Skip to main content

Art comes to Roanoke City streets, with a little help from the CARES Act

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Friday night, Kirk Avenue was shut down in Roanoke, one more thing closed because of the pandemic.

But this closure was about opening up a whole new world.

Smack in the middle of the road, in front of Fortunato restaurant, four volunteers had erected a giant steel frame. And there, suspended 20 feet above the ground, was Lynsey Wyatt.

"It felt great," she said.

The acrobat and artist was dancing on aerial fabric. Wyatt twisted, spun and flipped, help up by nothing more than two long strips of cloth.

"I was super excited," said Wyatt.

Wyatt is the owner and sole employee of Cirqulation Aerial and Circus Arts, which teaches "flexibility, hand stands, inversions lots of fun stuff," according to Wyatt.

It's a business that has been touch and go since she started it, just before the pandemic hit.

"I wasn't working for the past six months, because I've been in transition, and trying to figure out how to get my business up online," she said.

Wyatt has started teaching individual classes again, but work has been scarce, and opportunities to share her art even scarcer.

"It's been really tough," she said. "I mean, the whole art form is at a tipping point as to whether our industry will survive as is."

That's what made Saturday night special. Wyatt performed three shows over the course of an hour and a half. Diners at Fortunato and passersby on the street stopped and watched. At one point, a group of kids gathered around and stared at the dancer, wide-eyed.

Wyatt isn't doing this on her own. The performance was done in concert with Fortunato, and made possible by a grant from the City of Roanoke. That grant is part of hundred of thousands of dollars distributed by the city to businesses, individuals, and arts and cultural groups, all paid for by money from the CARES Act.

"For me as an artist, and a small business owner, it provided some support during this challenging time," said Wyatt.

The grant is a lifeline that, for Wyatt, is nearly as important as the fabric she's hanging from.

"What I care the most about is just creating that sense of community and joy," she said.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.


Popular posts from this blog

History of Art Timeline

The historical past of art is usually told as a chronology of masterpieces created during each civilization. It can thus be framed as a narrative of high culture, epitomized by the Wonders of the World. On any other hand, vernacular art expressions can even be integrated into art historic narratives, called folk arts or craft. The more intently that an art historian engages with these latter sorts of low culture, the much more likely it is that they will determine their work as analyzing visual culture or cloth culture, or as contributing to fields associated with art historical past, akin to anthropology or archaeology. In the latter cases, art gadgets may be called archeological artifacts. Surviving art from this era comprises small carvings in stone or bone and cave painting. The first traces of human-made gadgets appeared in southern Africa, the Western Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Europe Adriatic Sea, Siberia Baikal Lake, India, and Australia. These first traces are general…

How to Show Art Work when the Gallery Says No Thanks

There are places in the town where you live where you can show your artwork when the big gallery you solicited said, "No, thanks."
Other artists may need to find venues other than galleries to show their artworks as well. Visual artists living in art-rich communities where there is a lot of local competition will need to get creative about display opportunities.

Or on the other hand, in towns without large art venues, it is important for artists to find smaller and less obvious places to show your art.

How to Show Art Work When The Gallery Says No Thanks

1. Show Where You Go

The most successful approach to finding a place in your town to display your artwork is to solicit a place that you go to frequently. Make a list of all the places you go to each day, each week, and each month.

Make a special trip, or the next time you visit note if the establishment currently exhibits any artwork, if it is local, and if it is for sale.

Also note if they have available wall space where a…

Book review (nonfiction): Form or function? In the history of poster art, the two sides are constantly at war

“Who takes the eye takes all,” said Mary Lowndes of the Artists’ Suffrage League in the early 1900s, neatly summarizing the need for striking graphics on the banners that suffragists were making for their marches. Lowndes’ statement could serve as the motto for all those who attempt to persuade by visual means, be they propagandists for political parties or advertisers selling soap. “The Poster,” edited by Gill Saunders and Margaret Timmers of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, is a beautiful and entertaining account of the history of the medium, illustrated with examples drawn from the museum’s extensive collection.While handbill-sized fliers affixed to surfaces had long been in existence, it was the development of the large-scale color lithographic technique, with images composed of several pieces that could be pasted together into one picture, that made possible the explosion of graphic media campaigns in the 19th century. The first-rate artists who turned th…