Director's Note: Family and Healing

The Parker Family: Drew, Alison, Barbara and Andy at Piedmont Arts' 50th Anniversary Gala

The poet Maya Angelou wrote, “I sustain myself with the love of family.”

That word—family—and all of its connotations have been on my mind since the tragic events of August 26. The Parkers—Alison, Barbara, Andy and Drew, were about as close as a family can be. Although Alison and Drew were grown and out on their own, they still took trips together and truly loved being together and sharing in one another’s successes and happiness. The week prior to Alison’s death, Alison, Barbara, Andy and Alison’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst (Drew stayed home to take care of their dog, Jack), spent several days in Nantahala, celebrating Alison’s 24th birthday and doing what they loved, whitewater rafting and kayaking. This is a family who will not have to look back with any regrets. They always supported and loved one another, whether it was attending an event for Alison; supporting Drew in his career; standing with Andy in his run for Board of Supervisors; or being at Piedmont Arts to show their love of the arts and their mother, Barbara, our Director of Programs.  

During these past several days, the word healing also comes to mind. Not only will the Parkers be going through a time of healing, but also the family and loved ones of Adam Ward, the Piedmont Arts family, the amazing crew at WDBJ7 and our respective communities. Here at the museum, we know how strong a role the arts play in healing. People all over the world use the arts to heal, whether it is through music, the written word, dance or the visual arts…art has a way of providing us with solace and comfort.  To honor Alison’s memory, the Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Fund has been established to bring the Richmond Ballet to Martinsville-Henry County and to lift up our community through the beauty of dance.

Alison Parker enjoying one of her favorite pastimes
All of us here at Piedmont Arts hope that Barbara and her loved ones will take solace in the strength of their family, both at home and here at PA, and that they, perhaps, will find comfort in a piece of music, a written passage, a beautiful painting or a poem. The writer Terry Kay, wrote, “I will miss seeing her face and hearing her voice and knowing she was always there close to me. She has crossed a river from me that I must wait to cross before I see her again. When I see a river, I will think of her.”

Our continued thoughts, prayers and love go out to Barbara, Andy, Drew and Chris.

Director's Note is a monthly blog by Piedmont Arts Executive Director Kathy Rogers, examining the impact of the arts in our community. 

Contact Kathy at


  1. Thank you for expressing in words so well the thoughts we have had about the courage and grace Barbara, Andy and Drew have demonstrated this past week.


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