Forms in Clay

February 3, 2020 thru March 9, 2020
Time: 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Location: Swanson Studios at the Danville Museum of Fine Art & History
965 Main Street Danville, VA
Time: Mondays 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Cost: $95.00 for members of the museum and $105 for non museum members. Includes 25 lbs. of clay, glazes and firing.

The Forms In Clay class is designed for beginers to advance students.  The Swanson Studio is equipped for handbuilding and wheel throwing, and utilizes a electric kiln for firing.

The beginner student will learn the 3 basic handbuiding techniques and if interested an introduction to wheel throwing.  Intermediate students and advance students have the flexibility to follow there own artistic direction.  Forms created in class range from functional vases, bowls etc. to non functional sculptural art pieces.  For more information or to sign up email or call 434-792-5355 9:00am-5:30pm 


Camilla Williams Exhibit

January 12, 2020 thru May 22, 2020
Camilla Williams Exhibit


Camilla Williams Exhibition

January 12 to May 24, 2020


The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History (DMFAH) would like to announce the Camilla Williams Exhibition, made possible through a generous Make More Happen grant from the Danville Regional Foundation. The exhibition can be viewed in the DMFAH's Schoolfield and Jennings galleries. Through the exhibition of Camilla Williams, the DMFAH promotes history and art in the Dan River Region and integrates awareness of history, culture, and community. The Camilla Williams Exhibition highlights the relationship of the famed New York opera diva and her hometown, Danville, while exploring the difficult path to fame in a racially divided South during the civil rights movement.  The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History believes conversations on diversity and inclusion lie at the heart of Danville Museum exhibition experience. This exhibition aims to not only reveal Camilla Williams’ life and time in a historical context, but also to inspire neighborhoods and community residents to dream big, pursue excellence, and cultivate positive creative change. The museum also aspires to build strong community relationships around the narratives of Camilla Williams’ life in Danville and her professional engagement as an opera singer on the international stage. Her compassionate mentorship of her students at Indiana University and graceful later years will also be celebrated. The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History serves as a center for cultural activities in the Danville and Pittsylvania County region while drawing visitors from the entire Dan River Region and beyond. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) organization.


About Camilla Williams:  Born in Danville, Virginia, in 1919, Camilla Williams became the first African American soprano to appear with a major American opera company, the New York City Center Opera, with her 1946 debut in the title role of Madame Butterfly.  Camilla Williams gifted the Danville Museum with her personal effects, knowing that they could have the potential to impact our community.  The Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History plans to offer an exhibit featuring Camilla Williams’ relationship with her hometown, with the New York opera world and with her students at Indiana University. The exhibition will be on view from January 12 –May 22, 2020, and narrates the story of a girl born in Danville whose voice was heard around the world. This vibrant, bold exhibit holds participatory and community engagement features that draw the audience into the life and times of Camilla Williams, when the doors around her held “Whites Only” signs. Not only was Camilla Williams able to overcome the racial barriers that held her opportunities in check, but she also became a hope for others through the Civil Rights movement. The exhibition also is a celebration of Camilla Williams’100th birthday and includes a variety of programs and performances starting in June of 2019 at the Museum and in off-site locations throughout the community.


Camilla Williams Collection Curator and Exhibition Manager: Kate McDannold

University of North Carolina at Greensboro Museum Studies Fellow 2019-2020

Kate McDannold is excited to work with the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History for the Camilla Williams project, especially since it furthers her interest in celebrating overlooked or underrepresented historical perspectives. McDannold received her BA in History and Public History Certificate from Western Carolina University, and she is currently in her second year of UNC-Greensboro’s Museum Studies MA program. 


McDannold is passionate about creating inclusive and interactive museum exhibits with unique sensory components. After her work with UNCG’s installation of Patient No More, an exhibit exploring disability activism in the United States, she is aware of the importance of accessibility and inclusion for people of all abilities. She hopes to bring this perspective to the creation of the Camilla Williams exhibit. McDannold looks forward to showcasing Williams’ life and achievements to the public at the DMFAH.


Camilla Williams Curatorial Catalogue essay: Michelle Talibah will be contributing the curatorial statement - available in the gallery and the exhibition catalogue.

Michelle Talibah brings a unique perspective to the Camilla Williams exhibition. As a painter, public artist, educator and curator she is able to investigate the many facets of Camilla Williams’ life as professional singer, wife of a civil rights activist, and mentor as well as teacher at Indiana University.

