Presentation by Longtime Valley Artist Places Some Works on Public Display for First Time

Winchester, VA 11/19/13…Thirteen multimedia works by Shenandoah County artist Ren Crawford are now on view in the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) Art in the Halls Lewis Hall space. The display, Messages from Planet Earth, will be on view through January 26, 2014.

A resident of Strasburg, Virginia, Rachel “Ren” Crawford has been part of the Shenandoah Valley art scene for nearly 40 years. Born in Mississippi, Crawford’s passion for art began at a young age, and she began her professional painting career in 1968 while living in North Carolina. She has travelled widely throughout her career and exhibited her work in many countries. Today Crawford’s paintings are in collections throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, Mexico, Australia, and Great Britain. From 1982 to 1985, Crawford directed the Danner House Art Gallery in Middletown, Virginia. Since then she has exhibited in many Shenandoah Valley locations and galleries, with more recent displays at Lord Fairfax Community College and the Middlebrook Gallery in Staunton, Virginia. In 2009, Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Virginia, selected several of her paintings for its permanent collection. Today Ren Crawford operates a studio—which is open by appointment—in Strasburg, Virginia.

The 13 contemporary works on view in the MSV illustrate the playful and provocative abstract style associated with Crawford’s paintings. The artist describes her process as a form of osmosis in which each theme manifests itself through her observations of both evident and subliminal information about her surroundings. While all the works on view in the MSV are reflections of her reactions to the world, Crawford hopes that those who view her artworks will find their own meaning and inspiration in them.

Several paintings in Messages from Planet Earth are from the artist’s personal collection and are on first-time public display in the MSV presentation. Among them is Loss. The artist painted this touching and deeply personal work following the death of her husband eight years ago. Also on display for the first time, Spiritual Dimensions is a Crawford-family favorite. Rama, among Crawford’s most recent works, captures the artist’s feelings after learning about last year’s school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. One of the larger canvases in the display, The River Rises, depicts the Shenandoah River as viewed from the artist’s home.

With the exception of the works from the artist’s personal collection, all paintings in Messages from Planet Earth will be available for purchase following their presentation in the MSV.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is located at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, Virginia. The MSV complex—which includes galleries, the Glen Burnie House, and six acres of gardens—is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Museum admission is not required to tour Art in the Halls displays. Additional information is available at or by calling 540-662-1473, ext. 235.