RCD, Inc., board member Mr. Dick Harshberger and his wife Kathleen Harshberger, worked with Gillespie’s son, Gary Gillespie Israel, to secure artist Gillespie’s legacy in Radford. At a small ceremony Friday, Sept. 10, Israel presented Gillespie’s “Earth Ribbon” for installation at the Radford Early Learning Center.
Israel, who is also president of the Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, said the donation was a testament to his mother’s strong belief in the power of education.
“As a distinguished professor of art at Radford University, my mother conducted seminars and offered advice on the passion and business of art,” he said. “She also regularly worked alongside students, producing art and organizing events and projects.”
The Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation will continue to support arts education at the Radford Early Learning Center through an annual $500 grant and the donation of Dorothy Gillespie Paper Sculpture Kits developed at Roanoke College in partnership with the Foundation. The kits will enable teachers at the center “to encourage young children’s artistic development and enable them to draw connections between their own creations and the newly installed Gillespie work,” according to RCD, Inc.
“We are thankful to Dick and Kathleen who continue to be the greatest supporters of education and arts in our community,” said Dr. Agida Manizade, president of the RCD board. Israel reiterated those sentiments.
“I would like to thank Dick and Kathleen Harshberger for being my good friends and big supporters of my efforts to preserve my mother’s legacy in Radford and around the country,” Israel said. “They were instrumental in the success of my mother’s 2020 Centennial Celebration in Radford. Radford and Radford University were very important to my mother and are a very big part of my mother’s legacy. With over 90 pieces of artwork spanning six decades, RU houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of my mother’s work. Her association with Radford University began in the 1960’s when she gave one of her pieces to Radford College on extended loan. Over the years she continued to donate art to Radford University, and she had been instrumental in procuring gifts from other artists for an ever-growing University collection.”
Radford Child Development is a completely volunteer-run and led organization. It was launched nine years ago with the mission of bringing a high-quality childcare and early education center to the Radford area. The result of this initiative is the Radford Early Learning Center, currently run by KinderCare Learning Centers under contract with RCD, Inc.
Radford Early Learning Center is a Level 3 Virginia Quality facility and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Radford Child Development provides support to early learning center teachers as well as families in financial need.