WHO WE ARE
Local Community Arts, aka LoCo Arts is an organization of educators and artists dedicated to enriching and strengthening the communities of Giles County and the NRV through arts-based creative education and cultural experience. We envision an inclusive and creative local community strengthened by the understanding of self, place, culture, and the individual ability to make the home, community, and world a better place.
PENNY P’s BACKYARD
In 2017, LoCo Arts partnered with filmmaker Chris Valluzo to produce Penny P’s Backyard, an Appalachian themed children’s television show that fuses the backyard natural sciences of the New River Valley with the region’s folk life and art traditions. The show’s main character, nine-year-old Penny P, along with her three friends Ramp, Nelly and Sadie, belong to an after-school film club. Penny P’s short films, documentaries, and animations about natural sciences and art celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Appalachia. The show also has the power to subtly introduce children to the language and practice of filmmaking to a generation of media and tech savvy youth.
Chris Valluzzo and crew began shooting the show’s Proof of Concept this summer at Yellow Sulphur Springs an historic healing resort in Christiansburg, VA. The main hotel, built in 1810, and the lush environment of the 50-acre property serve as a larger metaphor for Appalachia.
The show’s creators envision that Penny P’s Backyard will be the first ever television series shot on 100% renewable energy. The overarching goal is carbon neutrality across the entire production. Penny P’s first major sponsor, Solar Connexion in Blacksburg, has agreed to design and build a photo voltaic battery charging station for the show’s production batteries, helping make this dream possible.
The fundraising goal for completing the Proof of Concept is $20,000. So far, we have received a $3000 grant from the Institute of Creativity and Technology at Virginia Tech. We still need your help to raise $17,000 more to meet our goal and turn the idea into a concrete visual trailer. Once the Proof of Concept phase is complete, Chris Valluzzo and crew can begin work on the show’s pilot, and then the entire series.
All contributions are considered tax deductible donations. Corporations, civic organizations, or private entities that give $1000 or more will be added to the marketing plan’s official list of sponsors.
In order to ensure that your gift today goes toward production of Penny P's Backyard, write 'PENNY P' within the box marked Your Public Posted Comment under the Payment Details section of the Donation page.
WHO LOCO ARTS SERVES
LoCo Arts programs currently serves youth and adults in Giles & Montgomery Counties through its afterschool program, workshops, summer camps, and its nature-based preschool program, the Mayapple School. Our center of operations is the Newport Community Center in Giles.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
Access to arts-based curricular and extra-curricular programming is currently limited in Giles, as in many other counties in Virginia, and economic factors can further restrict such access. LoCo Arts is committed to serving the Giles and NRV communities while offering low- or no-cost programming, including after-school and preschool scholarships, to ensure that more individuals have fair access to education and creative activities. We also provide healthy snacks and a safe and comfortable environment for learning and play. We currently occupy a wonderful space that allows for this but requires regular maintenance and updating.
LoCo Arts programming is made possible through low-cost fees for services, donations, partial volunteer and intern efforts, community and specialized project grants, and local fundraising ventures. All income is reinvested into programs that offer individuals and communities healthy creative outlets. Your help is both critical and deeply impactful, as those resources are invested directly into our communities.
View our current summer camp programs, community art projects, and more at LocoArts.org.
To learn more about our preschool program, visit Mayapple.org.