"(Artists) are still here. We are still working. We will thrive, with the help and support of our community." (Leslie Scott-Jones)
Since launching the Charlottesville Emergency Relief Fund for Artists with The Bridge on March 20, we have disbursed $22,825 to 80 Charlottesville-area artists.(as of April 24, 2020). The nearly 150 qualifying Cville Emergency Relief Fund for Artist applicants represent a broad range of disciplines—ranging from painting to spoken word and from dance to sculpture—and enrich our community daily with their creative practices. Below, meet a few of the artists who have been supported by the Fund.
Leslie M. Scott-Jones is an African-American southern woman from Virginia, encompassing all that entails. She studied theater education at VCU. Leslie has been writing, acting and directing since her teens. She is a proud mother of two amazing children. The world premiere of her first play Desire Moments was part of the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival. She has gone on to write several plays, novellas, and short stories. Book Ends, her first full length novel, hit the shelves Valentine’s Day Weekend 2016. Leslie has been active in Charlottesville community theater for over ten years. She is the Artistic Director of the Charlottesville Player’s Guild and most recently starring in Hambone and directing Jitney by August Wilson at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center, which the Guild calls home. Leslie played Louise in Seven Guitars by August Wilson which ran in November 2017 with UVa.’s Drama Department. Leslie is the co-founder of EugeneMartin LLC, an artist development firm in Charlottesville, Va. She is mother to two children and Mimi to two grandsons.
"During the pandemic quarantine, EugeneMartin has been busy planning our next step. Several gigs planned were cancelled making daily survival difficult. Being an artist and making my primary living from artistic endeavors for the past two years, the loss of income has been more than difficult. EM, LLC is continuing its commitment to education through personal and group classes we offer. The help given to artists including me has been invaluable to keep going through this tough time. We are still here. We are still working. We will thrive, with the help and support of our community. Check us out at eugenemartinllc.wordpress.com for more information."
Lowland Hum is an art-folk duo formed by husband and wife, Daniel and Lauren Goans. Known for their poetic songwriting and minimal but dynamic arrangements, they've gathered critical praise from NPR, Billboard, American Songwriter, The Washington Post and others.
The two are busy in quarantine writing and sending custom songs of love and friendship through their Send-A-Song service, keeping up with their Patreon community, and going live daily at noon eastern for their brief “Lunchtime w/ Lowland Hum” performances on Instagram live and every Thursday night at 8pm eastern for a full length concert on facebook live. They are also working on a body of new original songs during this unprecedented time, and will be releasing an EP of cover songs this June called Singing Other People’s Love Songs, which can be pre-ordered on bandcamp here.
During this challenging time they are so grateful for organizations like New City Arts Initiative for helping to supplement income lost due to cancellations and quarantine. The Relief Fund for Artists enables artists like them to focus on how they can keep making and sharing within the particular limitations of this moment.
Born in Vietnam and migrated to the United States as a teenager, Phuong Duyen Nguyen is interested in exploring her identity and experiences as an immigrant in her work. She graduated from UVa in 2015 with a degree in Art History and Studio Art with concentrations in Painting and Printmaking. Currently, Phuong is happy to call Charlottesville home—pandemic notwithstanding.
"I spent the first two weeks in quarantine working on a miniature model of an imagined studio space as a distraction tactic. Currently, the “studio” is equipped with a functioning sewing machine, a large desk with sketchbooks and brushes, and a snake plant. The floor is littered with paper scraps and dotted with paint splatters for authenticity’s sake. There’s even a sculpture garden attached to the studio!
While I was busy with this silly project, New City Arts and the Bridge had put together the Charlottesville Relief Fund for Artists to help so many local artists during this crisis—myself included. Like many other folks in the service industry, I lost my full-time job when restaurants shut down in response to the pandemic. Being approved for a fund has eased my worries more than I could describe. The Fund is an incredible showcase of what we can do together, for each other."
Laura Lee Gulledge is an Eisner Award nominated author, illustrator, and teaching artist. She is the creator of the YA graphic novels Page by Paige, Will & Whit, and The Dark Matter of Mona Starr (April 2020, Abrams Books) in addition to her interactive book Sketchbook Dares: 24 Ways to Draw Out Your Inner Artist. Laura Lee also enjoys exploring comics journalism, interactive event production, contemplative dance, developing the Will & Whit DIY musical, and spreading Artner Love. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia and found online at whoislauralee.com.
"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic I had to cancel the seven city book tour for my newly released YA graphic novel The Dark Matter of Mona Starr (Abrams Books) which was scheduled to kick-off at the Virginia Festival of the Book. Since this book is about dealing with depression, I felt it was important for me to try to model creative problem solving to help connect Mona with readers who might be struggling with their mental health right now. So I immediately reconfigured all my cancelled events into an eight week virtual book tour airing Saturdays on Facebook Live. Topics have included how to make a self care plan, healing creative practices, and a virtual launch party event with art prompts. You're invited to tune into the end of the tour for my workshops on Making Mini Comics on May 2nd and Sketchbook Drawing Dares on May 9th. You can tune into live & past videos on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lauraleegulledge) and soon I will have ALL the videos assembled in a single playlist on my youtube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/user/lauraleewashere)"