Old time Ashlanders are concerned about the recent meeting of the brand new Ashland Arts Alliance and the fact that “scruffy, strange-looking artists” may be becoming far more visible than what makes them comfortable.
“I love the arts,” sniffed long-time Ashland resident Gladiola Maxtone-Graham, “I have many paintings in my home, and the most delightful counterculture man with shaggy hair and a moustache that smelled like clove cigarettes painted my parlor just last summer, but that doesn’t mean I particularly want to see them out on the sidewalks, what with their unusual lifestyles, non-conforming appearance, vegetarian ways and fancy hybrid cars. Well, I never!”
Several members of the Ashland Garden Club are also turning up their noses at the mention of an organization of artists. According to garden club president Violet Leach, the group is a “necessary, but regrettable” effort.
“Violet and the ladies are a bit concerned about having artists scurrying about, doing artsy things” said Leach’s husband Wallace. “But anything to keep most of them out of the Schnappes for a few hours is a good thing. Don’t quote me on that.”
“We hear there’s a commune of Oregon Hill-style hippies just up the road in Doswell,” stated a worried Naomi Southall, as she hurriedly packaged several Sally Bell lunches in an eco-friendly canvas Martin’s bag. “I mean, several families in one house? Where are we, Haight-Ashbury? And just where the hell is my Ciabatta bread? I swear it has become positively primitive around here anymore! Well I never!”
|Always on time: Clockwork Collective and friends|
Newsfromdoswell did some old fashioned leg work to dispute the concerns of the garden club ladies. In fact, there a multi-family in Doswell – called the “Clockworks Collective”, whose goal is to bring more multi-disciplinary arts to Hanover County and the surrounding areas, including Ashland and possibly even such far-away places as Hewlett and Noel.
Troy Whitcomb, food and beverage manager at the Doswell Bar None Restaurant says his brand new sushi bar will be open a month early specifically for the Ashland crowd who wish to make the drive up Route 1 to take part in Hanover arts. “If those people from Ashland want raw fish and sticky rice, then I’ll give them raw fish and sticky rice,” said Whitcomb. “I have only the finest quality eels, scrod and mud skippers Doswell offers. And while I don’t have a real Oriental guy to prepare it, I’ll wrap rubber bands around one of my cooks’ eyes to make him look authentic. So come on over to the Bar None!”
Ramud Dumar, the palindrome-named guy who seems to be at the Doswell Stop-n-Go every minute of the day and night also has food available for hungry Ashland garden club and others eager to partake of Hanover arts. And while Southall’s concern over a lack of ciabatta bread in Ashland may be unfortunate, Ramud has many sandwiches made with fresh, wholesome white bread available. “The Doswell Stop-n-Go is ready for your arts visit in Doswell!” he proclaimed from behind a counter stacked with other handy items to help worried Ashlanders through the day, such as lottery tickets, 6-Hour Energy shots, John Deere caps and adult magazines.
Doswell’s Dixie Treat Motor Court is sprucing up in preparation of being a part of the Ashland Arts Alliance as well. Unit Manager and archivist Herthel Wedig says many Dixie Treat residents have dragged personal items out on their lawns and for potential sale or trade as genuine “Objets d’Art”. “If the Ashland Arts shoppers want gaily-painted used tires, well, the Dixie Treat is their one-stop shop.” She says with a smile as she watched Verdon Road for a tell-tale parade of expensive late-model cars in her direction. “We have colorful old sofas, artsy pole lamps, stuff that’s broken but that looks like modern sculpture – why even Mr. Reilly said he will put away his racist old lawn jockeys for today if it will attract more people -- unless somebody from Ashland wants to buy one.”
|Dixie Treat: Sprucing up for the arts|
Still ,with all the work Hanover artists have put into forming the alliance, many Ashlanders are still reticent to admit they actually want to see artists out in public. “I don’t mind looking at cement and asphalt plants and lumber yards when I am out and about in Hanover,” says concerned Ashlander Hazel Zembower, “But If I wanted to see an artist I would just hire one. My Lord, when will this day be over? I never!”