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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Arts Depot People's Choice Award is announced

Bill Brinkley and
Bill Brinkley and "The Red Coat."

December 28, 2007

ABINGDON, Va. — There was lots of merriment at the Arts Depot during the recent Depot Artists Association's Eighteenth Annual Members Show Holiday Open House. Approximately 200 people gathered to view over 114 pieces of 64 of the region's talented artists' work displayed in the gallery and to enjoy the day of music provided by the soft sounds of harpist Sandra Parker and the harmony of the Virginia Highlands Community College Madrigal Singers, along with sumptuous refreshments, and warm camaraderie.

Everyone present during the first few weeks of the show was encouraged to vote for their favorite piece of artwork to receive the tenth annual "Arts Depot People's Choice Award." This award is presented to the artist whose piece of artwork was selected by those who cast their vote from the show's opening through the week after the Holiday Open House. This year the award is honoring longtime Arts Depot supporter and Resident Studio Artist Janet Rasnick who passed away in October of this year.

The Arts Depot is delighted to announce that Bristol, Tennessee's Bill Brinkley is the recipient this year's award. His winning artwork is an acrylic painting entitled "The Red Coat." This painting features a group of migrants having car trouble on a desolate road during the the1930s. Brinkley said the scene "tells a story of life."

Brinkley grew up in Bristol, Tenn. and later headed to California where he studied at the Art Center in Los Angeles. He spent the next 40 years in New York, Los Angeles, and Houston as a writer/producer of national advertising. Retiring to his Bristol home, Brinkley returned to his personal interest in painting. He paints in fine detail using pencils and also with acrylics. His favorite subjects are nostalgic things such as the local barns, mills, old cars, etc that he terms "Images of Appalachia." Brinkley likes to paint things that tell a story, but upon closer scrutiny viewers will find a much deeper meaning. Brinkley is an active member of the "Wednesday Morning Painters" at the Arts Depot.

Rasnick was an ardent supporter of the visual arts. The Arts Depot had the privilege of having her as a Resident Studio Artist for 14 years. Rasnick was introduced to watercolor by Tedd Blevins. After many attending workshops she has adopted watercolor as her medium of choice, incorporating rice paper, and other materials into collages at times. Her main subject matter was landscapes, both realistic and abstract. She painted all her life but more fully focused her energies after retirement. "My paintings are a travel journal and a diary of my life," Rasnick once said, "I try to paint moments, moods and memories to express my feelings about an experience or place. I then try and share this experience with the viewer."

She was a longtime member of the Virginia Watercolor Society and served as an area representative. She was one of the original members of the painters group now known as the "Wednesday Morning Painters" when they met at the Slater Center. She also served on the Virginia Highlands Festival Board for 25 years and was the Fine Art Committee chair or co-chair many times. Rasnick was an original member of the DAA when it began here at the Depot. She served on the DAA Board many times and was Secretary. Rasnick's work was shown in numerous exhibits both locally and regionally and won many awards, including the Virginian Highlands Festival Purchase Award when the show was in Bristol.

Rasnick's message for all: "I am so thankful for 14 wonderful years of living out my childhood dream of being an artist. How fortunate I have been to have associated with all the wonderful people at the Depot." Rasnick will be missed by all her friends and the art community.

Visitors can view Brinkley's winning painting, along with the rest of the artwork during the continuation of the Annual Members Show through Jan. 5. Most all of the artwork is for sale. The viewing hours for this exhibit are Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., or by appointment. This exhibit is free to the public. For further information, call (276) 628-9091 or e-mail at or visit

The Depot Artists Association is a non-profit volunteer arts organization, which operates the Arts Depot in the historic Depot Square area of downtown Abingdon.

A! ExtraTopics: Art