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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Friday, February 24, 2012

The People of Monticello Road: Clark Elementary School

Clark teachers serve up some soulful goodness at the 2011 Soul Feast.

With about 250 students and dozens of faculty and staff, it would be impossible to say anything definitive about Clark in a blog post. One can, however, convey a sense or impression, from one parent’s—and neighbor’s—perspective.

Two days ago, I rode the big yellow school bus to Richmond with Clark’s second-grade Quest group to see the mummy exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. We were five adults with just twelve kids and it was an unbelievable learning experience.

The previous school day (which was a Friday) had the evening Soul Feast—a community celebration of African American heritage through art, singing, chicken, black-eyed peas, and someone’s grandmas’ apple cobbler.

Not every day is a party at Clark, but these two events are very typical in this way: it feels like a family, small and loving with tons of attention lavished on the children. Everyone knows each other and the children have tons of interaction with adults and specialists of many kinds.

In the morning, Sebastian is like a rubber band and he launches himself off to school. He eats breakfast at home, then runs to get school in time for a second breakfast there because he enjoys the fellowship. In the afternoon he bursts out and we play on the playground for a while.

Many adults who live in the neighborhood attended Clark, and some of them work there. With its stately building—perhaps the finest in the system, its high hilltop site and doors open to the community, Clark is the visual heart of the neighborhood. With so many eager learners and their instructors, it could also be said that it’s where the brains are.

Clark Elementary is located at 1000 Belmont Avenue, at the corner of Monticello Road in Charlottesville VA.

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.
More Profiles | Project Description | More Photos: Places | People | Photo Booth I | Photo Booth II

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exhibition Information and Community Events

Exhibition and events center (mostly) around the Bridge PAI, at the intersection of Monticello Road and Avon Street.


Sunday, April13
Block Party: Tom Tom Fest / Belmont Bash
All Day, Downtown Belmont
Claim the street for new uses. Celebrate with your neighbors and visitors from around Charlottesville. Enjoy an unbeatable Virginia Spring afternoon.


Sunday, April 14Tom Tom Block Party
2:00 - 9:00 p.m., The Bridge PAI
Recap | Photos | Preview


Exhibition & Community Events

Photographer Peter Krebs spent two years documenting the people and places along this one-mile length of Monticello Road from Moore's Creek to the Belmont Bridge. A neighborhood resident, Peter revisited the sites repeatedly and in different seasons and compiled a comprehensive body of images. He talked his way into residences and businesses, set up informal photo booths and even engaged with strangers on the street. His images witness lives unfolding and the everyday magnificence he discovered is easily apparent in the pictures.

The exhibition, which runs from April 6-27, includes some three dozen prints as well as a slide show with hundreds of faces from Monticello Road. An 80-page catalog accompanies the exhibition.

Community Events

This exhibition is truly a neighborhood celebration and will be about much more than just pictures on the wall. It will be enlivened by a series of events that provide opportunities to know the neighborhood and its people in new ways.

The exhibition and most events (unless otherwise noted) take place at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative 209 Monticello Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902. 434-984-5669. The Bridge is open Tuesday to Saturday noon to 3:00 p.m. and during special events. Admission is free and the public is always welcome.

Friday, April 6
Opening Reception
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The Bridge PAI
Bring your friends, put on a name tag and meet the people of Monticello Road. [photos]

Saturday, April 7
Film Screening: Still Life with Donuts
9:00 a.m. – noon. Filmmakers’ Q and A 11:00a.m. Spudnuts (309 Avon Street)
This documentary is a must-see for anyone interested in Belmont. The film will repeat throughout the morning and filmmakers Mark Edwards and Mary Michaud will answer questions at 11:00.

Thursday, April 12
Open House: Virginia Industries for the Blind
Tours 9:00 – 11:00 a.m and 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.  1102 Monticello Road
You might be surprised to learn that this quiet-looking place is making beds for the Navy. You’ll also meet some of the nicest and most interesting people there. Refreshments will be served. For more information please call William Vaughn (434-295-5168)

Monday, April 16 - Wednesday, 18
Clark School
Second-Grade Art Class Field Trip Visits

The Bridge PAI

Tuesday, April 17
Panel: Neighborhood/Community Planning
In cooperation with AIA Architecture Week
7:00 pm – 9:00 p.m. The Bridge PAI
A who’s-who of architecture and planning will discuss what makes this place so special and explore new models for community development. [story]

