Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The People of Monticello Road: Leslie at Hazel Beauty Bar

Sorry to say that Hazel didn't make it into this photo--she's just out of frame to the upper right. To see her, you'll have to visit in person.

Hazel is a pastel drawing of a blonde in a simple country dress and she watches from the wall with a stern look. Leslie found her in the trash some time ago, put on a nice frame and hung on the wall of her new shop. Leslie’s son is also represented, in a small photo in the corner of the mirror. You’re likely to hear about him when you visit.

The premises itself is as modest as Hazel’s attire. It’s a small brick-and-cinderblock building that she shares with a vintage shop, next door to Spudnuts—a constant temptation to proprietor and customer alike. It has everything needed for a great haircut: chair, mirror, scissors, product, washing sink, and ace stylist.

It’s not fancy but it is very classy in its understatedness and that is very much a reflection of Leslie’s personality. Some people try to buy beauty or add frills but her approach is subtractive. A few smart decisions carry the day, which is exactly the right sensibility for someone cutting hair. In this world, there’s no going back: only growing back.

Leslie opened her beauty bar this past spring without a banner or marketing campaign—just a small, spontaneous party for friends, of which she has many. I was her client at her previous location and extremely happy to learn that she had moved into the neighborhood. It’s a friendly spot—social as such establishments tend to be, but never overwhelming.

It’s calm and relaxing like a massage. I find myself looking forward to my next haircut.

The People of Monticello Road is a weekly series of profiles that will run through the summer. Monticello Road is a photography and story-telling project about the people and places along a mile-long byway that is simultaneously humble and historic, home to many and a reflection of us all. There will be an exhibition and much more in the Spring of 2012.

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Hazel Beauty Bar

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