Personality: Dr. Cynthia O. Richardson

Spotlight on president of the Petersburg Area Art League

5/3/2019, 6 a.m.
Cynthia Owens Richardson, president of the Petersburg Area Art League, wants the nonprofit to be a mecca for people to ...
Dr. Cynthia O. Richardson

“PAAL is for everybody, “Dr. Richardson said. “We are not just serving artists but serving the needs of the entire Tri-cities Area. We are here to inspire and move the community to take part in the arts and the organization.”

Meet arts advocate and this week’s Personality, Dr. Cynthia O. Richardson:

No. 1 volunteer position: President, Petersburg Area Art League.

Date and place of birth: April 17 in Columbus, Ohio.

Current residence: Petersburg.

Education: Bachelor of arts in clinical psychology, The Ohio State University; master’s in city and regional planning and master’s in social work, The Ohio State University; and doctorate in educational leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Family: Spouse, John A. Richardson Jr.

When and how I got involved with the Petersburg Area Art League: I have been a member of the PAAL for four years. I was a member of the Southside Virginia Arts Council, and when that organization dissolved, I was asked by the president of PAAL to join.

Why I wanted to serve as president: I wanted to continue to lead PAAL in a positive direction and serve the citizens of Petersburg.

PAAL’s mission: To “empower the community through the visual arts and performing arts” via our three Gallery Spaces and Art Education Center. PAAL offers workshops and classes and participates in Petersburg’s “Friday for the Arts” with monthly exhibition openings every second Friday.

When PAAL was founded: PAAL was founded in 1932 by Anna Mercer Dunlop, who was considered the dean of Petersburg artists. She wanted to create a legacy of art in downtown Petersburg.

Number of members: More than 200.

PAAL’s top challenge: To raise money so that we can continue to maintain a variety of youth and adult art classes, a dynamic and engaging exhibition program that is now in its 16th year and our upcoming special events such as “Music in the Art Park” and new cabaret theater events.

How I plan to meet it: By increasing our membership and having fundraising programs like our 11th Annual Ladies Luncheon.

Dream for PAAL: To be an overall community center for the visual and performing arts.

Relevance of art to the growth and development of youths: It gives them the opportunity for expression that is also tied in with their academic requirements.

Outlook at start of day: Positive, knowing that with God, all things are possible.

A quote that I am inspired by: I have two — “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13, and “That which does not destroy me makes me stronger,” Friedrich Nietzsche.

Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: I love to travel in my RV.

Favorite artist: Claude Monet. His paintings remind me of being in a dream.

Best late-night snack: Popcorn.

Quality I most admire in others: Truthfulness.

Greatest source of inspiration: Going to the ocean and watching the waves.

Favorite recreational activity: Dancing.

Biggest chance I ever took: Flying in a helicopter over Hoover Dam and Lake Meade.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: To never let anyone intimidate you and to know that “wherever you go, you belong there.”

At the top of my “to do” list is: To go to the French Riviera.

The person who influenced me the most: My mother, Marion E. Owens.

The book that influenced me the most: “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach.

What I’m reading now: “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness.

Next goal: To expand my jewelry design business, Cyn’s Rich Jewelry Designs.