Barbara Chavatel

Passion Prompts Westminster Canterbury Resident to Create Studio Arts Endowment


Barbara Chavatel believes in the power of the visual arts. She witnessed the power firsthand, as her late husband, George R. Chavatel, was a respected artist in a variety of media, including painting, printmaking and sculpture. George and Barbara were teachers in Abingdon, Va., for more than 30 years. They were also an integral part of southwest Virginia's arts community. Both were nominated for the Governor's Award in the Arts and were active in the Virginia Highlands Festival. 

After George's passing in 2006, Barbara chose to leave Abingdon for Westminster Canterbury Richmond to be near family. When she moved, she knew that she wanted to give to the place she would now call home. A self-proclaimed cheerleader for the arts, Barbara devotes time and energy to them, including currently serving as chair of the resident Visual Arts and Crafts committee. 

Barbara also wanted to offer Westminster Canterbury support that would last beyond her lifetime, so in 2008, she established the George R. and Barbara P. Chavatel Studio Arts Endowment. "I saw the need for continuing support for the studio arts at Westminster Canterbury," she says. She continues adding to her endowment each year. 

"There are many ways to make planned gifts," she says. "Everyone should understand you don't have to be a millionaire to make a difference in the organizations you care about! I worked with Ginny Purcell at Westminster Canterbury and my advisor to determine the best solution for me. It makes me happy to know that the studio arts will have funding even after I'm gone." 

At her death, Barbara's planned gift will complete her generous endowment. Her legacy will allow future generations of residents to learn and experience the arts.