About the Exhibit

The artists participating in “In Ella’s Lifetime: 100 Artists for Ella” were asked to think about these questions:

What comes to mind when you hear the name Ella Fitzgerald?  Is it her exuberance? Her technical mastery over her instrument, or how she combines those technical abilities with an intangible soulfulness that reaches your core? Maybe it is the complexity of her personal story as a young girl from Newport News, VA to a world-famous chanteuse, and the trials and tribulations in between?

Whatever the inspiration, these artists were tasked with listening to the songs of Newport News’s native daughter and then contribute a piece that celebrates the “First Lady of Song”. Therefore, this exhibit is truly a one-of-a-kind exploration into the wonders that emerge from the mélange of the arts. There are sculptures, pottery, acrylics, photographs, watercolors, collages, papercuts, oil paintings, pastels, mixed media, and even wearable fashion!

This exhibit was simply one of the many ways in which Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center honored Ella Fitzgerald during her Centennial year, and we would like to sincerely thank all artists, community members, and patrons for celebrating with us.

*Many pieces of this exhibit also officially exhibited at the Sichuan Contemporary Oil Painting Institute in China in connection with the Sichuan Artists Association Oil Painting Art Committee; Sichuan Contemporary Oil Painting Institute; Department of Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs, Department of Hong Kong & Macao Affairs, Sichuan Provincial People’s Government; Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, City of Newport News, Virginia; Sister Cities of Newport News from 10/15-10/21/2017.

Click here to view a story covered by the Virginia Pilot related to this exhibit. 



View the list of pieces inspired by the bolded Ella Fitzgerald song by each of their respective artists.

  • Love For Sale: Ludovic Bowe

  • A-Tisket, A-Tasket: Everna Lee Taylor

  • Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered: Patricia Ross, Carol Kirkham Martin

  • They Can’t Take That Away From Me: Audrey “Yha Yha” Hargrove, Daniel B. McNeil

  • I’ve Got A Crush On You: Chris Welch, Isaiah Aladejobi

  • Anything Goes: Victoria Wyndham, Karen K. Rosasco

  • Don’t Fence Me In: Shannon Reeves, Michele Hoben

  • Dream A Little Dream of Me: Emily Allred, Karen Oliver

  • Puttin’ on the Ritz: Sandra Iafrate

  • Blue Skies: Jessica Phelps

  • April In Paris: Rebeca Roman, Gail Péan

  • How Deep is the Ocean: Cara Capitan, Anne Stine

  • Heat Wave: Georgia Nassikas

  • That Old Black Magic: Chris Green

  • Come Rain Or Come Shine: Alex Tolstoy, Clayton Singleton

  • I’ve Got the World On A String: Penny Hauffe, Janelle Washington

  • It’s Only A Paper Moon: Sharon Grotevant, Ron Colbroth

  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Linda Hansen, Tan Armentrout

  • Day Dream: George Shipperley

  • Lullaby of Birdland: Alexandra Whiteside

  • The Way You Look Tonight: Marjorie Wallace

  • I Got Rhythm: Patrick Mills

  • Blue Moon: Mike W. Morgan, Jenny Wong

  • The Man I Love: Savannah Corbin, Virginia Coleman

  • Ten Cents A Dance: Anthony Leon Wardrett

  • Too Darn Hot: Erika Ann Marie Randolph, Chris Green

  • Little Blue Girl: Scott Hillman

  • Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love: Don Whitson

  • How High the Moon: Richard Press

  • St. Louis Blues: Michael LeMelle

  • Someone to Watch Over Me: Michelle Gilliam, Chelsea Vanhook Sweeney

  • Night and Day: Mark Grotevant, Dathan Kane

  • Sophisticated Lady: Karisha “Kay” Hickman

  • I’m Beginning to See the Light: Ed Obermeyer

  • Stormy Weather: Lauren Jacobs, Jenny Wong, James “Jimi” Whiteside

  • Reach For Tomorrow: Sean Thurston, Jasmine “Jazz” Walker

  • Summertime: Amy Oliver, Al Latorre

  • Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall: Emily Yun

  • Blues in the Night: Mary Rose Janya

  • Manhattan: Kristy Johnson

  • A Felicidade: Daniel Goodwin

  • All Through the Night: Tonya Hopson

  • Mack the Knife: Ampofo-Anti

  • ‘Tain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It): Alyssa Pickens, Judith M. Thompson

  • Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye: Brenda Spencer