Arts Engagement Series: The Fralin Museum of Art

Museum with StudentsWelcome to the third installment of the Arts Engagement Blog Series!

This series highlights volunteer opportunities for community members with a love of the arts. Each post in the series corresponds to one of the goals in Create Charlottesville/Albemarle: A Cultural Plan.

As this is the third post in the series, we will highlight an organization whose work tackles Goal Three of the Cultural Plan: Marketing & Cultural Tourism.

For this we turn to Lauren Patton, Docent Coordinator at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. Volunteer docents serve an integral role in the Museum, serving as ambassadors of The Fralin and the Charlottesville area while providing a unique and engaging experience for visitors from around the globe.

Describe how The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia promotes Marketing & Cultural Tourism.
The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia is dedicated to creating an environment in which the broadest possible audience can study and learn from the direct experience of works of art. To that end, we market our exhibitions and public programs to visitors from all over the Commonwealth, the United States, and the world. Our exhibitions rotate every few months and are designed to appeal to a wide variety of audiences, so we’re really a must-see for cultural tourists in Charlottesville. So far this summer, we’ve provided tours to groups from right down the road and from as far away as New Jersey and Shanghai!

What volunteer opportunities are there for community members who wish to get involved with The Fralin Museum of Art?
The best way to get involved at The Fralin is to become a volunteer docent. Docents are passionate volunteers who lead engaging, interactive tours of our collection and exhibitions. The museum provides training in art history, public speaking, and tour development, and our docents work with visitors of all ages and backgrounds. In return, docents enjoy access to exclusive tours and lectures throughout the year, and become part of a close-knit community that cares deeply about the arts and education. They make our outreach and tour programs possible–without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer amazing tours to visitors from all over the world!

Fralin Docent ImageIf you’re interested in becoming a volunteer docent, or if you have any questions, please contact Lauren Patton by calling (434) 243-2050 or via email at There is also ample information on the Community Docent Program webpage. The deadline to signup for the Fall 2014 docent training program is August 18, so don’t delay!

Stay tuned for next week’s post when highlight organizations whose work accomplishes Goal 4: Artists/Creative Workers!

Wintergreen Performing Arts Classics III Concert

Alcides Rodrigues, clarinet and Venezuelan maracas Wintergreen Performing Arts presents their annual Classics Concert Series.

The next event in the series, Classics III, will feature the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra and will take place on Saturday, July 26 at 6:00pm and Sunday, July 27 at 3:00pm.

The Wintergreen Festival Orchestra features Alcides Rodriguez, pictured above, on clarinet and Venezuelan maracas and Andres Franco as guest conductor.

The performance will include selections from Henri Rabaud, Gioacchino Rossini, Ricardo Lorenz, and Antonin Dvorak.

Come early for the Pre-Concert Talk with Larry Alan Smith, which will take place 45 minutes before each performance.

Tickets cost $40 ($10 for children 10-17, free under 10) and may be purchased online. For more information, email or call (434) 325-8292.

Music in Unusual Places Hits the Downtown Mall!

1977417_640120806035207_1284936022_n Wintergreen Performing Arts is proud to present Music In Unusual Places, an annual summer event that features pop-up performances of Academy musicians at unusual locations throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle.

On July 21 and July 22, the Academy musicians will appear on the Downtown Mall at 7:30pm, at the corner of 5th and Main Streets.

Wander by… stay a few minutes… take advantage of a moment to relax as you listen to music performed by the talented Academy students who come from all over the United States and beyond!

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival Website Launch

cvillechambermusicfestThe Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival is pleased to announce the launch of their 2014 website!

After much planning, preparation, and anticipation, the website is finally complete. Now fans of the festival can read up on this year’s performers, find out the latest festival news, and view ticket information.

The 2014 website is complete with a fresh look and theme inspired by this season’s painting by David Summers. As always, the original painting will be on silent auction during intermission at each of the performances. The highest bidder at the last concert will be the lucky person to take the painting home with them! All proceeds go toward next season’s Festival.

The festival staff will continue to announce performers and pieces in the program as we approach the festival. You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out what they’re offering this very special season!

Cultural Plan Series: Artisan Trail Network

ACV Network logo Welcome to the Cultural Plan Blog Series!

The series seeks to raise awareness around the Create Charlottesville/Albemarle cultural plan, a comprehensive study of the local arts and culture sector that affirmed community value for the arts, took stock of local arts and culture assets, and identified need areas to focus attention and resources.

Through this series, we will highlight community initiatives that respond to and build off of cultural plan goals. For this month’s post, we spoke to Sherri Smith, the woman behind the Artisans Center of Virginia (ACV) Artisan Trail Network.

Initiated in 2009, the Virginia Artisan Trail Network currently hosts 24 active Artisan Trails, representing 31 counties and 9 cities, with many additional localities in the early phases of development. With a firm commitment to economic vitality and community engagement, the Artisan Trail Network embodies Goal Three of the Create Charlottesville/Albemarle cultural plan: Cultural Tourism.

The interview has been edited for consistency and conciseness.

How and when did the Artisan Trail Network program get started? How has it evolved since then?
In March of 2009 the Artisans Center of Virginia (ACV) expanded its statewide scope with a clear objective of creating opportunities and collaborations to strengthen Virginia artisan businesses where they live and create. The ACV Artisan Trail Network was formed as a distinctively innovative program in fulfillment of our mission: The Artisans Center of Virginia develops and implements systems and strategies to improve economic outcomes for Virginia artisans and their communities while assisting them in promoting their local artisan culture.

