SWCC Festival of the Arts

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Welcome! Southwest Virginia Community College is excited to present the Festival of the Arts.

The 2014 Festival of the Arts is just weeks away and is shaping up to be an exciting festival. The 2014 festival will celebrate not only the 20th anniversary of the festival but the theme is Winds of Change, Winds of War-1890-1920: An Era of Empire, Invention and Upheaval. It is an unusual theme and one that has many tentacles that reach around the world.

According to the knowledge and expertise of the Festival historian and author of the popular Cultural Walk, Randy Forehand, “some of the avenues for exploration will be Victoria’s Greater Britain, the rising might of Germany, the resurgent France, Austria-Hungary’s creaking empire falling to the music of the waltz, the Romanoff’s and Russia, the arrogance of Japan, the doomed Ottoman Empire, the wannabe Dutch, Italian, Belgian, Portuguese and Spain. And, of course, the big stick diplomacy of Teddy Roosevelt and the upstart USA. We are moving to the tunes of John Philip Sousa and Scott Joplin. War and revolution are born during this period but also the seeds of soaring aspirations and artistic creativity including the birth of modernism in art, music and architecture and the rise of the film and recording industry.”

These years mark the transition from isolationism to the status of a world power; the beginnings of transcontinental telephone service and mass communication; the rise of the automobile industry and mass production; the women’s suffrage movement to secure the right to vote and the beginning of civil and military aviation and sadly, the rise of modern warfare and World War I. The world-wide environment from 1890-1920 played a part in this important event before, during and after.

We hope you join us!  Mary

Since 1995, many countries of the world, including our very own Appalachian Region of the United States, have been the focus of the festival.

Our returning artists each year include Camerata Virtuosi New York (pictured) 

Learn more about our artists and sponsors and make plans now to join us!


The Festival began in 1995 with Spotlight on America-From Sea to Shining Sea!

Since that inaugural year, the countries of Germany, Italy, Austria, England, Russia, the Appalachian Region of the United States and France and others have been visited through the Festival. The mission of the Festival is to provide an in-depth exploration of the cultural riches of countries and cultures around the world to create a better understanding of those nations and cultures. The two-week long Festival consists of numerous musical performances, including vocal, instrumental and solo presentations. Dance, theatre, literature, visual arts and film are other areas of exploration.

Students from the theatre and music departments at Southwest participate, as well as community singers in the SWCC Community Chorus. SWCC art students design the Festival logo each year and prepare art exhibits that reflect the artistic heritage of the country in the spotlight. Workshops are conducted by visiting artists and a Spotlight event is held each year to showcase student talent.
Festival Themes Through the Years

Nationally and Internationally Acclaimed Artists

Most performances are presented by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, among them:
pianists Pavlina Dokovska, ; violinists Yuri Vodovoz and Rob Taylor; violist Ariel Rudiakov; cellist Diliana Momtchilova; flutist Massimo Mercelli; sopranos Stefka Evastieva and Karen Bureau; the Kandinsky Trio and Garth Newel Chamber Players; Walt Michael and Company and Madeline MacNeil, dulcimer.

Special Guests

Special guests have been actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Dr. Gottfried Wagner, musicologist; Chandler Cowles and Henry Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winners; Dr. Gideon Waldrop, former Dean of the Juilliard School of Music and President of the Manhattan School of Music; composer David Tcimpidis; writers Lee Smith and Sharyn McCrumb.

Venue for many performances:

Southwest Virginia Community College
King Community Center
295 Community College Road
Dellinger Hall
965 Community College Road

Visit these sites for more information about the region:

Tazewell County Website

Appalachian Arts Center

Appalachian Authors Guild

Open for Business: Tazewell County

Virginia Festivals Information
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