Editorial - Front Porch Fredericksburg
pg. 4

I read a lot of student essays as an English teacher, especially around this time of year. One of the prompts that is a favorite for many of my students is one that asks them to write about a place they would like to travel, to describe it, and to tell why they want to visit. Students like it because it’s an accessible prompt; almost everyone has some place they’ve thought about visiting. This year, I was struck by the number of students who vividly, almost longingly, wrote about places they consider to be home rather than the usual places not yet seen. 

This year, students described places like Pennsylvania, where hills and hunting mean time with grandfathers and uncles over weekends. Places like Florida, where aunties wait with cookouts and hot tubs, Cocoa Puffs and trips to the shore. Places like Louisiana where fishing is done off of piers and Granmè’s spicy turtle stew fills bellies. Places like Los Angeles, where older sisters wait with promises of studio tours and star sightings. Places like Nicaragua, where horses and fireworks take center stage; and El Salvador where mariscadas and pupusas are packed into baskets for the beach. All these places, all these people, mean home in some way to my students. 

Their longing for home calls to mind my own memories rooted in pre-adolescence. When I was a child, I lived in eleven different houses before the age of twelve. My parents enjoyed buying older homes around Northern Virginia and fixing them up to flip and build equity. While I remember things that I liked about most of the houses, one in particular remains my image of home - a large farmhouse on Leesburg Pike outside of Vienna, just around the corner from Beulah Road. 

The house is isolated, a former residence for Potomac Vegetable Farm next door that remains a working business to this day.  The old farmhouse sits on a hill at the top of a double driveway on an acre and a half of land. When we lived there, a cement slab porch ran the length of the front facade, with four massive pillars supporting the porch’s roof. Inside was a winding staircase, a set of French doors leading into the dining room, and a sun porch. Outside was a swimming pool, a weeping willow tree, and sloping lawns, front and back.

It’s hard to explain why this house is home in my memory, since other houses we occupied were certainly closer to friends, school, and entertainment. There was a comfort there, a familiarity with and connection to the land around the house, and there was my parents reconciliation after a long separation, all of which contributed to my fondness toward it. There were holiday parties with friends still living, first kisses and first sleepovers, and there were many long summer days with nothing to do but lie on my tummy with a good book, swinging my crossed feet behind me in the afternoon warmth. Despite its isolation, that place was home.

And now, as my adult-child prepares to head off to grad school next year, it occurs to me that Fredericksburg will represent the memory of home.  Memories of reading and a love of books are housed in the downtown branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and upstairs among the stacks at Riverby Books. Memories of cocoa and coffee are sitting on oversized wooden chairs in Hyperion Espresso. Memories of music, mentorship, and a fond friendship remain with Brittany Frompovich and Picker’s Supply. School memories, fellowship memories, the familiar and friendly and belonging memories will be here. Fredericksburg, too, is home. 

Wherever your heart, there lies home. My students’ hearts remain with their families in far-flung places, and a bit of my heart lives in the past with my young self, exploring the boundaries of a world before adulthood. For my own child Fredericksburg will be the memory of home, a fortunate memory, even as life propels us forward, ever changing. 

Pamdora: A Solid Foundation

By A.E. Bayne
January 2018, pg 4

We build life piece by piece, sometimes alone and other times in congress with friends and family.  We do all the right things, make all the right connections, and secure all the right pathways to success, but inevitably we will face challenges at times that destroy our well-constructed lives in one fell swoop. If we’re lucky, we find that our foundation is strong, that long buried dreams can be rekindled, and our roots are never as far away as we believe. Coming home can feel a little bit like salvation.


Perspective is Everything: Artism by Joey

By A.E. Bayne
December 2017

The sign hanging behind Joey Frye’s display at a recent local arts festival reads “ARTism” with the slogan, “Ideas Transformed into Magical Art for You and Other Awesome People.” When chatting with Frye, that same sense of wonderment glosses his words, wonder at the reception his illustrations have received over the past two years, wonder at the condition he views as a gift, and wonder at the impact his work has had on his patrons. 


Human Library: Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

By A.E. Bayne
November 2017

We all know the expression saying we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Two branches of Central Rappahannock Regional Library have taken this to heart by hosting Human Library: Every Life is a Story.  This past September 30th at England Run Library, and again on Saturday, November 11th at Salem Church Library, patrons may “check out” these human books, local citizens who have volunteered to share their personal experiences in an attempt to build community and to open dialogs about challenges they’ve faced and stories they’ve lived.

(Front Porch pg 29)

Fred Book Fest is Back, Bigger, and Better!