Sunday, April 22
Story Sharing and Oral Histories
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Bridge PAI
You’ve seen some of the faces, now come hear their stories. We’re bringing long-time residents, transplants, and people with interesting perspectives for what is sure to be a rich and lively conversation. Food and beverages will be served. [photos]

Thursday, April 26
Artist’s Talk with Special Guests
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The Bridge PAI
Peter will discuss his work and what he’s learned about the artist’s unique role in a healthy community. He will be joined by other artists who actively engage the community in different ways. Confirmed guests include Aaron Eichorst, John Trippel, Greg Antrim Kelley, and others.

Friday, April 27 Saturday, April 28
Bridge Exhibition Closes

Saturday April 28 (tentative)
Hangover Brunch
10:00 a.m. Moore’s Creek Family Restaurant (1710 Monticello Road)
Join us for a huge breakfast at the tall-tale-spinning headquarters of Monticello Road.

July 1- August 1
Exhibition at the Local (824 Hinton Avenue)
Twenty images, including ten never displayed before adorn the walls of a restaurant that is at the geographic and community heart of Monticello Road. [details]

July 9 - 12
StoryLine Walks
The annual Storyline Project guides rising 4th-6th graders through unique walking expeditions that culminate in a collaborative mural design. This year, the Storyline Project explored the people and places of Charlottesville through the theme of “Monticello Road: Portraits of the People.”
[info | photos]

Saturday, July 21 - Monday, July 23
Public Slide Show: the People of Monticello Road
6:00 p.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Jean's Beauty Salon, next to the Local)
Projected from the inside, this rotating display of images of the faces of Monticello Road will fill the storefront window and be visible from the street. [Preview]

September 7-28 (Reception Sept 7, 5-7 p.m.)
StoryLine Exhibition
CitySpace (100 5th Street NE)
Piedmont Council for the Arts is proud to present an exhibit of photos, drawings, and video from the 2012 Storyline Project, a hands-on project for youth in the Charlottesville Parks & Recreation summer camp.

Sunday, September 30
Where We Live: Belmont
3:00 - 5:00 p. m. C'Ville Coffee (1301 Harris Street)
Where we Live—Stories from Yesterday and Today discussion series focuses on a different neighborhood every month and this month they’ve chosen Belmont. Come share your stories and recollections or just come listen.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The People of Monticello Road: Sonny at Lazy Daisy

At Lazy Daisy, customers decorate ceramic objects, which are then glazed and high-fired. Birthday parties are a big part of their business.

On the day we received the keys to our house, I went for a walk around the neighborhood and I soon came across Lazy Daisy Ceramics shop. I knew right then that we had made a good choice. Years later, as I re-explored in greater depth for my project, Lazy Daisy was one of my first stops. With a name like that, they must be friendly, right?

It turns out that they’re some of the nicest people around. During that first visit, more than a year ago, I was brave enough to ask to photograph the shop and its wares—which they enthusiastically permitted—but I did not ask the owners and customers if I could do their portraits—which is what I really wanted. They have many beautiful things there and I got some pretty good pictures. Since that time, the project has changed and I acquired the boldness that was lacking before. It was time to go back.

I scheduled a visit with the manager (her name is Tara) but she advised me to come at a time when her parents would be around. The next day, I was hanging out with Sonny Mawyer, the establishment’s long-time proprietor and a gold mine of neighborhood lore.

Sonny has seen a lot along Monticello Road these past 35+ years and he knows something about pretty much every property along the way—and many of the people as well. When I mentioned to my neighbor (the one with a broom from the Blind Shop) that Sonny would be at our April 15 story-sharing event, that sealed the deal for her—she would go too.

It’s really no wonder Sonny and his wife Novella have such a beloved reputation. They're friendly and generous and they run a business that helps children make beautiful things on their birthdays. What a perfect way to follow my visit to Spudnuts: another locally-owned business, run by family members who are very invested in their community and who sell small embodiments of love.

It will be very interesting to hear some of the stories Sonny has to share—he told me quite a few during the hour I spent with him. He said he would bring his friends and it looks like they will be many of both—stories and friends.

Lazy Daisy is located at 1709 Monticello Road, Charlottesville VA.

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.
More Profiles | Project Description | More Photos: Places | People | Photo Booth I | Photo Booth II