As founding director and curator of New Door Creative Gallery in 2004, now located in Baltimore’s Station North Arts District in 2006 in Baltimore, Maryland, Michelle Talibah offers space to professional and emerging visual artists who explore an aesthetic informed by culture, community engagement and equity.

In 2009, New Door Creative presented Divas, by the late artist Morgan Monceaux. His character series devoted to cultural, social and political luminaries; meticulously researched and explored, investigate topics such as: “The Presidents”, a portrait of every United States president (from George Washington to Barack Obama, and their First Ladies); “The Royals”, a portrait series of international royalty; “Jazz Innovators”, a series depicting musicians from the tradition of Jazz and Blues, and Divas. Divas, is a portrait series comprising over 30 African-American opera vocalists, many obscured within the history of opera and theater. The Diva series began with the depiction of renowned soprano Camilla Williams performing Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Divas was also exhibited at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance (Amalie Rothschild Gallery) in 2010.

Fred Motley: Danville Community Engagement Exhibition Formats for Camilla Williams.

Teaming up with Cedric Hairston, the Supervisor of Specialty Curricula Areas for Pittsylvania County Schools in Virginia, to navigate the local Danville public school community, the local church communities, as well as Averett and Danville Community College, Fred Motley draws on an audience that needs to become connected to their own stories. Motley is no stranger to speaking, singing and dancing at festivals, boasting a resume of 30 years' experience as a "modern day griot." 

Fred Motley has “talked” to his local community through stories, theatrical and musical performances for a long time. Reporter Vicky Morrison writes in an article for the Register and Bee in 2015 about the annual Storytelling Festival hosted by the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History every first weekend of February. She states that Fred Motley keeps the Storytelling event sustainable through the quality and accessibility of the programming for all - while also preserving stories and traditions in the hearts and minds of an audience. The rich history of the Dan River Region is alive and well through the community engagement programming Fred Motley has constructed for the Camilla Williams exhibition since June of 2019 to the opening of the exhibition in January of 2020. He also conducts the Storytelling Festival at the Danville Museum of Art in February of 2020.

 “Everything that you hear, see, touch, and taste, reveals a story. It introduces those observing, to the anatomy of the story and the message in the stories and then translates that message from the page to the stage using acting techniques”  (Fred Motley)




2019-2020 Programming dates for Camilla Williams Exhibition


The, community engagement programming leading up to the exhibition installation dates in January are included (Programming facilitated by Fred Motley, the CCECC, Danville Concert Association and Cedric Hairston. All venues are located in the city of Danville VA):


  • Sunday, June 30, 2019: “Let’s talk About Camilla Williams and Danville”, 3pm until 4:30pm. Special guest Jean Vernon – East New Hope Baptist Church Praise Dance Team.
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019: Film Screening – “Aida’s Brothers and Sisters: Black Voices in Opera and Concert.” 11:30 am, Danville Museum Of Fine Art and History.
  • Saturday, August 3, 2019:“ Art and Music” chaotic Pop Up. 2pm until 6pm. Crema & Vine/ 1009 Main Street.
  • Thursday, August 15, 2019: “ Lets talk about Camilla Williams and Danville.” Mix and Mingle – 6pm until 7:30pm. AKA Sorority House/ 320 Holbrook St.
  • Saturday, August 24th & Sunday, August 25th. “Camilla Williams and Her Danville Roots” - History & Art Pop Up. 11 am – 2pm and 1:30pm – 3:30pm. Calvary Baptist Church/ 218 Holbrook Street.
  • Tuesday, September 10, 2019: Film Screening – “ Aida’s Brothers and Sisters: Black Voices in Opera and Concert.” 5:30pm until 7:30pm. Blount Chapel/ Averett University/ 420 West Main Street
  • Sunday September 29, 2019: “A Program of Spirituals and Hymns” Clarissa Feat Knight, Voight Hairston, Daryl McLean, GWH Chorus. 2pm- 3:30 pm. High Street Baptist Church / 630 High Street
  • Thursday, October 10, 2019: Film Screening: “ Aida’s Brothers and Sisters: Black Voices in Opera and Concert.” 11:00am screening and a 5:00pm screening. Ruby B Archie Public Library / 511 Patton Street
  • Thursday, October 17, 2019: “An evening of Concert Music Featuring Soprano Dr. Louise Toppin” (7pm -9pm). High Street Baptist Church/ 630 High
  • Friday, October 18, 2019: Mix and Mingle, 5:30pm – 7:00pm. The Historic North Theater/ 629 North Main Street
  • Saturday October 19, 2019: Mix and Mingle, 1:00pm – 4:00pm. Camilla Williams Biography Book reading by Chelsea Hillas (Averett Intern) The Historic North Theater/ 629 North Main Street
  • Saturday, November 9, 2019: Gospel, Concert, Broadway and R&B. John M. Langston Auditorium/ 228 Cleveland Street
  • Installation Week: Monday, January 6 – 12,
  • Opening Reception: Sunday, January 12, 2020. 2:00-4:30pm
  • Storytelling Festival, February, 2020 (Fred Motley, Monica Motley and Karen Williamson)