By A.E. Bayne
September 2017

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 23, 2017 when the 2nd Annual Fredericksburg Book Festival will turn Riverfront Park on Sophia Street into a book lover’s paradise.  This year’s festival has grown exponentially and features over 120 writers, book artists, publishers, and book related vendors.  Partners James Noll, Chris Jones, and Amy Bayne have been working with area sponsors all year and have lined up some of the most exciting up-and-comers in the business to make this year’s festival a blast. 

Organizing partner Chris Jones says he’s most looking forward to seeing people in the community engage with exhibiting authors and vendors. “Last year was an exploratory year for us. It was about vetting the idea and allowing the writing community and the general public to validate it. This year we’ve grown by just over 200% which speaks volumes to the concept of an annual book festival in Fredericksburg. I enjoyed seeing some of our authors sell out last year and hope that our festival becomes synonymous with business growth for them.”

(Front Porch page 26)

Tasha Fuller promotes and sells her independently published books at the 1st Annual Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival in 2016.

Tasha Fuller promotes and sells her independently published books at the 1st Annual Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival in 2016.

Own a Piece of Fredericksburg History

By A.E. Bayne
September 2017

Since its inception, FoodE has been a restaurant with strong ties to local Fredericksburg.  In 2016, partners Joy Crump, Beth Black and Jeremy Harrison moved FoodE into the historic National Bank Building with an eye toward preserving local history and further building community connections.  When the opportunity arose to share a bit of Fredericksburg history with neighboring St. George’s Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg, FoodE’s partners were on it.  (Front Porch page 14)


Downtown Designs: Casey Shaw

By A.E. Bayne
September 2017

Casey Shaw was always the kid at the back of the room drawing caricatures of his teacher. Cartooning was his passion, and he put that passion to purpose during his four years at the University of North Texas.  Drawing the syndicated Benji cartoons during those years helped put him through school, and while other students were only dreaming about what they wanted to do when they graduated, Shaw was sharing his talent internationally through his work on the Benji project.  (Front Porch page 5)

Rappahannock Evening, Casey Shaw

Rappahannock Evening, Casey Shaw

Kristen LePine's Historic Heroines

By A.E. Bayne
August 2017, pg. 11

Playwright and novelist Kristen LePine says that big projects never seem to follow a straight line.  The University of Mary Washington instructor discovered this for herself as she began writing her first novel, Daughter of Sparta. She began it several years ago as a “choose your own adventure” book for a new educational publisher, but then the book took a new direction, and LePine decided to publish it herself.  Read More

Historic Heroines- JPEG-01.jpg



Sarah Lapp: At the Crossroads of Color and Creativity

By A.E. Bayne
April 2017, pg. 26

Local artist Sarah Lapp has been painting seriously for about seven years, making a living by creating and selling large-scale abstract works from her studio at LibertyTown Arts Workshop.  

Lapp is known for her expansive works, withstandard size measuring 48” x 48”. She says, “It’s the size that works best for what I do. I find that when I work smaller I try to fit so much in that it obscures it. I also work strictly with a palette knife which doesn’t lend itself to small scale work.”  (Read more...)

Sarah Lapp 2017


Helen Ramsey: Art from the Heart

By A.E. Bayne
April 2017, pg. 22

Helen Ramsey describes her show at UUFF Gallery in Chatham "as a miracle come true."  Though she has been painting since the early 1990s, Ramsey says she has shown her work sparingly around town, primarily through the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts.  Art from the Heart is Ramsey's first solo show and serves as a retrospective of the septuagenarian's work, highlighting her development as an artist over nearly thirty years of practice.  (Read more)

Helen Ramsey Opening.jpg

April Cover Artist: Pete Morelewicz

By A.E. Bayne
April 2017, pg. 8

Pete Morelewicz is a new face on the Fredericksburg arts scene. After twenty years of working as a graphic designer in Washington, D.C., Morelewicz and his wife, Christine Henry, recently moved to Fredericksburg so that Henry could be closer to her job at UMW and so Morelewicz might pursue something he felt he couldn't in D.C., a career as an artist.  His cover image represents that new direction.  (Read more)

March Cover Artists: Carol Coffman

By A.E. Bayne
March 2017, pg. 8


Our cover photo this month is provided by local artist Carol Coffman.  Coffman has long been a member at Art First on Caroline Street, one of the area’s oldest art co-ops.  While studying for her Master’s of Interdisciplinary Studies in Interdisciplinary Art from Virginia Commonwealth University, Coffman found the gallery to be a place of diverse companionship and camaraderie for local artists.  (Read More...)

