MY ART STORY by

Melissa W Dunning

Berryville
Virginia

Fredericksburg-Nursing-Home-Bluemont-Concert.jpg

Guitar and two horn player perform for a nursing hoime audience in an activities room

Bluemont Healthcare Outreach, 1999, with the Dixie Power Trio. Photo by Peter H. Dunning

The Bluemont Concert Series is a regional arts organization focusing on bringing affordable, family focused, high quality programs to communities in our program area in Virginia. As part of our mission, we present outdoor summer concerts on courthouse lawns and similar public venues with a $5 admission price and all of our summer performers present a free half hour outreach performance at a local nursing home or assisted living center. We also bring environmental & cultural programs to schools - trying to reach as many members of our communities as possible. In the 40 years that Bluemont has been active, we have seen so many dancing children, countless happy families and many, many aged and handicapped individuals who responded visibly to musical performances in spite of their disabilities. The impact of our programs to the community is priceless. We have adult performers who attended our concerts as children and grew up and became professional musicians.

This has all been made possible through support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which in turn receives some of their funding from the NEA; along with donations from local individuals and families, businesses and local foundations.

This has been my professional work for over thirty years. I am also a musician who has been hired by Bluemont to perform many times over the years. My husband founded this organization and our three children worked for Bluemont as teenagers and young adults, and today our oldest daughter is the Executive Director, taking over when her father retired. So, for me, personally as well as professionally, the arts have impacted my life in so many ways. And the Bluemont Concert Series has impacted over three million people in the forty years of it's existence.