Resident Jo McMurtry’s Artwork Selected for Artisan Center of Natural Bridge State Park. 


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Kendal resident Jo McMurtry has had some of her artwork, ink-and-wash drawings of Virginia wildlife, accepted by the Artisan Center of Natural Bridge State Park.  The park is located thirteen miles south of Lexington at the junction of U.S. Highway 11 and State Route 130, between exits 175 and 180 of Interstate 81.

The Artisan Center

The Artisan Center is part of the larger gift shop occupying much of the first floor of the park’s Visitor Center.  Thirty-five artists and craftspersons are represented in the Artisan Center, having been chosen by a jury of state park officials this past January.  Work includes ceramics, wooden and leather items, wall art, and much more, for sale on consignment at reasonable prices.

Jo’s Work

Jo’s drawings are based on sketches done from life.  In pursuit of models, she visits zoos and other establishments where native wildlife can be seen.  (These  animals typically cannot be returned to the wild because they have been injured or have become too accustomed to humans.)  And, of course, Jo can find models simply by walking around Kendal’s beautiful campus:  deer, rabbits, birds, but no bears so far.

About Natural Bridge Park

Natural Bridge has been part of  the Virginia State Park system since September of 2016.  Its roster of previous owners begins with Thomas Jefferson, who bought the bridge, a 215-foot-high limestone arch over Cedar Creek, and 157 surrounding acres from King George III of England in 1774, for a price of twenty shillings.  Over  the years, passing from owner to owner, the bridge became a tourist attraction, and in 2013 its then-owner announced plans to sell it.  Numerous local groups joined the movement to bring Natural Bridge into the state park system.  The park now includes 1,540.22 acres — larger than Jefferson’s original purchase — and includes six miles of hiking trails.

Visitors to the park will find some things unchanged.  One still buys a ticket at the Visitor Center to go down to Cedar Creek and walk beneath the bridge, though the price has been lowered:  $6 for ages six to twelve, $8 for those over thirteen, children under six free.  The shuttle bus is still available for those who prefer not to use the stairs.  More information and a calendar of special events can be found by googling “Natural Bridge State Park.”

The Natural Bridge Historic Hotel and Conference Center, across Highway 11 from the Visitor Center, is not part of the Natural Bridge State Park.  It is a going concern, however, and a description of its current amenities can be found via Google.  For more information, visit http://www.artisanscenterofvirginia.org/index.php/home/profile/natural-bridge-state-park.

 

Resident Jo McMurtry in front of artwork at Natural Bridge.

Resident Jo McMurtry in front of artwork at Natural Bridge.

 

Jo McMurtry Natural Bridge Art

Jo McMurtry Natural Bridge Art

 

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