UPPERVILLE, VA. (Oct. 28, 2022) – Early in October, as part of its 50th Anniversary Celebration, The Piedmont Environmental Council welcomed several hundred schoolchildren, their families, and other community members into a two-night extraordinary collaborative performance, produced by ET Projects, at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation’s Rokeby Runway.
Titled Ridgeline for its location at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the two interactive performances opened with a moving solo performance by Orange County resident and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre alumna Demetia Hopkins, and then turned participants into artists, dancers, choreographers, neighbors, and friends, transforming each person into the artwork itself. As each person carried LED-lit umbrellas with canopies showcasing images inspired by regional endangered flora, they turned these gatherings into a dance of light and from afar, a vibrant field of plants and flowers swelling and swaying with grace and joy at sunset.
On October 1, as the signature element of PEC’s farm-to-table dinner, Ridgeline brought together 500+ guests accompanied by the live music of multi-Grammy award nominee Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. The following day, the performance was made unforgettable by the participation of DJ Domingo and local school children and their families from Brumfield, Catoctin, Claude Thompson, Coleman Grace Miller, Greenville, Hilda J. Barbour, James G. Brumfield, Lincoln, Middletown, P.B. Smith and Middleburg Community Charter elementary schools; Auburn, Marshall, Sterling, Taylor, and Warrenton middle schools; Fauquier, James Wood, Kettle Run, and Liberty high schools; as well as Eastern Mennonite University, and private schools Foxcroft, Fresta Valley Christian, Highland, Mountainside Montessori, Wakefield, and The Hill School – Middleburg. Children and families gathered for environmental activities and chalk drawing before putting up their umbrellas under the night sky.
“The excitement, energy, and smiles of the children, their parents, and all of the staff and volunteers was truly heartening, and made Ridgeline truly a community-wide celebration of all we can accomplish for the Earth and our environment together,” said PEC President Chris Miller. “We are so honored that Elizabeth Turk and her team made the PEC community and the Virginia Piedmont part of their newest collaborative performance event and grateful to the Oak Spring Garden Foundation for co-hosting this event with us.”
ET Projects has revealed a project website where photos and videos depict the magic of the collaborative social sculpture that moves like the wind and flows like water — a mesmerizing performance of light in the dark.
“We know that the joy, energy and creative inspiration that was so evident in the Ridgeline performances will accelerate and sustain the next generation of conservation, restoration and protection of the Piedmont,” said Miller. “Ridgeline highlighted the importance of working together on behalf of our environment. And indeed, our collaborative efforts, as individuals, as supporters of PEC, and as partners through other organizations, are a source of hope both within our communities and as a model for others.”
Launched in 2018 by MacArthur Genius Fellow and California native Elizabeth Turk, non-profit organization ET Projects aspires to educate, connect communities through creativity, increase awareness, and shine a light on humanity’s fragile relationship with nature, staying true to its stirring motto; ET Projects—a non-profit without walls. Learn more at etprojects.foundation.
Since 1972, The Piedmont Environmental Council has proudly promoted and protected the natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont. PEC empowers residents to protect what makes the Piedmont a wonderful place, and works with citizens to conserve land, improve air and water quality and build thriving communities. PEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and accredited land trust. Learn more at pecva.org.
The Oak Spring Garden Foundation is an operating foundation dedicated to sharing the gifts and ideas of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. Its mission is to support and inspire fresh thinking and bold action on the history and future of plants, including the art and culture of plants, gardens and landscapes. Learn more at osgf.org.