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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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Story|Line comes to Monticello Road

We met some old friends along the road from Monticello, including one that was very old indeed.

It's as if two of my favorite people just got married.

Obviously, by now you've heard all about my Monticello Road project, which uses photography to celebrate the people and place along one of America's most interesting streets.

For several years, I've also been fortunate to be involved with Story|Line, an innovative multi-partner program wherein 30 kids (ages 10-13) from the Parks and Recreation summer camp take a series of urban hikes and then make a mural about it. Story|Line uses art in much the same way as my own project--to build connections to place.

Last year's trip was all about waterways and two years ago it was change and transformation. This year, the kids visted Monticello Road and it is literally the case that the two programs fit together like hand and glove. Indeed, as I was dreaming up Monticello Road, I had Story|Line very much in mind.

On Monday, kids visited Monticello itself and hiked down the mountain along the magnificent Sauders-Monticello Trail. On Tuesday, they met some of our favorite characters along Monticello Road, including Sonny and Novella at Lazy Daisy Ceramics, Virginia Industries for the Blind, and Tomas at Mas Tapas. On Wednesday, they refined their drawing skills at the Bridge PAI in preparation for Thursday's big activity: a mural on the Free Expression Wall.

Story|Line is an amazing experience and I'm grateful to be a part of it for the third time. It's a terrific group of kids, very motivated and insightful and totally inspiring. I always feel like I'm getting back so much more than I'm putting in.

It's been extra-special this time to walk with these fabulous kids along the road from its germination to its terminus and to introduce them to friends and neighbors along the way. Their presence, their questions and their drawings lift us all up.

Story|line is a collaboration between the Piedmont Council of the Arts, the Bridge, Charlottesville Parks and Recreation, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, Siteworks Studio and many, many volunteers.

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