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Van Landingham Art to Benefit League

Clearing studio space for a good cause

Just as Marian Van Landingham is trying to clear out the cancer that has invaded her body, so too is she clearing out her art studio of some of her previous works. This does not mean that she doesn’t plan to return to painting. Instead, it will clear up some space in her studio to enable her to share it with another artist when she returns to painting. It will also raise some much needed money for The Art League.

When Van Landingham was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer last year, she decided not to run for a 13th term as delegate of Virginia’s 45th District.

She continued to paint until November when she felt she couldn’t any longer; it is being used temporarily by an artist whom she may share space with at a later date.

In clearing out her studio, Van Landingham said that she will be donating a dozen or so of her paintings, as well as other artist’s paintings, and hundreds of her silkscreens to The Art League. She estimates that she has 30-35 editions of her silkscreens, of which there are several prints for each edition.

“I have a mat case full of silkscreen prints,” Van Landingham said. “I’m not selling them [at my studio] and I don’t have space for them. Like all artists, you go through many phases, and these just don’t hang with what I have now.”

Van Landingham said that she was surprised at how many paintings she had done. In addition to the paintings at her studio and in her Alexandria home, she just brought back several paintings from her home in Richmond, which she recently sold.

All of these donated pieces will be sold at a sale that will be held the last weekend in April. Friday evening, there will be a "Special Sale & Salute to Marian" where Van Landingham will be present. The show will continue on Saturday and Sunday. What does not sell that weekend will be sold by The Art League at a later date. All of the money collected will be used for The Art League with whom Van Landingham has a long history.

AS THE PRESIDENT of The Art League from 1970 to 1975, Van Landingham led the search to locate additional space for the League’s expanding school. When she recognized the potential for the city’s newly acquired torpedo manufacturing building, she began an initiative to create an art center. The result is the Torpedo Factory Art Center; it provides not only gallery and classroom space for the League, but also studios for working artists.

As the League has grown from 50 students to 2,600 students, they continue to need more space. They are currently leasing space at locations on both Duke and Madison Streets. Van Landingham still hasn’t lost sight of the goal to expand the League and is hoping that her sale will help.

“It’s a benefit to them and to me,” Van Landingham said. “It will clear out some of my stuff, and I’m hoping that it will bring them a little cash.”

“Marian is very dedicated to the concept of keeping us here in the city, and finding some place to have the school in one space,” said Linda Brinker Hafer, executive director of The Art League. “She feels that The Art League is a real presence and has a big impact on local business. She is determined to help us find something. The idea of this donating her works to raise money for a new space is great. It’s terrific that Marian is always thinking of us, and the fact that his is a high profile sale brings it to the attention of people. It means a lot to us to have our needs in the public eye. Marian continues to do what she can to help us.”

Betsy Anderson, who currently serves as the president of the Art League Board of Directors, said, “I feel very honored to have the position that Marian had when I first met her over 30 years ago. Marian is an artist, visionary and Alexandria city activist. Marian's vision for an art center like the Torpedo Factory Art Center has completely changed the look of Old Town Alexandria. The Art League is profoundly grateful for Marian's generosity. She has always written glowing letters of support, encouraging us in all our endeavors. She had a vision for the Art League when she was president of the Art League and she pursued that vision as she became director of the Art Center and later Virginia congresswoman.”

Van Landingham is not currently on the board of The Art League, but continues to serve on the Torpedo Factory Artists Association Board.

“Once my health returns, I will focus on painting and working on projects in Alexandria,” Van Landingham said.