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, August 24, 2012

Autumn Folklore Opportunities

Monticello Road has more than its share of history and colorful storytellers. This autumn, you'll be able to see/hear/join them.

Just as the photography phase of the project was wrapping up this summer, I heard from exactly the right person to help us move onto the next stage: oral histories.

Kristin Rourke is a public historian who is working with the City on several ventures related to oral histories and historic preservation. In a coup of divine grace her efforts this fall focus on Belmont and she has agreed to help with the oral histories and audio tour of Monticello Road.

I couldn't dream up a better collaborator. She is responsible for the very cool audio tour of downtown Charlottesville and is coordinating many of the City’s oral history efforts. She brings exactly the skills and resources we need.

This fall, we begin work on a nine-station cell-phone tour of Monticello Road. We’ll hear from and about many of the people and places we’ve met throughout the project and the signpost kiosks will give the project a real and lasting legacy in the community. More about that soon.

In the meantime, there are a few ways you can jump right in and take part in the neighborhood storysharing.

The Where I Live… Stories from Yesterday and Today series invites neighborhood residents and the greater Charlottesville community to gather together and talk about where they live. The September 30 session focuses on Belmont and will be a chance to share and hear stories about the Belmont of yesteryear and today. That’s Sunday September 30 3-5 p.m. at Cville Coffee.

This year, Preservation Piedmont’s Fall Tour will focus on Belmont and the story it tells about working communities in Charlottesville. The event takes place on Saturday, October 13, from 11:00 to 12:30, with a guided walking tour of Western Belmont, led by Kristin and landscape architect Laura Knott. The tour will be a discussion of the history of the Frank Ix and Sons textile factory and the houses throughout Belmont that the company built for its employees, as well as an inside tour of one of these houses.

On Sunday, October 14, from 2-5, Preservation Piedmont will host the Open House Tour, which will feature a variety of homes, structures, and sites in and around Downtown Belmont. The recommended route begins on the grounds of the Ficklin/Belmont Mansion at 759 Belmont Avenue.

As we move into our next phase, keep checking in to learn more about the exciting autumn of neighborhood history and folklore. For more information about Charlottesville's historic celebrations, please visit www.charlottesville.org/historicresources or call (434) 970-3333. You can also read more about future discussions at http://celebrate250.com/

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