Picker's Alley, by Carol Coffman

A Year of Active Involvement

By A.E. Bayne
February 2017, pg. 3

Last year, I wrote an editorial about my goal of practicing loving kindness toward those in my life and my community here in Fredericksburg.  It has not always been easy, but setting that intention has helped me approach challenging situations differently over the past year, especially throughout 2016’s divisive political campaigns.  Watching conflicts, both onscreen and off, over fundamental differences in philosophy has been a test of my intention, the result of which has helped me to set this year’s goal toward being more actively involved in my community, especially regarding issues affecting the most vulnerable among us.  

Time and energy have always been my go-to excuses for why I am not more actively involved, and they are very real challenges.  I work as a full-time educator and run a publication as a secondary career.  I am a partner in a local book festival that requires year-round planning.  I help to organize events for an area art gallery, and I try to write at least one freelance piece each month, whether for Front Porch or other publications.  I also attempt to carve out time for creating visual art and poetry.  When I am not working toward these personal and career goals, I am fostering relationships with family and friends.  Time for anything else?  Not really.  Or is there?

Like most people with access to the Internet or a cell phone, I spend a lot of unintended time online.  The social media time-suck is a real phenomena.  How often have I tapped on the screen to check recent updates, only to find myself scrolling, clicking and responding an hour later with no recollection of where the time has gone?  I might do this under delusion of keeping in contact with friends or remaining informed, but I understand that social media is a superficial mechanism for true relationship building.  Let’s face it; social media is easy.  Building lasting relationships with people who hold differing opinions than I do is not.  How’s that for a fact check?

I also love to binge-watch my favorite shows and movies as much as the next person. How often have I started Episode 1 of fill-in-the-blank show, only to find myself six hours later at Episode 8 wondering if I have time for just one more?  How do I reconcile spending those hours in front of the tube?  The shows are quality programming covering important issues, the writing is top-notch, and whoo-boy, those actors are talented.  Right. Excuses.  

Don’t get me wrong; downtime is a necessity for everyone.  A person who doesn’t practice self-care will never be strong enough to care for others; however, I am sure there are myriad other ways I could take care of myself that would leave more time for more altruistic goals.  Bottom line: My lifestyle choices in my downtime chew up hours that could better be served in active involvement in my community.  

I will spend this year examining where that time might be and will replace superfluous activities with those that will be meaningful to both myself and others.  I’ll start with a couple of times a month and improve from there.  The body works as a whole. When one part is weakened by ill use or neglect it affects the entire being.  I intend to listen more, to discuss more, and to do more.  This is our home.  I, for one, plan to jump in and participate.  

Best Always,
A.E. Bayne


A.E. Bayne is the publisher of Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, a partner in the Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival, and a veteran educator.  She has lived in Fredericksburg for the past two decades. 

Palettes to Pups: SPCA Art Crawl Showcases Local Shelter

By A.E. Bayne
January 2017, pg. 8

It is common knowledge that area animal shelters often find themselves filled to the point where they have to turn some animals away, so outreach is crucial.  Fredericksburg Regional SPCA’s director, Caitlin Daly, and local artist Jayme Bauguess have teamed up to pair ingenuity with creativity in the first ever SPCA Art Crawl.  Join them and other area artists on Thursday, January 5, 2017, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., for an event designed to highlight some of the many affectionate companions wanting to be adopted at the facility.   Light hors d’oeuvres, drinks and music will be on the schedule for the evening, and you might just find yourself leaving with a four-legged friend. (Read more...)

"Heidi" by Cheryl Bosch

"Heidi" by Cheryl Bosch

Tapestry of Arts: Fall FLAR is Full of Featuers

By A.E. Bayne
November 2016, pg. 18

What a doozy of a year!  When public life and times are divisive, I turn to the arts for solace.  Like many of you, I cherish a well-turned phrase, a compelling piece of writing, or thoughtful verse.  I seek composition and design to refine the rough edges of a topsy-turvy world.  The visual, literary and performing arts are woven with brilliant thread, resulting in collaboration and inspiration born of diverse creativity.  (Read more...)


Karen Jonas’s Country Songs Kicks Off at Kenmore

By A.E. Bayne
October 2016, pg. 26

“We’d each like a Manhattan, and if you’d make it a little orangey?  Up.” 

Tim Bray orders drinks at Kenmore Inn for Karen Jonas and himself that put a signature twist on a classic medley.  The two have been experimenting with recipes in preparation for the release party of their highly anticipated sophomore album, Country Songs, just as they’ve often put a personal spin on classic country rhythms and lyrics during their time playing as a duo.  (Read more...)

Escape: A Mixed Media Event

By A.E. Bayne

October 2016, pg. 24

Painter Joelle Cathleen has long admired what she considers G. Sean Walker’s raw talent for photography.  The two have been friends for many years, and Joelle Cathleen jumped at the opportunity to pair up with Walker for a mixed media show at UUFF Gallery in October and November 2016.  (Read more...)

Escape Joelle Sean .jpg