August 12, 2020

New Tour Offers Sights and Sounds of Gari Melchers Home in Stafford

The new tour at Gari Melchers Home and Studio was highlighted in The Free Lance-Star:

At one point during the new tour of Belmont, the Falmouth home of American Impressionist artist Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne, visitors hear the sound of a bell ringing.

It’s a recording of the real servant’s bell that rings in the kitchen of the historic house, and it’s the tour guide’s cue to tell visitors about the servants whose work allowed Gari and Corinne Melchers to live their lives the way they did, said Michelle Crow–Dolby, education and communications manager at Belmont.  Read more.

Belmont Hosts Loan from National Arts Club

Study, by Gari Melchers

A striking portrait of a woman of color entitled Study by Gari Melchers will be featured in an upcoming spotlight exhibition scheduled for October 25 through January 5, 2020. The loan is made possible thanks to the generosity of The National Arts Club, New York. The painting appears for the first time at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

When it came to subjects of his own choosing, Melchers usually rejected conventional standards of beauty in favor of working-class types, but this well-turned-out woman, with her handsome and serene bearing, is an exception. Joanna Catron, who curates the show, says that “although Study was executed in the era of women’s suffrageit represents a class of American Impressionist painting that perpetuates an old-fashioned view of woman as an object of beauty, or in this case, a ‘study’ in beauty, with no attempt to individualize personality.” The identity and nationality of the black model is unknown, and this is the only known instance in which she sat for the painter.

The mission of The National Arts Club is to foster public interest in the fine arts. It was founded in 1898 by a group of distinguished artists and patrons who conceived the clubhouse as a gathering place to welcome artists of all kinds, as well as art lovers. The National Arts Club took as its residence the historic Samuel Tilden Mansion at Grammercy Park, New York.

In order to build a stellar collection of American art, esteemed artists were invited to submit a representative example of their work in return for a life membership. Melchers was invited to join the NAC in 1917, which he readily accepted with his submission of Study. As the majority of the painter members of the NAC were American Impressionists, Melchers chose an example of singular beauty that could compete with the best.

The exhibition is Included with Museum admission. Contact: Joanna Catron at jcatron@umw.edu or 540 654-1841

Belmont Hosts Talk on Debt to the Musical Past

Gari Melchers Home and Studio hosts Musical Borrowings: Tribute or Plagiarism? a talk on the intriguing history of parodies, tributes, and highway robbery in music, presented by UMW Professor of Musicology Brooks Kuykendall, on Sunday, October 27 in the Pavilion at Belmont, 2 p.m. Admission is free of charge.

“Music is always about other music—perhaps sometimes too much so,” Kuykendall states, citing Handel, whose reputation is blighted because of his “indebtedness” to other composers. Kuykendall echoes T. S. Eliot in the contention that “good composers borrow; great composers steal,” adding that sometimes an allusion to other music is integral to a new artistic statement; sometimes it’s just funny.  Kuykendall will share imagery and audio examples in his exploration of “borrowings” from Handel to Pharrell, via Puccini and Peter Sellers.

Brooks Kuykendall is professor and chair of the UMW music department. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Cornell University, and his research has concentrated on British music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten, Walton, and Gilbert & Sullivan. He blogs on musical textual issues at www.settlingscoresblog.net.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Virginia, a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Awarded $15,000 by Stafford Tourism

Gari Melchers Home and Studio will host Art After Hours on Thursday, September 26 from 6-8 p.m. GMHS received $10,000 from Stafford Tourism for the program, as well as another $5,000 for its group marketing program.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio will host Art After Hours on Thursday, September 26 from 6-8 p.m. GMHS received $10,000 from Stafford Tourism for the program, as well as another $5,000 for its group marketing program.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio has been awarded $15,000 in tourism sponsorships by Stafford County. The sponsorships were made available as part of Stafford County’s tourism policy and program.

Established in December 2018, the program invites profit and nonprofit organizations to design programs or events that encourage visitors to Stafford. GMHS’s group marketing program received $5,000 in tourism sponsorships, while its Art After Hours Expanded events received $10,000.

Taking place on September 26 from 6-8 p.m., the next Art After Hours features live music by a local band on the lawn. Guests can take a stroll through the gardens and grounds, tour the art galleries and enjoy local food trucks, beer and wine. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information, please visit  https://www.garimelchers.org/news/calendar-of-events/.

UMW Museums Featured in Civil War Magazine

University of Mary Washington museums, Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum, were both highlighted in the fall quarterly issue of The Civil War Monitor magazine. Read more. 

Gari Melchers’ Home and Studio at Belmont: A Closer Look

Tucked away right outside of historic downtown Fredericksburg and overlooking the Rappahannock River, is Gari Melchers’ Home and Studio at Belmont. Beautifully landscaped grounds, formal gardens, and carefully preserved buildings give Belmont loads of charm. What really makes this location interesting, is the fact that the studio and Georgian style country house can be seen today just as they appeared in the 1920’s! It’s one of the most authentic and complete artists’ homes anywhere.  Read more. 

New Interactive Tour Brings Gari Melchers Home & Studio to Life

Gari Melchers Home & Studio has recently turned our traditional historic house tour on its ear.  Led by education and communications manager Michelle Crow-Dolby, the standard 30-minute, guided docent monologue has been torn apart and put back together in a whole new way.

