Longtime Tourism Association Employee Retires

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The Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association thanked its longest serving employee for her dedication to Alexandria, its visitors and residents in a celebration at the ACVA offices last Thursday.

Vice President of Communications Laura Overstreet, who has retired from the ACVA after 11 years, was honored at an open house last week attended by more than 50 business owners, journalists and city leaders.

For more than a decade, Overstreet has written and crafted most of the publications from the ACVA or authored speeches given by the board and staff.

The most touching moment of the evening came with the remarks of Ludwig Gaines, Alexandria City Councilmember and ACVA Board of Governors, saying Overstreets impact has been felt across the city. What makes my remarks tonight special, Gaines said, is that for the first time, Overstreet hasnt written this speech for me. It comes from the heart and is very heartfelt.

During her time at the ACVA, Overstreet has hosted hundreds of travel writers and film crews, led hundreds of tourism training classes and membership marketing forums, and made countless dear friends.

Recently, she was instrumental in the creation of the nine-minute film shown on the Alexandria Water Taxi introducing visitors to the shopping, dining, entertainment and history awaiting them in the city. Her work with the press has led to countless articles and stories about Alexandria, including last falls New York Times piece, A Town Takes Its Place at the Culinary Table.

ACVA President and CEO, Stephanie Brown, praised Overstreets indispensable knowledge of the city, its residents, visitors and the relationships shes developed with the media. We are excited for her new adventure but will sorely miss her.

Alexandria Calendar Marks 25 Years
Artist Todd Healy held a reception Saturday night in his gallery to debut his 2009 calendar. The event marked the 25th year that Healy has assembled 12 of his original watercolors celebrating many of Old Towns most notable landmarks and historic buildings. 

It takes me over 100 hours to create an image of a single building, Healy says, adding I work by hand to render the essence of each building or street scene, not just the brick, mortar, wood and glass.

A native Virginian, Healy found his artistic muse in 1976 when he fell in love with colonial Alexandrias seaport roots and its residential district of original buildings. He says, When I walk along the footpaths of George Washington who first surveyed these original lots of Alexandria, Virginia, I am drawn to the sense of home and community. I often think of the artisans who built these homes and public buildings, by hand, using minimal tools, and how almost 300 years later they are still in use.

Healys original art immortalizes those early craftsmen.  His 2009 calendar is now available for sale for $18.95 at his shop, The Print Room/Gallery Lafayette, located in Gadsbys Arcade at 320 King Street.

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