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Festival of the Arts Returns to Southwest

festival of the arts artistic logo featuring eyes and purple colored art on the edges.

Published on March 3rd, 2023

Southwest Virginia Community College (Southwest) is proud to announce the 28th annual “Festival of the Arts,” will take place April 11 to 23, 2023. As the leading sponsor of this event since 1995, Southwest is dedicated to promoting the arts and celebrating the talents of performers, composers, writers, and visual artists from around the world.

This year’s festival is themed “20/20 Spotlight on Visionaries: Throughout Time, Around the World.” Performances, exhibits, and events that make up the twelve-day festival will focus on individuals whose visions have shaped and changed the world.

The festival will feature visionaries from various artistic genres, such as musicians, composers, dancers, choreographers, writers, visual artists, and more.

Inventors and inventions in the vast fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that have influenced the world will also be highlighted.

A core part of the festival will continue to include performances by the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra accompanying the Southwest Virginia Community Chorus and dynamic pianists Pavlina Dokovska and Vladimir Valjarevic and soprano Clara Lisle.

There will be three performances by Camerata Virtuoso New York, each performance with a different theme and program. These excellent performances will be in Bluefield, Tazewell and Elk Garden, Virginia.

The festival will include the popular Piano Times Three featuring pianists Pavlina Dokovska, Vladimir Valjarevic and Joseph Trivette. The Richmond Ballet will perform works by visionary choreographers. A literary visionary, Emily Dickinson, will come to life in a one-woman show, Tea with Emily Dickinson: The Belle of Amherst, by William Luce.

The Richmond Ballet, the State Ballet of Virginia, will perform works by visionary choreographers. Students from the dance program at Southwest will take the stage prior to the Richmond Ballet’s performance on April 13th.

The festival will also feature a stunning exhibit titled “Visionaries Around Us,” at the Ellen von Dehsen Elmes Gallery in the King Community Center. The exhibit will display photographic portraits of living visionaries from Southwest Virginia, presented by Southwest’s “School of the Arts.”

A popular event at each festival is the “Cultural Walk,” presented by Southwest students, faculty, and staff. During the “Cultural Walk,” students will represent selected visionaries, sharing their vision and importance throughout time in appropriate costumes. The walk will be preceded by a buffet, catered by the Southwest Virginia Community College Culinary Program, featuring cuisine prepared from recipes by Ina Garten of “The Barefoot Contessa.”

Festival sponsors at the $1000 level will receive four complimentary reservations to the dinner, and $500 level sponsors will receive two complimentary tickets. Buffet tickets are $25, and reservations are requested by April 10.

The festival logo, which embodies the theme and concepts of the event, was designed by Southwest graduate Johnathan Keene.

This will be the first “Festival of the Arts” event since the COVID-19 pandemic. Southwest has celebrated the arts with this important community festival since 1995. Past themes include Spotlight on American: From Sea to Shining Sea, as well as Germany, Italy, Appalachia, Austria, England, Russia, France, Spain and Latin America, Africa and Her Legacy, Eastern Europe, Along the Silk Road, Shakespeare, The Diversity of Dance, A Fusion of Cultures, Spotlight on the Movies, and others.

For more information about the festival, contact Mary Lawson at 276-385-0104 or

About Southwest Virginia Community College: Established in 1967, Southwest Virginia Community College is a two-year institution of higher education serving primarily the residents of the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson (partial), Russell and Tazewell. Offering more than 90 programs of study, Southwest has served more than 114,000 students since opening. In addition to credit-based programs, Southwest offers fast-track training and industry recognized credentials.

For more information, please visit

For ticketed events and registration, or more information, contact Mary Lawson. 276-385-0104 or

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