Philanthropist and Art Collector Suzanne "Suzie" Viemeister long inspired many in the Bedford community with her unlimited enthusiasm and commitment to helping and supporting the Arts. As a generous champion for artists of all disciplines, Suzie acquired one of the most extensive and eclectic art collections in the region. Her keen eye for exceptional talent and magnificent masterpieces was only surpassed by her generosity to ensure a thriving arts environment.
Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Viemeister family, Suzie's legacy as a major contributor to the arts and culture in the Bedford region continues to grow by extending the Suzie Viemeister Emerging Artist program to new artists in the area. In 2018, the Viemeister family donated a significant portion of Suzie's collection which was auctioned during a special event to form the Suzie Viemeister Emerging Artist Residency Program Fund.
The residency program provides a selected artist with a private rent-free studio, benefitting from many opportunities for professional development and collaboration with peers. The Emerging Artist will learn all aspects of business management, exhibit preparation, hands on experience by collaborating with other studio artists, commercial considerations, marketing, and social media to name a few. The residency concludes with a one-month solo exhibition from November 22, 2022-January 21, 2023.
The Bower Center for the Arts is pleased to introduce Dawn Richerson as the second recipient of the program. Dawn is an artist who is inspired by the soul of place and the natural world. On long walks in the woods, she often documents what she sees and experiences with photography and writing. Later, she takes these field notes and explores her subject matter further, primarily through painting.
Her paintings are both an interpretation of and an invitation to the story of life unfolding around us and within us. During her residency, she hopes to explore the natural beauty of Virginia through painting and photography. Dawn has always wanted to live in a rural area and has recently relocated to Bedford County.
"It is the experience of life that is at the heart of who I am and what I do," she says. "I think it is the desire to reconnect with life and all that is alive in me that is at the core of all my expression. I hope my paintings connect those who encounter them with that sense of wonder—and even mystery."