Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Have you heard the news???
Charlottesville, Virginia has an amazing arts scene.
This past weekend, I took a road trip and landed in Charlottesville, Virginia or C-Ville as the community nicknamed it. I was hosted by IX Art Park and Charlottesville-Albermarle Convention and Visitors Bureau for the Charlottesville Art Excursion. I was elated to see what the city had to offer and was simply amazed.
Charlottesville not only has a lot of history, but it is very diverse and rich in arts and culture so I wanted to experience it. I learned so many interesting facts about Charlottesville. It is so amazing to see and learn how much a neighboring city has to offer being that I grew up in Woodbridge, Virginia, which is about an hour and a half away.
While driving to Charlottesville, I was able to see all the beautiful landscaping that Virginia has to offer. I was able to sit and think quietly about all the art that I was going to be immersed in while taking my road trip. Once I saw the road sign that stated Charlottesville, my quietness instantly turned into anxious excitement because I could only guess what the Charlottesville arts scene had in store for me. The first place that I visited was Monticello.
Monticello was built in 1772 and belonged to the 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson. It was built as a plantation house where over 600 slaves labored. There is a lot of history at this house which is now a museum. When visiting Monticello you can tour the first floor of the house, see the gardens and grounds, look at breathtaking views of the mountains, do a wine tasting, and a slave tour. The president is even buried on the grounds in a cemetery where you can see his headstone.
I went to the first floor of the house on a self-guided tour and looked at the many different rooms. It was so interesting to see all the original furniture and trinkets that once belonged to the past president. It was also interesting to see the structure of the house. After touring the first floor of the house, I then walked around to the gardens saw the many pretty flowers and crops that are flourishing. I then was able to see the wine cellar and read all about the people that lived at Monticello. After walking awhile more, I then seen a Thomas Jefferson actor, so I listened to all the history about the president from his perspective. I then walked to the cemetery to see different headstones of the family members and the president that are all buried on the property. The Monticello site was very informative.
For more information about Monticello and to purchase tickets visit www.visitcharlottesville.org. Below is a picture that was taken on the back side of Monticello.
My next stop was Quirk Gallery.
Quirk Gallery is located inside of Quirk Hotel. It is a free gallery with eccentric artwork. The artwork was very unexpected. Quirk Gallery features work from local artists and changes what is being featured every couple of months. The art that was being featured was Peel by Molly Evans. The Peel exhibition contained pieces that utilized materials such as fibers, steel, quilt, and mattresses to form sculptures and tell a story. I had never seen art pieces in that form before so that was very interesting to see. For more information about the Quirk Gallery visit www.quirkgallery.com
My next stop was Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and I was taken aback. I did not know the number of slaves that were in the different counties of Virginia. I was able to read the history and progress of slavery and politics of Charlottesville. I think it was also very interesting to know that the center was the only school where African Americans went for an education in Charlottesville. The permanent exhibition is named Pride overcomes Prejudice where the history was highlighted from the Antebellum period through the late 20th century. The Contemporary Gallery shows different contemporary exhibits per year one was by Adama Delphine Fawundu titled Radiance from the Waters. There was also a Vinegar Hill exhibition. All of the exhibitions were very fascinating to look at.
Classes are held at the center which can be attended by anyone if you go on their website and sign up. For more information about the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center visit www.jeffschoolheritagecenter.org.
My last stop for the day was an outdoor concert hosted by The Front Porch. Richelle Claiborne Band was performing. The performance was held at Rivanna River Company and it was so delightful. Richelle sang so many songs from different genres. The vibe was amazing. Everyone danced and had a great time while sipping wine from a local Charlottesville winery and enjoying each other’s company. While hearing the melodic tunes by Richelle, I walked to the river and dipped my feet in just to feel the earth for a second and cooled off a bit. When the performance was over, I was able to meet Richelle Claiborne. She is so down to earth and very talented. I truly enjoyed the concert. For more information about Front Porch performances you can visit www.frontporchcville.org.
