Over the Moon: Hunt Country Artists

by Editorial

Her latest work “is mostly about trying to view our foggy internal world and put that abstracted place into some kind of physical shape” Many of her pieces in this genre will be part of a show titled “Transfiguring” which will be on display in Washington from mid-September through the end of the year at the Charles Sumner School Museum.

Lilla says her long term plans for Youngblood art studio are to “continue working and teaching, but also to use the gallery space as a venue for artists to show their work on a quarterly schedule.”

She recently held a show for Charlie Westbrook’s “expressionistic bovine paintings” — a big hit in these parts. Another exhibition/benefit for lesscancer.org raised $3,700 to support a fund to buy groceries for children with the disease.

Lilla’s philosophy is not just to let her studio be another retail gallery space. “I’m less interested in selling and more interested in encouraging artistic expression as a means of growth, healing and community gathering,” she says. “Things have been selling, which is rewarding, but it is not the mission.”

THE PLAINS OF AFRICA

Jay Fetner is another talented artist who lives near The Plains. In the past twenty or so years he has traveled to Africa for business and to photograph wild animals. His 1987 book, The African Safari: The Ultimate Wildlife and Photographic Adventure was published by St. Martin’s Press. He is currently working on a second edition and preparing a screenplay and production for a film treatment that he has written on the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Jay and Sandi Young, an events planner, live at Coachman Farm. In the past few years they’ve teamed up on several African-inspired charity events there. In 2003, they hosted “Out of Africa” for Loudon Healthcare. In 2005, it was “Safari Club” for Verdun Adventure Bound; last year it was “Cape Town in the Country” for the U.S.-South Africa Wine Foundation.

The African theme can be seen throughout the magnificent residence at the top of the hill in a “cottage” once built for his late parents. Jay and Sandi have brought together an eclectic mix of major wildlife art with crafts, travel mementos and décor to create an environment certainly unique in Middleburg and likely anywhere. It’s like a museum and filled to the rafters.

This year’s charity gala in mid-September is a benefit for the Ubuntu Education Fund for families in poor South Africa townships. (The evening will be dedicated to Ubuntu’s patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whose health Sandi and Jay hope will permit him to attend.) Grammy winner, Lebo M, best known as the “voice and spirit” of The Lion King, will perform against a breathtaking backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounded by all things African.

ON THE FIELDS IN UPPERVILLE

Jay also is an avid polo player with his aptly named team, Golden Zebra, and fellow players Gonzalo Fucci, Diego Ferreira and Bill Gunn. They are among the regulars in Upperville at Maureen Brennan’s Virginia International Polo headquartered at Llangollen, the magnificent estate once owned by John Hay “Jock” Whitney, heir to one of America’s greatest fortunes and a member of one of the country’s top polo families. With a bit of luck and practice, the Golden Zebras might be among the teams for the season finale at the end of September … as another summer of bliss in the country slowly concludes. Before you know it, we’ll be pulling out the tweeds for the Middleburg races.

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