More than 100 friends, family members, students and community members gathered at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center on September 27 to celebrate the art center’s 15th anniversary and to view the artwork created by Ann Schlesinger, daughter of Rachel M. and Jim Schlesinger.
The Schlesinger Center hosted an artist’s reception for Ann’s exhibit, titled “PAINTING THE LINE, drawing the paint.” Ann said she was honored to be exhibiting her work at the Schlesinger Center – a space that her parents advocated for early on and also provided funding.
“What excites me most in painting is the process of searching. I play around with the composition – pushing things up and down, left and right, blowing them up and shrinking them back, changing the angle of my view, altering color and texture until everything feels as if it’s exactly right,” Ann said. “There is a constant push and pull. It’s intuitive and analytical at the same time.”
Rachel M. Schlesinger was a violinist with the Arlington Symphony. Before her untimely death in 1995, she was instrumental in the search and initial fundraising for a community concert hall. After her death, her husband Jim – a former Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Energy – stepped in and finished the job, donating $1 million to name the center in his wife’s memory.
During her speech, Ann talked about her parents, their impact on those who knew and loved them and their passion for the arts and their community.
“Whenever I talk with anyone who knew my mother, invariably the words ‘lovely’ and ‘wonderful’ come up and she truly was,” Ann said. “My father gave of himself to this country until he could give no more. What a rarity. The number of people he mentored – in and out of government, Republican and Democrat alike – has created a lasting legacy.”
The artist’s reception was free and open to the public, and light refreshments were served. Ann was delighted to have many of her family members there to celebrate and honor her parents. Friends of Rachel M. and Jim Schlesinger were also in attendance, including former U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Robb.
Gallery hours at the Schlesinger Center are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on weekends during events. Ann’s artwork will be on display through Sunday, November 9.