Rappahannock Art League, Inc.
19 N. Main Street
Kilmarnock VA 22482
Mission Statement

Inspiring arts in the community and the community in the arts.

Organize, sponsor and foster the visual arts through exhibits, educational programs, and cultural activities that reflect and enrich our broader community.

Provide an environment for creative growth of our members and the community.

Inspire community interest and interaction by celebrating our area’s cultures, heritage, and natural beauty through the visual arts.

Web and Social Media
Multi-Media Comments
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Hope J. Towner
Board Chair Mr. Barry Berwick
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired Commercial Real Estate Executive
Contact Information
Address 19 N. Main Street
Kilmarnock, VA 22482
Telephone 804 436-9309
E-mail ral@ralgallery.com
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2000
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $113,600.00
Projected Expenses $113,600.00
Additional Documents
RAL Makeover 32017View


Inspiring arts in the community and the community in the arts.

Organize, sponsor and foster the visual arts through exhibits, educational programs, and cultural activities that reflect and enrich our broader community.

Provide an environment for creative growth of our members and the community.

Inspire community interest and interaction by celebrating our area’s cultures, heritage, and natural beauty through the visual arts.



1. Adopted a transformational Strategic Plan. Harold Burnley, a retired Altria strategic planning executive/RAL exhibiting artist, facilitated a team of 10 RAL members, our Managing Director & our Treasurer; 2 former RAL Presidents served as consultants, providing valuable institutional context.

2. Strengthened our board. Increased meeting frequency from semiannually to monthly, adopted staggered, 3-year terms for continuity in carrying out long-term planss. Elected 6 new directors with professional expertise in finance, trust & tax law, information technology, marketing, & outreach, one of which is an African-American woman.

3. Formed Watermen’s Way, an 18-month public outdoor art partnership, with Virginia’s River Realm, Steamboat Era Museum, Lancaster by the Bay Chamber, and Virginia Watermen’s Association.

4. Launched monthly Paint Like the Masters workshops, Saturday Teen Paint Nights, and a 5-week Fundamentals of Photography night course to attract high school students and working age adults. These unintimidating, fun programs offered on weeknights established that students & working adults respond to entry-level programs that don’t interfere with school and work.

2017 GOALS

1. Build organizational capacity to transform RAL from a league of older, predominantly white, established artists to an art hub that employs the visual arts to galvanize and embrace all sectors of the community.

2.Grow and diversify our membership beyond the predominantly white retirees and schoolchildren of all races that we already serve well.

3. Increase attendance at free monthly Art Talks, Art Shows, First Friday Opening Receptions.

4. Develop a comprehensive fundraising plan to secure the future of our organization and our physical plant.

5. Communicate and collaborate frequently and effectively with RAL members, the public, the business community, local and regional governments/agencies, other non-profit organizations. 


1. Undertake gallery improvements necessary to increase strategic plan mandated increases in revenue, membership, donations, and competitiveness: LED track lighting, application of uniform neutral paint, lobby renovation, and reception/sales/hospitality area installation.

3. Replace inefficient pen-and-paper recordkeeping with a secure, cloud-based nonprofit database management system that enables us to automate, integrate, and easily access membership, donor, registration, on-line payments, attendance, contact, and financial records for evaluation and communication.

3. Establish an endowment fund to secure the long-term future of RAL and a capital campaign to fund renovation and expansion of our facilities to support programs and generate operating revenue.

4. Expand 2018 workshop line-up and refine scheduling to appeal to a broader audience.

5. Overhaul and redesign RAL website and social media to current best practices for arts organizations.


The Rappahannock Art League (RAL) puts quality visual arts experiences within easy reach of rural Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula residents. We are the largest and oldest visual arts organization in the area. In 2016 RAL had 339 members and 12,156 visitors, and held 49 workshops, 14 art shows, 10 Art Talks, and 12 First Friday Receptions.

RAL was founded in 1949, incorporated in 1990, and obtained 501(c)(3) status in 2000. For 60 years the organization conducted meetings, workshops, Art Talks, and exhibitions in church basements, restaurants, libraries, and businesses. We acquired the c. 1925, 4200-square foot storefront we occupy today in 1999. Our permanent home on Main Street in Kilmarnock enables us to show and sell local artists’ work, conduct art workshops and programs for the general public, and provide space for artist development groups to meet and work.

