The Piedmont Regional Art Show & Sale remains a must-see event, featuring more than 300 works in a variety of media. Grace Episcopal Church, 6507 Main Street, The Plains, VA, has hosted the show for 71 consecutive years.

Hound Study, by Dana Lee Thompson, an oil painting on board, won last year’s Best in Show

Hound Study, by Dana Lee Thompson, an oil painting on board, won last year’s Best in Show

The show and sale continues to grow every year, and is a major fundraiser for the church. Over the past five years, the show has averaged 335 entries. This year’s event will see extended sale hours.

This year’s show and sale will kick off May 18 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with the Opening Gala for artists and sponsors. Admission to the Gala opening is complimentary to exhibiting artists and sponsors. There is a $15 admission charge for additional guests.

The show continues May 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and May 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no admission fee, though donations are gratefully accepted.

“This is a nice local show,” says Dana Thompson, last year’s Best in Show winner for “Hound Study,” an oil painting on board. The Midland, VA, resident will enter three paintings in this year’s show, which is steeped in tradition.

The first art show at Grace Episcopal in 1947 was inspired by the Reverend Harold Peters, an artist himself. It began as a project of the Episcopal Church Women. Today, the show and sale has grown to involve volunteer efforts of the entire parish and is a favorite spring event in the region.  Throughout its history the art show has featured the works of artists of all media, ages and levels of experience, including the work of established professionals.

Thompson has entered the Piedmont show the past 20 years. Her mother recently passed, and she will dedicate this year’s show to her. “My mom was a former member of Grace Church and always loved this show,” she says. Thompson strictly paints wildlife, a reflection on her own menagerie of three dogs, a cat, two chickens and two goats. “I’ve always loved animals so it was the natural thing for me to paint.”

Among this year’s jurists are David Williams and Cody Leeser. Williams has been a professional artist for 22 years. His paintings are immediately recognized for quiet composition and richly textured surfaces. His work has been exhibited nationally and is found in hundreds of collections throughout the United States and abroad. He currently resides and teaches oil and acrylic painting classes in The Plains.

Leeser, who lives in Orlean, started painting in 2010 when she began private lessons. Since then, her work is shown in most local shows and has garnered numerous awards, including Best in Show at the Piedmont Regional. Leeser has an international following with paintings in private collections throughout Europe.

Caroline Nash-Helmly also will be a show judge. Born in Indiana and raised in Michigan, she always loved the country and the animals found in barnyards and on farms.  An intellectual property attorney by trade, she’s been painting all her life for relaxation. She loves watercolor, oils and acrylics. The Middleburg resident enjoys riding horses, hunting with the Piedmont Hunt, raising chickens and miniature horses.

Proceeds from the show benefit local ministries of Grace Church, and help ensure the continuation of the show. This year’s honorary co-chairs are Landon and Carol Butler. ML

For more details, visit www.gracetheplains.org, email artshow@gracetheplains.org, check out www.facebook.com/artshowatgrace, or call 540-253-5177, Ext. 104.