Partner and Sponsor organizations: Key partners already involved in small associated community events at the Danville Museum (live music/film screenings/ theater/ book readings/refreshments/panel discussions and other aspects involved):  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Calvary Baptist Church, Langston High Alumni Group, High Street Baptist Church, and Opera Ebony. DMFAH partners include Danville Art League, Little Theater of Danville, Smokestack Theatre Company, Danville and Pittsylvania County public school systems, private and parochial schools, home school groups, Head Start, Danville Ruby B Archie Public Library, Danville Community College, Averett University, Danville Historical Society, the Langhorne House, History United, City of Danville Public Works, Garden Club of Danville, and Old West End Association. The Museum thanks the Danville Regional Foundation’s “Make More Happen” grant for covering the expenses of the project planning and development for the Camilla Williams Exhibition. We would like to thank Ben Rippe for restoration of the Camilla Williams fur garments and for providing additional fashion accessories and mannequins. Thank you to Indiana University for facilitating the Camilla Williams Collection transfer to DMFAH. The Museum would like to thank all DMFAH volunteers and all sponsors for their support.



  • Ben Rippe, Rippe’s Apparel Furs and Shoes, Danville, VA
  • The Schoolfield Museum, Danville, VA
  • Kelly Cunningham, Best Of My Ability (B.O.M.A), Danville Fashion Week, Danville, VA
  • DRF, Make More Happen Community Grant, Danville, VA
  • Averett University, Intern Chelsea Hillas, Danville VA + CCECC programming
  • Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness (CCECC)
  • University of North Carolina at UNCG, Greensboro, NC. Museum Studies Fellow Kate McDannold
  • Danville Concert Association (Louise Toppin Performance: Mrs. Camilla Williams 100th Commemoration Committee)
  • Historic High Street Baptist Church



Indiana University, African American Arts Institute, Office of the Vice president for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, 275 N Jordan Ave, Bloomington, IN,

Virginia Museum of Natural History, 21 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA.



Design and Conservation

  • Louise Martling, Graphic Designer and Exhibition Support, Eleventh Hour Design
  • Hollis Stauber, Conservation work on Camilla Williams bust, Water based Burned Umber on plaster, October 2019.
  • Sonya Wolen, Last interview with Camilla Williams
  • Patsi Compton, Sonya Wolen, Chelsea Hillas, Fred Motley, C.B. Maddox, Wenn Harold (Exhibition Team)


Community Engagement

  • Fred Motley: Director Storytelling Festival (February 2020) as well as director of community engagement events that led up to the exhibition.
  • Monica Motley: Director of the Motley Consulting Group (TMCG), a consulting firm that uses practice-based research and inclusion, equity and diversity methods to help community activists, organizations and academic institutions more strategically address community disparities and health inequities.
  • Cedric Hairston, facilitated programming in public schools, churches and community centers.
  • Kelly Cunningham, community engagement through B.O.M.A. Director of Danville Fashion Week.