The current condition, size, and configuration of our space now constrain our capacity to increase income from gallery sales and workshop fees beyond current levels. Last winter we replaced our failing roof at a cost of $26,500. Our HVAC system is obsolete. Our building is not insulated. Lighting is inefficient and uneffective. Utility bills are exorbitant. With further major work imminent and expansion and renovation necessary to support mission and generate operating income, we formed a strategic planning team of RAL members to draw up a blueprint for the future of our organization and the facilities to support it.

In its 2016 written comments on our 2016-2017 Application for General Operating Support, the Virginia Commission for the Arts noted our strengths:

· Economic driver and anchor for visual arts in Rappahannock.

· Artistic quality is good.

· Presents a variety of arts media. Good outlet for artists to sell work.

· Some art exhibitions are juried.

· Strongly volunteer-led organization with gallery management provided on a part-time basis.

· The board size is appropriate.

· Fiscally responsible with strong cash on hand.

· Commitment to arts instruction in the schools is commendable.

· Instrumental in the formation of the new Artisan Trail.



CEO Statement
Board Chair Statement
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Northern Neck
Metro Richmond
Northern Virginia
Gloucester County
Middlesex County
Mathews County

The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula of Virginia are scenic, rural, coastal communities bounded by the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Outdoor recreational opportunities, quaint small towns, resorts, state parks, and national landmarks attract retirees, second homeowners, boaters, campers, and tourists. So it's no surprise that 67.7% of our audience comes from the Northern Neck, 13.3% from the Middle Peninsula, 10.6% from the Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area, and 5% from Northern Virginia. 


Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Barry Berwick
Company Affiliation Retired Commercial Real Estate Executive
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2018
Email beswick.barry944@gmail.com
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mr. Barry Beswick RAL President
Mr. Jeffrey Alan Branflick Retired HBSC Senior Executive
Mr. Harold G. Burnley Jr.RAL Vice President, Retired Altria Executive
Mr. James A. Butts Estate, Trust, and Tax Attorney
Ms. Carol Clark Retired IT Executive, Bloomberg/BNA
Ms. Margaret Muse Clay RAL Development Team Leader, Retired
Mary Ellis Retired
Ms. Sheena Hebbons Lancaster Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Neck
Ms. Barbara Kershner RAL Secretary, retired educator
Mr. Randall Kipp AIAArchitect
Ms Cheryl Mihills Retired; RAL Workshops Team Leader
Ms. Sharon Mundy CPA, retired
Ms. Anne Paparella Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Ms. Patrice Richards Owner, Patty Richards Art
Ms. Marilyn Sprouse Lancaster County Middle School Art Teacher
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 10
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 0
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Under Development
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
No CEO.  We are all volunteers, with a well-established system of division of responsibilities among officers and standing committees. Our most recent challenge is the economic downturn (we include a co-op sales gallery and several fund-raising activities and depend on grants and donations to help us with our children's programs).  We are seeking to broaden our audience in our own and neighboring counties and to deepen our relationship to the business community, especially the tourism sector. We have one part-time paid position, Managing Director.
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Hope J. Towner

Managing Director Hope Towner has 25 years’ experience in nonprofit arts management. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Arts Management at American University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. While her prior experience is in the theatre arts sector, her organizational roles and responsibilities are a perfect match for the big job of being the only paid staff member of a small nonprofit visual arts organization.

Hope managed the Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Communications Department senior staff and its $1,000,000+ budget. She planned and implemented a new website, online ticketing and a long-range strategic plan. She directed subscription campaigns, cultivated sponsors and produced promotional and special events.

At the San Jose Repertory Theatre and the Arizona Theatre Company, Hope was responsible for developing and placing print, radio and television marketing communications to increase awareness of the theatre and its programs. She worked closely with photographers and graphic designers to reinforce the theatre’s message visually.

As a Producer at the Children’s Theatre of Arlington, Assistant to the Executive Director of the Arena Stage, and Assistant box office manager at Arena Stage. Hope worked behind the scenes carrying out the administrative duties that make the show go on at any nonprofit arts organization.

