At their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 5th, Ashland Town Council passed a resolution to accept an artwork donation agreement with Mr. Charles Sthreshley that includes eight pieces of artwork, ranging from functional art to abstract sculpture to photography, to be added to the Town of Ashland’s growing Public Art Collection.
Earlier this summer, members of the Public Art Commission visited Mr. Sthreshley’s home and studio to see the pieces in person and discuss the possibility of a donation. The Commission then received a formal proposal and presentation from Mr. Sthreshley at their regularly scheduled meeting on July 27th. At that meeting, the Commission voted 5-0 to recommend acceptance of the eight artworks into the Town’s Public Art Collection by Town Council.
“On behalf of the Town of Ashland’s Public Art Commission, I would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Sthreshley for his generous donation,” said Ms. Leslie Bax, Chair of Ashland’s Public Art Commission. “Mr. Sthreshley’s unique perspective and creative spirit will help fulfill our mission by enhancing our public spaces and perhaps generate conversations about art within our community.”
A long-time Ashland resident, Mr. Sthreshley is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist working in stained glass, steel, wood, ceramics, painting, photography, and installation art. Mr. Sthreshley is best known as a studio furniture maker working in concrete. His career includes exhibits in New York City, the Meredith Gallery in Baltimore, the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, DC, and a continuous exhibit at the former Gallery Flux in Ashland.
“I’m happy to donate these artworks,” Mr. Sthreshley said in remarks to Town Council. “Especially right here in my hometown where I will be able to see them often and hopefully being enjoyed by my community.”
“Mr. Sthreshley’s contribution is momentous as it is the first acquisition for the Town’s newly-formed Public Art Commission,” said Ms. Martha J. Miller, the Town of Ashland’s Community Engagement Manager. “The Town of Ashland values and recognizes the important role that arts and cultural activities play in enhancing the quality of life for our residents. The arts help define a community, encourage its growth and development, and contribute to our local economy by attracting new businesses, residents, and visitors.”
Exact placement for the artworks is yet to be determined but will be solidified in the coming months by the Town Manager at the recommendation of Mr. Sthreshley and the Public Art Commission.
“Ashland’s profile as an arts destination is growing thanks to events like Ashland Fourth Fridays, cultural programming at our beloved Ashland Theatre, our growing collection of murals, the future arrival and installation of the ‘Secretariat: Racing Into History’ monument, and now this generous donation from Mr. Sthreshley,” Ms. Miller added. “Ashland has always been a town full of bonafide artists and art lovers, and the Town is more than happy to be a part of bringing that to light.”
ABOUT THE TOWN OF ASHLAND’S PUBLIC ART COMMISSION
Formed by a 2022 Town Council Ordinance, the Town of Ashland’s Public Art Commission is comprised of five appointed members, a staff liaison, and a liaison from Town Council. The Commission advises and makes recommendations to Town Council regarding the placement, support, and value of public artwork as a means to beautify the Town of Ashland and promote creative place-making within public spaces.
ABOUT CHARLES STHRESHLEY
Charles Sthreshley was born in Brussels, Belgium and raised in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Ashland, Virginia. Sthreshley studied sculpture and furniture design at Virginia Commonwealth University, computer graphics at George Mason University and completed his B.A. at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey.
Sthreshley’s chosen medium for both sculptures and studio furniture is concrete over a steel armature. Beginning with a vision and a small sketch, he draws in space with steel bars, covers them with wire mesh and a special mix of concrete to realize his dreams. Sthreshley has participated in more than 150 exhibitions, at the Smithsonian Institution and other museums and galleries throughout the East Coast. He currently shows locally at the Crossroads Art Center in Richmond.
In 1996 he accepted a position at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, and developed computer touch screen systems. He was the lead object installer for the nationally acclaimed exhibit "September 11: Bearing Witness to History". In 2007 he accepted the position of Senior Lighting Designer at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC where he also taught classes in Lighting Exhibits to students in the Masters of Exhibit Design program at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. The last years of his museum career were with the National Gallery of Art where he was the principal lighting designer for the reinstallation of the East Building.