In Isle of Wight County, Virginia, the town of Smithfield was incorporated in 1752 and is known for its hams and ambience of yesteryear, but this town of 8,100 boasts a flourishing community of artists of the visual, including pen and ink and brush and palette.
Prominent among those who wield the brush and palette in the historic district is Robbie Perrotti Younger of the Painted Garden Gallery, located at 324 Main Street. Younger, a native of Pittsburgh, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, who during her decades-long artistic career has been featured nationally in Victoria Magazine, accepted commissions and had a number of her works chosen by the nationally renowned chef and art collector Marcel Desaulniers for a one-woman season of exhibition at The Trellis in Williamsburg, when Desaulniers was executive chef and part-owner.
Younger’s style is impressionism, tilting toward abstract, with an ethereal component, so that her works are impressionistic, abstract and slightly dream-like with poignant qualities. Her creativity is applied to canvas, as well as mural-like scenes on vintage furniture — the latter her unique melding of form and function. An artist listed in America’s Who’s Who in American Art, she is a member of the American Impressionists Society.
Down the street from the Painted Garden Gallery is the Imagine Art Gallery, at 318 Main Street, owned by Wayne Stallings, who displays and sells art works by a number of accomplished artists. Stallings’ works represent many styles and themes. He provides custom framing, as well.
Continuing along Main Street, at 308, is the Nelms House, circa 1899, a beautifully restored example of Victorian Queen Anne architecture, an art venue presided over by owner/artist Ann Garland. Garland features designer showcase artists as well as solo artists on a rotating basis. In addition to the events that Garland hosts, she rents the property to others for their own mini-events.
The next art encounter is located at 234 Main Street, home of the U.S. Post Office, featuring in its lobby of a mural depicting Captain John Smith trading with the Indians on the James River shore. It was painted in 1941 by William Abbott Cheever and restored in 2009. A display below the mural relates its full history.
Two short blocks farther, at the intersection of Church and Main Streets, is another prime example of Victorian architecture, the Mansion on Main, owned by Betty Clark, who presides over the adjacent Mansion House Art & Antiques Gallery, replete with unique and lovely objets d’art, including original American and European oil paintings dating from the 1870s to the 1920s. Clark is an oil painting restorer.
Across the street and down South Church Street toward the Cypress Creek Bridge is the residence and studio of Theodore “Ted” Leonard, who after a career in commercial art, transitioned to fine art, retired and moved to Smithfield in 2011, with success. This past August he participated in the Cape Charles Art Festival and garnered first place; best in show; and peoples’ choice awards.
Returning up Main Street to number 207 C is American Laser Arts, LLC, an arts and crafts store that produces engraving and more.
Next viewed is a huge mural, depicting a bucolic, rural scene in Isle of Wight County. Commissioned by Smithfield Foods and painted by Michael Brown in 2012, it covers one side of the building housing Laura & Lucy’s Antiques, at 223 Main Street.
Its proprietor, Bob Redlin, also deals
in original, signed artwork.
Located at 315 is When Pigs Fly…Magic Happens, courtesy of artist Nansi Strickland, who describes her establishment as “An artful market and studio, offering arts and culture — and shopping.”
Directly across the street is The Art Center @ 319, gallery and studios and home of the visual arts program of the Isle of Wight Arts League.
And, at 343 is Color Scapes Fine Arts Gallery, owned by artist Ann Hubbard.
Tourists as well as Smithfield residents appreciate visiting the many working artisans in this art mecca, whether they are browsing or purchasing locally created art.
TO THE POINT:
Painted Garden Gallery/
Robbie Perrotti Younger
facebook.painted garden gallery
Imagine Art Gallery/Wayne Stallings
Nelms House/Ann Garland
U.S. Post Office
Lobby open 24 hours a day
Mansion House Art & Antiques Gallery/Betty Clark
Theodore “Ted” Leonard
Instagram under Leonard watercolors
American Laser Arts, LLC
Laura & Lucy’s Antiques/Bob Redlin
When Pigs Fly…Magic Happens/
facebook.when pigs fly magic happens
The Art Center @ 319
Color Scapes Fine Arts Gallery/