For more information call: 434-793-5644

Or e-mail: C.B. Maddox at

The Camilla Williams exhibition is on view in the DMFAH’s Jennings and Schoolfield Galleries and is wheelchair accessible











December 23, 2019 thru January 2, 2020



STC present "it's a Wonderful Life" - Copy - Copy - Copy

December 22, 2019
Time: 2:30 PM

STC present "it's a Wonderful Life" - Copy - Copy

December 21, 2019
Time: 7:30 PM

STC present "it's a Wonderful Life" - Copy

December 20, 2019
Time: 7:30 PM

STC present "it's a Wonderful Life"

December 19, 2019
Time: 7:30 PM

Sutherlin Mansion Holiday High Tea

December 14, 2019 thru December 14, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Sutherlin Mansion Holiday High Tea

40 tickets available for each session

Tea &Tour

(Tours of the Mansion will be available by docents before and after the tea. We also have an audio tour for those who would like to tour solo)


Date: Saturday December 14

Time: Two Sessions

11am – 1pm

2pm – 4pm

Where: Museum Auditorium

Ticket Price: $28.00 ($25 for Museum Members)

Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History

975 Main Street, Danville, VA 24541




About:   Tea service at the Sutherlin Mansion transports you to a time when mid-day was meant for relaxing. In the midst of holiday madness, put on a beautiful hat, leave your cares behind and enjoy the Sutherlin Mansion’s historical setting and give yourself the time to indulge in a cup of tea, while nibbling on freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches and pastries. This is the perfect mother daughter/ Grandparent grand child/ Best Friend/ Corporate & Business getaway for the busy holiday season.


After being seated, guests will be greeted by three different flavored aromatic teapots and a three-tiered serving tray with delectable treats. Not only is this a great way for tea drinkers to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, but it also offers a time to catch up with conversations and reconnect with friends, family and business colleagues in a different way.


The History behind High Tea

In an article written by Pamela Foster, a culinary business development executive, but also a culinary historian and author, she states:

“Traditionally, afternoon tea is served between 3p.m. and 6p.m. an ideal time for a break. The ritual of afternoon tea dates back to the 1800’s when Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, a close friend of Queen Victoria, is reputed to have complained of having a sinking feeling during late afternoon. Queen Victoria heard about her afternoon tea and it became a social event.”


Kerri Sholly, of the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, says that many mistakenly use the term  ‘afternoon tea’ and ‘high tea’ interchangeably, assuming the latter refers to the status of those who partake. But, this is a mistake – high tea was served around 6 p.m. and usually consisted of a full dinner meal for commoners after they finished work for the day. The name ‘high tea’ was derived from the tables that were usually associated with this meal (often people stood for the meal). The elite usually took their tea at low tables found in elaborate parlors and sitting rooms. The traditional English afternoon tea is served on a three-tier stand. The top tier holds scones and seasonal breads, the middle, sandwiches and savories; the bottom sweets.


(Taken from an article written by Andrea Doyle/ December 01, 2015 for MEETING STATEGIES blog.)



 So if you are highbrow, or lowbrow or just a tea lover. This is an event for you. Dress up or dress down but come and make time stand still - even if just for a short period of time. Rejuvenate and relax during the busy holiday season.



Contact Visitor Service Coordinator: for tickets



Sutherlin Mansion Ginger Bread House Building

December 14, 2019
Sutherlin Mansion Ginger Bread House Building

Sutherlin Mansion Gingerbread House


Edible Architecture: A Collaborative Workshop

20 tickets available for each session


Building Has Never Been So Delicious

Building Family togetherness with a little sweetness in the mortar and sugar in the bricks!!!

No Licking & No Fun (Just Kidding)


(DMFAH also has an audio tour for those who would like to tour the Danville Museum BEFORE you start the sticky process of building your gingerbread house)


Date: Saturday December 14

Time: Two Sessions

11am – 1pm

2pm – 4pm

Where: Museum Auditorium

Ticket Price: $15.00 Adult + child ($ 10 for Museum Members)

$5.00 for each extra Child (3- 11yrs)




All children need to be accompanied by an adult, and the Gingerbread house building can be a collaborative effort (Or not. Sometimes a master builder just needs a little support for great creative projects). Each ticket will give you a plate with a graham cracker house that needs decorating. All tables will have green and white icing (for mortar and snow and trees) and miscellaneous holiday candy will be available to decorate. All proceeds will go toward the See and Do Children’s Room and education programming.


Gingerbread House Building Activity will take place in the Children’s See and Do Room at the Danville Museum of Fine Art and History, 975 Main Street, Danville, VA 24541


About:  Building Family togetherness with a little sweetness in the mortar and sugar in the bricks!!! No Licking & No Fun (Just Kidding)

The Sutherlin Mansion offers family fun over the holidays, which might just be finger licking good. Join us in constructing gingerbread houses that can become great holiday decorations. Transport yourself and family members to a place and time when architecture knows no rules. Use your imagination to conjure up a holiday fantasy house, good enough to eat!  With this beautiful gingerbread house, you can leave your cares behind and enjoy the Sutherlin Mansion’s historical setting in a kid-friendly way. Give yourself the time to indulge in sticky fun and let us clean up the kitchen!!! Great conversations with your young builders can be had while nibbling on sweet treats and sipping hot chocolate.  This is the perfect mother-child/ Grandparent-grand child/ Big Brother and Sister and young sibling event for the busy holiday season.


