By Josette Keelor
The primary fundraiser for the historic mill in Millwood, the twice-a-year Art at the Mill show continues its spring exhibit this weekend featuring artists from around the valley and beyond.
"It's a juried show," said Director Laura Christiansen. Each artist may submit up to five works, she said, "and we accept about 1,000 works of art total."
The artist gets 70 percent of the sale, and the Clarke County Historical Society uses 28 percent for the preservation of the mill. The remaining 2 percent goes to the Sarah P. Trumbower Memorial Scholarship fund, established to help a deserving local student pursue a fine arts education.
Christiansen estimated the mill displays 400 to 500 works at a time, and she organizes them based on how they look against one wall or the next, or with neighboring art.
"This blue wall," she said in an upstairs room, "everything has been placed there because it looks good on the blue."
But if one sells, she might have to rearrange them all to accommodate its replacement, depending on its size or shape.
"It's a little overwhelming," she said, but she later added "it's a great fundraiser for us."
Now in its 23rd year, the show brings visitors to the restored 1785 Burwell-Morgan Mill who might otherwise not come out to Clarke County. The oldest operable merchant mill in the Shenandoah Valley, it still grinds cornmeal, grits and other grains for sale. The art show is one of many continuing ideas the historical society has for keeping the mill going.
"The building really limits the time of year we can use it," Christiansen said. During the winter particularly visitors are less likely to stop by, she said, so she and volunteers have been planning more programming to build interest in the mill.
The next two-week Art at the Mill show is planned for the fall, and Christiansen said the spring and autumn shows are not themed.
Organizers accept art from various mediums -- "a little bit of everything," Christiansen said -- but they won't accept a mass-produced work.
"It has to be something that's unique," Christiansen said. "We want a thing that you put here to be 'one of.'"
"Obviously the thing that sets it apart is we have it in the mill," Christiansen said. "It's kind of a neat setting."
Art at the Mill continues through Sunday, from noon to 5 Friday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults, and $3 for seniors. Students are admitted free. For more information, call 540-955-2600 or visit www.clarkehistory.org/art-at-the-mill.html.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or email@example.com