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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About the Project
The subjects were never posed or asked to "smile." Their obvious joy derives from a sense of connection to place and with one another.
Monticello Road is a community arts project that celebrates the people and places along a one-mile strip through one of America’s most interesting neighborhoods in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of community events, I have been exploring whether and how an artist can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community. The results have been astonishing.
The project began when I grabbed my camera on my way out the door for my daily walk to the studio. I spent several hours photographing details along the way. Over the past two years, I have returned again and again during different seasons. I soon began talking my way into homes and businesses and engaging with strangers on the street.
Nearly everyone I met was eager to participate and forthcoming with interesting stories. The more folks I talked to, the more I wanted to know them—and the more people I wanted to meet. They shared with one another, strangers become acquainted and acquaintances friends. Many are involved who have never considered themselves participants in the arts and it would be no stretch to say that the project galvanized the community.
It’s been a big lesson about what art can do to bring a community together. For my part, I feel knitted into my neighborhood like never before and I hope my efforts give others a greater sense of being part of something larger and very special.
To date, the project has included the following: three exhibitions, a long-running public slideshow, a series of public celebrations including block parties, a permanent cell-phone audio tour with oral histories (in process), multiple panels and symposia, tons of media exposure, programs for kids, a book, a social media campaign, hundreds of prints given away, a web site with profiles of the people of who make the place so special and much more.
Work is ongoing and it is collaborative. For more information or to become involved, please contact us.