· Director of Marketing and Communications, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

· Media Relations Manager, San Jose Repertory Theatre

· Associate Director of Communications, Arizona Theatre Company

· Public Relations Director, Arizona Theatre Company

· Assistant Theatre Manager, University of Maryland

· Producer, Children’s Theatre of Arlington

· Assistant to the Executive Director, Arena Stage

· Public Relations Assistant, League of Washington (DC) Theatres

Term Start Apr 2013
Email ral@ralgallery.com
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 1
Volunteers 101
Contractors 1
Retention Rate 0
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 4
Date Strategic Plan Adopted July 2013
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Artisan Trail: RAL is an affiliate of the Northern Neck Artisan Trail and site #45. 9 RAL artists also operate studio sites on the trail.

Watermen’s Way: Partnering with Virginia’s River Realm Tourism Council, Lancaster by the Bay Chamber of Commerce, Steamboat Era Museum, and Virginia Watermen’s Association to present a yearlong outdoor public art project designed to stimulate interest in the men/women who shaped our regional identity and encourage residents/visitors to explore Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula attractions.

The Fine Art of Steamboat Dining: Annual, joint awareness/fundraising dinner and auction for RAL and the Steamboat Era Museum. The 2017 event takes place at Good Luck Cellars April 8.

Youth Education: We collaborate with the Lancaster County Public Schools, Chesapeake Academy and the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Neck to provide visual arts instruction and supplies to local students.

Wharton Films Project: Rediscovered films that document ordinary blacks and whites doing everyday things in the 1920s and 30s will be shown at RAL the month of May 2017. The purpose of the exhibition is to attract people who can to shed light on the people, places, events depicted in the films for a PBS documentary produced by the local James Wharton Film Project.


RAL is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday year-round. Located in Kilmarnock, Virginia, the retail hub of the lower Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula, we provide local artists with a high visibility sales outlet & residents/tourists with a convenient place to view & buy works of art. Our Gallery houses works by 55-75 jury-selected Exhibiting Artists who rent display space. They staff the Studio Gallery on a rotating, volunteer basis to provide insight into our artists, their work, and our art programs. All RAL members are eligible to enter and sell their works at the themed monthly art shows in our Exhibit Room.

Budget $42,600.00
Short Term Success
Long Term Success
Description We offer a wide range of art workshops for adults and children, from Drawing for the Truly Terrified to master classes in advanced watercolor techniques. In 2016, workshops included photography, drawing, watercolor, calligraphy, mosaics, oil painting, collage, framing, Photoshop and Lightroom, and acrylics. We also launched Paint Like the Masters and Teen Paint Nights, fun and empowering evening classes for novices. 
Budget $15,800.00
Short Term Success
Long Term Success

While major museums are a day trip away, RAL fills the need for a full-service art center here at home. Residents and visitors attend free, monthly Art Talks featuring prominent speakers from the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. They board the bus for trips we conduct to major museums. Open studios in painting, drawing and photography meet regularly in our classroom. Our free, monthly First Friday Art Show opening receptions are much anticipated and well-attended. 

Budget $38,700.00
Short Term Success
Long Term Success

We offer regular, year-round youth art instruction at RAL, the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Neck, Lancaster County Public Schools, and Chesapeake Academy. We feature monthly student art shows in our gallery and encourage the young artists to visit the gallery and attend free First Friday receptions with their families and friends. We grant classroom funds for art supplies and equipment so teachers don’t have to pay for them out of their own pockets. We have a longstanding college art scholarship program. And in October 2016, we began monthly Paint Nights for teens on Saturday evenings. The Virginia Commission for the Arts says our "commitment to arts instruction in the schools is commendable."

Budget $900.00
Short Term Success
Long Term Success
CEO/ED/Board Comments
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $113,600.00
Projected Expenses $113,600.00
Spending Policy Income Only
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$94,949$99,271$106,040
Administration Expense$11,732$8,509$3,804
Fundraising Expense$0$2,689$5,195
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.981.120.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses89%90%92%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%13%30%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$297,865$299,794$286,525
Current Assets$124,354$118,484$97,417
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$605$695$530
Total Net Assets$297,260$299,099$285,995
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities205.54170.48183.81
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 10/2015View
Organization Comments