Feb. 14 arts benefit will celebrate Dorothy Gillespie
The Radford campus and community can enjoy a Valentine's evening of culture and fine art at the second annual Give Your Heart to Art benefit, sponsored by the Radford University Arts Society.
Give Your Heart to Art was established in 2012 to celebrate the university's commitment to fine art and community outreach. This year's event is dedicated to the memory and legacy of RU Distinguished Professor of Art Dorothy Gillespie.
"The purpose of Give Your Heart to Art is to have a very nice event that involves both Radford University and the community," said Kathleen Harshberger, a charter member of the RU Arts Society. The Valentine-themed formal event is open to anyone who wishes to spend an evening socializing with fellow art lovers and celebrating the rich arts tradition at the university, she said.
In addition to drinks and dinner, the evening will feature a documentary about Gillespie by a longtime friend, Roanoke-based filmmaker Gerry McCarthy. McCarthy has produced four documentaries on Gillespie's life and work, exploring her international renown as an artist and her influence in the local community.
"People will have a great chance to get dressed up and go out on Valentine's, have a wonderful dinner and listen to an interesting speaker," Harshberger said. "The profits will allow us to make additions to the art museum's permanent collection."
Gillespie, a Roanoke native, died in September 2012 at age 92, leaving a rich legacy of arts education and advocacy. The Radford University Art Museum owes its existence to Gillespie's campaign in the 1980s for a new gallery space on campus. She engineered major gifts of hundreds of pieces of art from dealers as well as artists like painters Betty Parsons and Adolf Dehn, said RU Professor Stephen Arbury, director of the museum.
"In addition to helping build the RU Art Museum collection, Ms. Gillespie involved herself directly with the students, coming to campus on a regular basis to speak to classes about art and the art world," Arbury said. "Ms. Gillespie adored the students, and they adored her."
As a further tribute, the RU Arts Society has arranged to display several of Gillespie's small sculpture pieces at this year's benefit.
The primary mission of the RU Arts Society is to provide money for scholarship support for exceptional deserving students in the College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and other sources are also used to bring world-class performances and exhibits to the New River Valley for the enjoyment and enrichment of the entire Radford community.
Give Your Heart to Art on Thursday, Feb. 14, will begin with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. in the Covington Center for the Arts. Dinner and documentarian McCarthy's presentation will follow at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are $100 per person. All proceeds directly benefit the Radford University Museum Art Acquisition Fund. Tickets must be purchased by Friday, Feb. 8.