelford.
Patrons will receive a 20 percent discount on tuition.
Since Sept. 10, 2010, CCSA has had more than 5,550 visitors — an average of 700 visitors per month.
Volunteer guest services have provided 6,000 hours since April 2010 — an equivalent of 200 hours per month.
The school also hosted 528 students this year, up from 356 in 2010.
This year, CCSA also received the Leadership Development Award from Blue Ridge Crest; the Dominion ArtsStars “Rising Star” Award; and has had visits from Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. George Allen, former Gov. Tim Kaine and Ralph Smith.
CCSA will also be the presenter at the Creative Economy Conference this month.