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Posted March 12, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Galleries at Night to focus on art collection

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By Stacey Keenan

Daily Correspondent

WINCHESTER -- In these difficult economic times, finding something affordable to do with the family can be a challenging task. But there's no need to travel to Washington or spend a lot of money: there's something entertaining to do right here.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley's upcoming "Galleries at Night: Focus on Art," which takes place Friday evening, offers visitors an in-depth look into the collections in the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Gallery.

The museum's Galleries at Night events are held the second Friday of every month, from October to May, and feature a variety of cultural offerings such as performances and lectures. This week's event features three guided art tours.

"The gallery, with the exception of Wednesday and Sunday [when the tours are normally offered], is primarily a self-guided visit. We hope to give people the opportunity to get a guided tour at night, but also to really have a little more time to learn about a work of art or a series of works in more depth than you currently can with the label that's in the gallery," says Julie Armel, director of marketing and public relations at the museum. "You can learn a lot more from the folks who spend an enormous amount of time studying the works."

Volunteers at the museum will lead the tours, which start at 6 p.m. and will be offered every half hour until 8:30 p.m. The tours will rotate during the evening, and a schedule will be posted in the museum's lobby. Each tour targets a different room in the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Gallery, and focuses on specific pieces within each room.

The Art of Portraiture tour takes visitors into the portrait gallery and explores the works of John Singleton Copley, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Gilbert Stuart and William Merritt Chase, says Jillian Lichliter, education assistant at the museum.

The Such Sites to See: The Grand Tour program takes visitors into the grand tour room and explores the tradition of embarking on a yearly journey abroad to expand one's knowledge and appreciation of classical art and architecture.

Julian Wood Glass Jr. took a grand tour regularly to study fine and decorative arts in Europe. These trips influenced the pieces he chose for his private collections with which he decorated his homes in New York, Oklahoma and the Glen Burnie Historic House.

The What Catches Your Eye tour takes visitors into the third room of the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Gallery, which features landscape art, and explores specific art techniques.

"This tour focuses on specific techniques artists use to draw a viewer's eye to a particular section of a work of art," says Armel.

The tours feature a mixture of different types of art from American, British and Dutch artists of the 18th and 19th centuries, including landscape, portraits and genre paintings, says Lichliter.

"It's a good overview of our collection and you'll learn about the basics of art, too. [The tours] are geared toward the general public, so even if you don't know anything about art, you can still come away with something. It's something you can take with you and be able to look at other paintings," she says.

While the guided tours during Galleries at Night: Focus on Art feature selected works in the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Gallery, the other museum galleries will be open, but tours are self-guided. The museum store will also be open, as will the Tea Room Café for light dinner fare, dessert and coffee and tea. Wine will be available for purchase in the museum lobby. During Galleries at Night, the Glen Burnie Historic House and Gardens are not open.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley's Galleries at Night: Focus on Art takes place Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. The guided art tours of the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Gallery begin at 6 p.m. and will be offered every half hour until 8:30 p.m. Each tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. Children are welcome. Admission is free for museum members, $8 for non-members, $6 for seniors and students and free for children under 6. Additional costs apply for café and wine purchases. For more information, call 888-556-5799 or visit the Web at www.shenandoahmuseum.org.

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