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Todd Price of Elk Creek is the winner of the People's Choice Award for the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts' “Memories: The Blue Ridge Parkway in Retrospect” juried art show, which exhibited mid-April through mid-June in the lobby at CCSA.
The exhibit was in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway and was part of the celebration of the art school's grand opening in April.
The opening of the art school kicked off with a black-tie gala on April 16, attended by more than 250 people, and featured this first exhibit with dozens of art pieces honoring the parkway.
The exhibit included a collection of metaphorical or literal artworks pertaining to the parkway, showcasing not only the scenic beauty, but the people and their craft who have contributed to the arts and cultural heritage of the communities along the parkway.
Visitors to the exhibit were encouraged to vote for their favorite piece through mid-June, Price received 35 out of more than 200 votes for the People's Choice Award for his oil painting “Peaceful Parkway,” depicting a deer grazing through the hills of the parkway with a full backdrop of blue-tinted mountains and a colorful sky.
A few months ago, as he was traveling the parkway returning from Washington, D.C. to Galax on his wife's birthday, Price said the rain had just stopped and the sun peeked through the clouds. He captured a picture at Pinnacles of Dan to paint the same scene on canvas.
Price said this painting was done specifically for CCSA's parkway exhibit. “I wanted to come up with a representation of the parkway and convey the emotions that had been evoked in me.
“To me, this is a significant award because it is the people's choice, and it's humbling that they chose my piece. I'm thankful people viewed my painting and liked it.”
With family ties to the area, he would visit Galax from Ohio often when he was a young boy, and remembers stopping several times at Fox Hunter's Paradise on the parkway to take in the scenic beauty with his uncle, Price said of his own memories of the parkway.
Price moved to Elk Creek in 1993, starting his own business, Sign Works, to design handcrafted, custom signs. His fine art pieces have been exhibited throughout the region, and his signs are featured prominently in Galax, such as the city entrance signs and signs for city departments, like the recreation center.
In 2004, he designed the Blue Ridge Veterans Memorial that is to be constructed beside the Galax Public Library when enough funds are raised.
Price's father was an artist and an art educator, “and I've never been anything but an artist,” he said. Price discovered art when he accompanied his father to an art studio for classes and to the Akron Beacon Journal, where his father worked as an advertising artist.
His apprenticeship to his father taught him the fundamentals of design, he said. Price earned an associate degree in visual communications and fine art from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
With his children being home-schooled, he has taught several children about the arts and plans to teach drawing and painting at CCSA in September and October.
“I believe so strongly in Chestnut Creek School of the Arts,” said Price. “And whether I'm designing the veterans' memorial, signs or creating a piece of art, I try to find ways to use my talents to express myself, and I'm tickled to be making a living at it. The art school is a good place to draw, learn the basics and learn anything.
“Drawing is my language, and it feels good that I can convey it to others.”
Halide Salam, professor of art at Radford University, judged the art show entries, giving awards to regional artists in several categories the night of the gala. Among the juried show winners were:
• Rebecca Friend for Best in Show with black and white photograph “Winter Place” and second place in the photography category with “Fog”
• Larry Petrie, first place in the photography category with “Lock”
• Brett LaGue, first place in oil/acrylic category with painting “Ridge”
• Bob Lazo, second place in oil/acrylic category with painting “Yummy”
• Paula Melton, first place in water media category with painting “Doughton Park II”
• Lynn Alderman, second place in water media category with “Early Fall”
• Chuck D'Arezzo, first place in sculpture category with “Parkway Dragonfly”
• Russell Rigsbee, second place in sculpture category with “Head with Attitude.”
Price will teach introduction to drawing on Thursdays, Sept. 16 through Oct. 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Cost is $80.
On Thursdays from Sept. 16 through Oct. 7 from 4-5 p.m., Price will teach introduction to drawing for kids. Cost is $40.
An introduction to drawing workshop will be held Oct. 16 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $60.
For more information or to sign up for a class, visit chestnutcreekarts.org or call 236-3500.