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An absolutely outstanding itinerary for a creative life Saturday

"King Kong" by Mark Cline at the William King Art Center.

“King Kong” by Mark Cline at the William King Art Center.

“You live a creative life,” a friend recently said to me, in one of those throw out, minor comment tones people say in passing through a conversation.

And in that moment, I knew that I had somehow achieved a life goal. I’m actually living the life I want (well almost, I would prefer a three day weekend – a day for fun, a day to work on personal projects, and a day to do the more irritating things in life such as grocery shopping and cleaning). In all areas, art plays a major role – looking at it, learning about it, sharing it, and creating it.

Then this weekend happened. After a trying workweek filled with logistics and ever-so-fine details, I awoke Saturday morning without the motivation to spend the day holed up in my studio. This idea is unusual as it’s one of my favorite places – throw in the muse cats and life is fantastic. But Saturday was just one of those mornings when adventures in the world were overly tempting.

So, Ken and I opted to give into the urge and here’s how we spent the day.

Itinerary southwest Virginia creative field trip:

  • Sustenance. Head toward Abingdon, but stop for a late breakfast at the Deny’s in Max Meadows Fort Chiswell (Breakfast all day!). For anyone with Deny’s trepidations because of cleanliness and slow service issues, this one may surprise you.
  • Culture. Go straight to the William King Museum of Art. “Roadside Attractions: The Weird and Wonderful Worlds of Mark Cline” is awesome. A huge fiberglass King Kong greets you at the entrance. Think Civil War Union soldiers fighting off a dinosaur invasion, Foam Henge, and Dr. Kline’s Monster Museum. This show closes June 26. Some of my favorite moments in Virginia are courtesy of Mark Cline’s sculptures.
  • Get in touch with your feminine side. On the third floor of the museum is a sculpture show featuring metalsmith Alison Pack (Professor of Radford University’s jewelry/metalsmithing program). The exhibition is called “Cliché’s in Metal.” It’s all very feminine with a sardonic twist. Who cannot resist “Whoops, I Lost my Cherry.”
  • Photographically, two photo shows are there as well. “O. Winston Link: A Day on the Abingdon Branch” is in their conference room gallery. Do not fear turning on the lights for a look – but then do remember to turn them off to help protect the work. Link was a train photographer extraordinaire. And the other show is subtly horrific, but poignant – “Normal: Nazi Germany in Found Photographs.” It makes one think about how monsters are people – normal people with normal lives. And it seems a most appropriate remembrance to bear witness to in hopes that we do not repeat history.
  • Follow this with local art. Upon leaving the museum, head over to the Arts Depot, a cooperative gallery in Abingdon. In spaces like these I have a new game I play called “If money were no object, which piece would I bring home.” In this case, watercolor artist’s Robin Poteet’s small painting of sheets hanging on a clothesline receives this honor.
  • Then let all the experiences sink in over a pint at Wolf Hills Brewing Company, a super casual family place. And it’s still one of my favorite Virginia breweries.
  • Once totally sobered, head back to Wytheville’s 1776 Log House Restaurant. Always ask for the peanut soup (I want it back on the menu) and make sure you have the corn fritters appetizer. Say hello to the doves and the rabbits and see if you can resist smelling the Dracunculus Vulgaris.

And yes, this day was everything good. I suggest you give it a try. Great art, great company, great drink, great food (yep, I’m even going there with Deny’s), and a few more great hours spent lounging around with the muse cats.



The Unwinding Path is the blog of L.S. King – photographer, want-to-be printmaker and sometimes hypnotist. By day she is an arts communications officer at a rural university (translation: photographer, writer, and media content provider), and most of the rest of her time she is an MFA graduate student at Radford University.


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