On my next day, since I am an early riser, I went to IX Art Park to enjoy the Farmers Market which is open 8am-12pm. I had breakfast and perused all the different local vendors. IX Art Park it is an outdoor colorful community land of murals, sculptures, and interactive art that can be found all year around. IX Art Park us open to the public every day and did I mention it’s free. IX Art Park is a nonprofit organization. IX Art Park holds public art which is open to the public 7 days a week, festivals in their outdoor park, and the Rabbit Hole where they have events indoor. What I loved most about walking around IX Art Park was witnessing so many locals truly enjoying their community and having pride in it.
Then I went to see the Looking Glass exhibition which is located at IX Art Park in the immersive art space. The Looking Glass is a one of the kind exhibit, which was so cool to experience. The Looking Glass was created by over a dozen artists. It is Virginia’s first and only interactive immersive art space. The purpose of this exhibition was to ignite your senses, which was definitely accomplished as there were cool sounds, light, and color throughout.
For more information about IX Art Part events and Looking Glass visit https://www.ixartpark.org/ Below are some pictures taken at the Looking Glass exhibiton.
After enjoying the Looking Glass, I walked downtown as it wasn’t a long walk and found The Paramount Theater. I was so amazed by the aesthetics of the theater. I couldn’t help but snap pictures.
The Paramount is one of Charlottesville’s most historical businesses. Built in 1931 as a movie theater, closing in 1974 and then renovating and reopening in 2004. The Paramount is known as Your Community Theater as it is located in Downtown Mall. Paramount’s emphasis and focus is on variety from emerging to confirmed acts so you can see performance from many different artists, ranging from comedy to dance, to bands. The Paramount has so much of its original charm and nostalgia.
I enjoyed a private tour of the Paramount where I was able to see the entire theater including going backstage and learnedabout all the interesting history. I think the coolest part of the Paramount Theater is the signature wall located backstage where all the people that has ever performed there signs.
It should be noted that the Paramount Theater is a non-profit business so it allows ticket prices to be accessible to everyone. If interested, you can sign up for tours of the theater but the holidays are the best time because they decorate. To make donations, purchase tickets or just learn more about The Paramount Theater visit https://www.theparamount.net/
One of the pictures that I took of the famous front of the Paramount Theater is located below.
After finishing my tour of The Paramount Theater, I walked around downtown checking out the local shops in amazement and stumbled upon Second Street Gallery.
Second Street Gallery had two exhibitions. One exhibition located in the main gallery was Sharon Shapiro Social Fabric. The other exhibition located in the Dové Gallery was ROYGBIV Group Exhibition where one color from the visible light spectrum was used to create a work of art. The exhibitions change monthly and you are able to purchase any of the pieces. Both exhibitions were captivating.
Second Street Gallery has an annual exhibition for raising money. In September, there will be over 150 artists that will have their work in a grid pattern with 3 pieces each all retailing $100 called Teeny Tiny Trifecta. In the Dové Gallery, there will be pieces by Karissa Rodgers. You can follow them on Instagram to see their events at @secondstreetgallery. Below is a picture of me looking at a ROYGBIV piece.
Charlottesville Mural Project was more local art that I was able to visit that day but I had to keep my eyes peeled as the murals are located in different places within downtown Charlottesville. The Charlottesville Mural Project is one that showcases artists (locally, regionally or abroad) from the communities perspective. Murals make a city more vibrant and brings life to different street walls so I love seeing murals. On their website there is a mural map so you are able to find the murals with ease https://charlottesvillemuralproject.org/map/. My favorite mural is pictured below. This mural was one of the many murals around Charlottesville. For more information about the artists and the murals visit https://charlottesvillemuralproject.org/murals/
Art comes in so many different varieties and mediums. Charlottesville definitely opened up my eyes to the different art forms. I only knew of Charlottesville being a college town but it had so much more to offer. Not only is Charlottesville very safe, as I walked around by myself and enjoyed the city, there was so much to do so it would never be a dull moment. To see more pictures, videos, and highlights of Charlottesville visit my Instagram page at @letsgetstamps.
This September, Charlottesville will have multiple events going on for their Charlottesville Arts Excursion Campaign. I have plans on going back to Charlottesville to see all the different art events in September so look out for my stories. You Must Visit!!
For more information about the Charlottesville Art Excursion Campaign visit the Charlottesville page at https://www.visitcharlottesville.org/things-to-do/arts-culture