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

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