The historic house tour begins with this view looking out over the village of Falmouth and this quote from Gari Melchers, “On my return to Fredericksburg, I walked through the house and opening the back door, looked down the hill across the fields and the river. The beauty of Virginia made me wonder how I could have ever left it even for a winter.”

One of the best preserved artist homes and working studios in the United States, Gari Melchers Home & Studio (GMHS) gives visitors a glimpse back in time when internationally famous painter, Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne, inhabited their country retreat and gentleman’s farm up the hill in Falmouth overlooking the falls of the Rappahannock River. The elegant 1790s Colonial Revival mansion is crammed with the couple’s belongings. The authentic power of place and creativity found at GMHS is palpable.

“My goal throughout this process was to create a more guest-driven, interactive, exploratory, sensory-rich experience,” explains Crow-Dolby.  “Staff provide the tour’s basic framework and the rest is a collaboration with our visitors who explore what they are drawn to and stories that interest them.” We, in the words of Frank Vagnone, author of the Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums, “Tell a story without someone telling the story for them.”

New tour elements include the addition of ambient sounds (i.e., music, clock ticking, farm noises, dogs barking) that capture what the Melchers would have heard during their residency at Belmont.  Open-ended questions replace rote delivery of dates and facts. Docents and guests spend more time exploring together how Gari and Corinne Melchers made a home that reflected their artistic and eclectic sensibilities. Visitors are given more freedom to explore, enter rooms, snap pictures and engage in conversation. As one veteran docent observed, “Our guests can, in effect, create their own tour.”

“I hope our newly re-imagined house tour will continue to be a work in progress and not a static product,” says Crow-Dolby. “Visitor and staff feedback will continue to inform our process and evolution.”

Belmont Hosts Talk on Venetian Culture

Gari Melchers Home and Studio hosts A Glorious and Beautiful Show, a richly-illustrated talk on the remarkable visual culture of Renaissance Venice, Italy, presented by UMW Professor of Art History Julia A. DeLancey on August 25 in the Pavilion at Belmont, 2 PM. Admission is free of charge.

DeLancey will explore the art of such legendary giants as Bellini and Titian and the hand-blown glass and rich textiles for which the city is renowned. Because color was at the heart of all these crafts, DeLancey will also touch upon Venice’s involvement in the trade of coloring materials and the challenges currently faced by the lagoon city in preserving this precious cultural heritage.

DeLancey, who holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of St. Andrews, has recently published “Celebrated Citizenship: Titian’s portrait of the Color Seller Alvise Gradignan della Scala and Social Status in Early Modern Venice” in Studi Veneziani, 2017.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Virginia, a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Hosts Beeping Egg Hunt

Gari Melchers Home & Studio will host its eighth annual Beeping Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 14 from 2 – 4 p.m.

The egg hunt provides an opportunity for visually impaired and blind children, along with their families, to participate in an accessible audible egg hunt. Sighted siblings can also participate by wearing a blindfold.  This free event will run from 2-4 p.m.

Gari Melchers Home & Studio holds its Beeping Egg Hunt on April 14.

Gari Melchers Home & Studio hosts its Beeping Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 14.

“Every spring I look forward to organizing and planning the Beeping Egg Hunt and related activities,” says Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby.  “I enjoy seeing familiar faces and welcoming new families.  I am especially thankful for volunteer event assistance from James Monroe High School students and the Lions Club and for Wegmans’ food donation.”

The specially designed plastic eggs, donated by Stafford County-based International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, emit a beeping sound that allows children to retrieve the eggs using their hearing. The event also includes a miniature animal petting zoo, sensory crafts, gallery activities, and Wegmans-sponsored healthy snacks.

During the 1920s and 30s, Corinne Melchers, with her husband’s encouragement, hosted Easter parties for area children at their Belmont home featuring egg rolls, puppet shows, and plenty of favors.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Va., a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Michelle Crow-Dolby at mdolby@umw.edu or 540-654-1851.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio to Offer Memory Loss Art Program

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the Alhzeimer’s Association are partnering to present Picturing New Connections:  An art program for people with memory loss and their caregivers on Thursday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m.

“I recognized a need in our region for a museum-based memory loss program and have been researching and developing a blueprint, on and off, for a few years now,” says Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby.  This Picturing New Connections pilot study will combine sensory-rich guided discussions in Gari Melchers’ studio with an art making experience afterwards.”

Inspired and guided by the original Meet Me at MoMA  model, museums across the country are working to create arts engagement programs for people with Alzheimer’s Disease, along with their family members and care givers, to explore and discuss art.  Studies have shown that engaging with art in a social setting has a therapeutic effect on individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other causes of dementia.

“Social engagement programs such as this one promote social interaction and companionship by offering a fun and comfortable way for people living in the early to middle stage of Alzheimer’s or other dementia to get out, get active and get connected with one another through a variety of social events and community-based activities tailored to individual needs and interests of the participants,” according to Lori Myers of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Admission is $5 per person. To register, please contact Lori Myers, Director, Fredericksburg Office, Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Richmond Chapter at lmyers@alz.org or 540-228-1502.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Virginia, a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.