Radford Early Learning Center receives artwork & grant
Radford Child Development, Inc. board member Mr. Dick Harshberger and his wife Mrs. Kathleen Harshberger continue their work with Mr. Gary Gillespie Israel to secure artist Dorothy Gillespie’s legacy in Radford. At a small ceremony last Friday, September 10th, Israel presented Ms. Gillespie’s “Earth Ribbon” for installation at the Radford Early Learning Center.
Mr. Israel, Ms. Gillespie’s son and president of the Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, explained the donation as a testament to his mother’s strong values in the power of education. “As a Distinguished Professor of Art at Radford University, my mother conducted seminars and offered advice on the passion and business of art. She also regularly worked alongside students, producing art and organizing events and projects.”
The Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation will continue to support arts education at the Radford Early Learning Center through an annual $500 grant and the donation of Dorothy Gillespie Paper Sculpture Kits developed at Roanoke College in partnership with the Foundation. These kits will enable teachers at the Center to encourage young children’s artistic development and enable them to draw connections between their own creations and the newly installed Gillespie work.
“We are thankful to Dick and Kathleen who continue to be the greatest supporters of education and arts in our community,” said Dr. Agida Manizade, president of the RCD board. Mr. Israel reiterated these sentiments, “I would like to thank Dick and Kathleen Harshberger for being my good friends and big supporters of my efforts to preserve my mother’s legacy in Radford and around the country. They were instrumental in the success of my mother’s 2020 Centennial Celebration in Radford.”
Mr. Israel continued, “Radford and Radford University were very important to my mother and are a very big part of my mother’s legacy. With over 90 pieces of artwork spanning six decades, RU houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of my mother’s work. Her association with Radford University began in the 1960’s when she gave one of her pieces to Radford College on extended loan. Over the years she continued to donate art to Radford University, and she had been instrumental in procuring gifts from other artists for an ever-growing University collection.
Ms. Gillespie, a pioneer for women in the arts, had a career spanning over 70 years as an activist, lecturer and mentor to creative women throughout the world. Working in such diverse mediums as metal, canvas and paper she has distinguished herself as one of the preeminent artists of our time. Her work has been exhibited in prestigious museums such as the Guggenheim, as well as innovative private galleries and collected by art lovers throughout the world.
The 501(c)(3) Radford Child Development is a completely volunteer-run and led organization. It launched nine years ago with the mission to bring a high-quality childcare and early education center to the Radford area. The result of this initiative is the Radford Early Learning Center, currently run by KinderCare Learning Centers under contract with RCD, Inc. RELC is a Level 3 Virginia Quality facility and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
RCD provides support to RELC teachers as well as families in financial need. If you would like to give to Radford Child Development, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax deductible donations are accepted through their website, www.radfordchilddevelopment.org. You can also enroll in Kroger Community Rewards and Amazon Smile programs. These businesses then will donate a percentage of sales to RCD.