Tables will be set with holiday candy offering fun and sweetness to make the holidays less stressful.


The History behind Gingerbread Houses

Tori Avey states in her food blog for PBS that Gingerbread arrived in the New World with English colonists. She says the cookies were sometimes used to sway Virginia voters to favor one candidate over another. The first American cookbook, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, has recipes for three types of gingerbread including the soft variety baked in loaves:

Soft gingerbread to be baked in pans.

No. 2. Rub three pounds of sugar, two pounds of butter, into four pounds of flour, add 20 eggs, 4 ounces ginger, 4 spoons rosewater, bake as No. 1.

This softer version of gingerbread was more common in America. George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, served her recipe for gingerbread to the Marquis de Lafayette when he visited her Fredericksburg, Virginia home. Since then it was known as Gingerbread Lafayette. 

Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. The elaborate cookie-walled houses, decorated with foil in addition to gold leaf, became associated with Christmas tradition. Their popularity rose when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, in which the main characters stumble upon a house made entirely of treats deep in the forest. It is unclear whether or not gingerbread houses were a result of the popular fairy tale, or vice versa.


Tori Avey is a food writer, recipe developer, and the creator of She explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today.


 So if you are older, or quite young. This is an event for you where all can have fun. Rejuvenate and relax during the busy holiday season.


Swanson Open Studio

December 8, 2019 thru December 8, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Danville Museum of Fine Art and History Presents: The Swanson Open Studio  


Look no further

One of a kind, paintings, prints and ceramics: Demonstrations and Studio conversations

Free and Open to the Public


 (DMFAH also has an audio tour for those who would like to tour the Danville Museum)


Date: Sunday December 8, 2019

Time: 12 noon - 5pm

Where: Danville Museum Annex: Swanson Studio

Ticket Price: Free Public event



The “Deep Enders” and friends invite you to a day of art perusing and art collecting at the Danville Museum of Fine Art and History’s Annex: The Swanson Studio. This open studio event offers visitors, for a limited time, the opportunity to see the space of the working artist and to talk to the artists about their work and their professional practices. Within the duration of the open studio many of the artists taking part allow the public to access their private workspaces and portfolio flat- files. The Swanson Open Studio offers an unusual insight into the places and the ways in which artists work.


Participating Artists: Linda Gourley, Sandy Bash, Elsabé Dixon, Sam Kushner, Hollis Stauber, Jonothan Scollo, Harper Scollo.


Artist Demonstrations include:

  • Ceramic Wheel Demonstrations by Elsabé Dixon and Jonathan Scollo
  • Printmaking techniques of Collograph processes, Silk screening, and woodblock as well as monoprint processes. Ideas for making your own holiday cards will be shared by Linda Gourley.
  • Acrylic Paint demonstrations by Sam Kushner
  • Watercolor demonstrations by Elsabé Dixon, Hollis Stauber, Sam Kushner, and Sandy Bash.
  • Oil Painting demonstration by Hollis Stauber.



Join us for this glimpse into the Swanson Studio Artists’ practices, and be privy to art demonstrations that could inspire you. This would also be an opportunity to negotiate an opportunity for collecting art or obtaining a unique gift.


The History behind the Artist Open Studio

Ian Wallace writes in an article for Artspace, on June 11, 2014:

As the site where paintings are slathered and sculptures are wrought, the artist's studio is a locus of widespread fascination. It's also a very complicated place. As artists have evolved over the 20th century to embrace installation art, performance, relational aesthetics, and other site-specific approaches that necessarily occur outside of the studio—ushering in what has been called a "post-studio condition"—this onetime site of solitary creativity and material exploration has become a meeting place, where a visit with a curator or critic can turn into a professional negotiation, planning, and development. At the same time, art enthusiasts have an obsessive fascination with the mythology of the artist's studio, which is documented online and in programs like PBS's Art21 series with a relish that falls somewhere in between the reverent preservationism of a nature documentary and the romantic escapism of a spread in Vogue