Hampton Arts recently announced their newest team member, Diana L. Blanchard Gross, who was appointed as the Visual Arts Center Manager. Her responsibilities will include curating exhibitions and programs at the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center. Let’s meet Diana and learn more about her.
TFP: Why is art important right now?
DBG: Art is extremely important in these turbulent times. Art provides inspiration, comfort, and solace. It allows artists an avenue to express their feelings and emotions. For the viewer, art can provide a respite from a hectic day, week, or year.
TFP: Tell us about your background.
DBG: I was born in Ohio and raised in Delaware. I decided to attend college in Virginia and have stayed since. I graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Art History. I went on to grad school and earned my Master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Art History.
TFP: How did you come to be interested in the arts? What medium is your favorite?
DBG: My parents introduced me to the museums at the Smithsonian in D.C. and I was enthralled. Now, when I travel to another city, I always research the museums in the area and try to visit as many as I can. Visiting museums is a passion of mine – just ask my kids! One of my favorite mediums is glass. It is amazing to see all the interesting ways artists create with this medium. I highly recommend watching “Blown Away” on Netflix. I have watched all three seasons and I am astonishment by their creativity.
TFP: What makes The Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center unique?
DBG: The CHTVAC is unique because it advocates for local and regional artists through our exhibitions and classes. Not many facilities offer these remarkable opportunities to artists.
TFP: What are your goals for your new position?
DBG: My goals include expanding the art class schedule especially with children’s classes. I hope to offer classes for preschoolers, homeschoolers, and teens as well as offering holiday, spring break, and summer art camps. Another goal is to curate innovative exhibitions that bring in the community. I want everyone in the community to know of the outstanding exhibitions and diverse and amazing art classes and programs that we offer.
TFP: Tell us about your current and upcoming exhibits at the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center.
DBG: Our current exhibition, which runs through Nov. 12, is the Virginia Artists exhibition. It’s held annually and features Virginia’s top artists. This year we had 229 artists submit 462 artworks. 101 artworks were selected and created by 76 artists. The juror selects the award winners who receive cash prizes and a solo exhibition of their works.
This December we will display our Small Works Exhibition, which tests the prowess of artists to produce works within confined dimensions. Our Hampton Holiday Fine Arts Bazaar on December 10 & 11 features wonderful artful gifts for the holidays. In February we celebrate the Hampton Arts League with their member reception. Lastly, I will be curating “From the Sea to the Stars” exhibition, which featuring artists and their interpretation of Hampton’s city motto.
TFP: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the arts?
DBG: If you want to pursue a career in the arts, I would recommend researching specifically what you are interested. There are many paths that one can take in the arts so make sure to talk to people in those positions to give you insight.
TFP: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start collecting art?
DBG: The biggest advice I have is to buy what you love. Don’t buy for investment purposes, and you don’t need to purchase art that color coordinates with the sofa. I recommend going to art centers as well as art galleries to get a feel of what you like and don’t like. The more you look, the more you will develop an eye for what you like.
TFP: How can parents help their children develop a love for the arts?
DBG: I think most parents are already helping their child develop a love of the arts through picture books. The illustrations like in Eric Carle’s Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar are some of the first art a child sees. Then I would start incorporating short visits to art facilities and talk about what you see to your child. Make it fun!
TFP: Feel free to add anything else our readers might be interested to learn about you.
DBG: The Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center is great to view local and regional art. It is a casual place where all are welcome. I hope you get a chance to visit – you won’t be disappointed!
For more information, please visit www.hamptonarts.org