What unique assets does the program provide that other local cultural tourism programs do not?
While the stability of a community is built upon the backbone of their small businesses, Virginia communities depend on their character, charm, and regional context in attracting visitors. Embracing both entrepreneurial enterprise and the visitor experience, artisans and the businesses they establish are an essential component to any community’s creative culture, relying on the patronage of their local residents as well as visitors from outside the state. ACV works in public-private and cross-industry partnerships to expose and elevate the authentic work and cultural contributions of Virginia artisans through the development of regional, community-connective Artisan Trails. The Artisan Trail Network offers a unique opportunity to form strategic alliances with Virginia Artisans, i.e. craft & fine artists as well as Agri-Artisans, venues, galleries, markets and retailers by actively connecting them with their local points of interest, restaurants, recreational and lodging businesses in order to enhance their exposure through regional tourism activity. Bringing an economy of scale to the marketing efforts of individual artisans, their studios, farms and venues, ACV connects communities, large and small, with consumers, businesses, counties, cities, and visiting tourists. Additionally, entrepreneurial education and business development opportunities are available to help Virginia Artisans aquire the skills to advance their operations and visibility.

What have been some of the advantages and challenges of the program?
A primary advantage of the program is how it elevates the awareness of a community’s cultural and creative assets among the community itself. During the implementation of a trail a realization evolves as the people within the community-at-large discover the existence of the many talented artisans and related businesses in their midst. Each trailsite’s “story” is woven into a much larger tapestry of sights, sounds and an experience, instilling a community-wide sense of pride and connectedness in support of one another. This awareness from the grassroots of the community itself becomes the strongest vocal advocate and consierge for their local businesses.

Of challenge, is quantifying the value of the “return on relationships” that is perpetuated through grassroots momentum and business connectivity. Bottom line return-on-investment statistics, although more easily tracked and measured, often overshadow the entrinsic value and benefit of relationship-based growth which contributes to entrepreurial sustainability and “quality of life” stability of a community. We strive to substantiate annectdotal notations and compel decision makers to understand the value of the slower-to-prove community development process in economic terms so that they will continue to invest in resources that support creative entreprenurial efforts, particularly during the start-up years.

ACVArtisanTrailNetworkImage What other organizations and community groups does the program partner with? What further collaborations would you like to see happen?
In addition to the participating trailsite businesses, each Artisan Trail Management Team works collaboratively with their respective community government, tourism and economic development departments as well as local community foundations, their business community and patroning individuals. Additional ACV program partnerships include: the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Appalachian Regional Commission, American Craft Week, several Virginia Community Colleges as well as numerous local Planning District and Tourism Commissions and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In the future we would like to develop more retail opportunities for hand-crafted Virginia Artisan products in the traditional retail venues, perhaps working with an organization such as Virginia’s Retailers Association. We would also be interested in initiating a conversation with the Virginia Department of Transportation regarding the wayfinding aspects of the Artisan Trail Network program given it now expands across the entire state, and thereby makes a strong case for Virginia as “the” Artisan State of the United States.

What inspires you personally about the program?
Meeting the most incredible individuals all across the state and experiencing their communities through their eyes! Each community is uniquely different because of the people who make it that way. Although creative and steeped in rich cultural histories, they are often challenged by change. I am invigorated by their stories of strength and fortitude and am completely jazzed when they put aside their differences to collaborate and connect to help sustain one another amidst great odds. There is nothing more exhilarating as when people put aside the institutional barriers, entrenched interests and break out of lax-comfort zones to work together around unifying principles/practices/projects. On a community level this is good for everyone and it is essentially entwined with strengthening the individual artisan and related businesses as we invoke ACV’s mission. I get to experience potential first-hand all across the Commonwealth, and it is vast… this is inspiring!

What would you ideally like to see happen to further strengthen cultural tourism opportunities in the area? What have you seen elsewhere that you would like to bring to Charlottesville?
I would like to see the growth of micro-funding and low-cost insurance opportunities for the creative entrepreneurial small businesses in communities all across the Commonwealth, Charlottesville not excluded.

For more information on the ACV Artisan Trail network, visit the website. And be sure to visit one of the trail sites, as well!
Stay tuned for the next post in the Cultural Plan Blog Series, which will focus on Goal 4: Artists & Creative Workers.

If you are involved in a community project that responds to cultural plan goals, we want to hear about it! You can visit the cultural plan Tumblr to submit your project or send images and a description to

If you are not involved but would like to be, we encourage you to read over the plan and think about what particular goal areas you or your organization can respond to. The cultural plan is a community vision and needs your support in order to be successful!

Arts Engagement Series: The Paramount Theater

Paramount_TomDaly_2 from Sylvester - JasmineWelcome back to the Arts Engagement Blog Series!

This series highlights volunteer opportunities for community members with a love of the arts. Each post in the series will correspond to one of the goals in Create Charlottesville/Albemarle: A Cultural Plan.

This week’s post focuses on an organization whose work tackles Goal Two of the Create Charlottesville/Albemarle cultural plan: Arts Education & Youth Development. For this we turn to Cathy Von Storch, Education Coordinator for The Paramount Theater‘s very own Arts Education Program.

Some quick facts about the Arts Education Program:
- Since 2004, The Arts Education Program has served more than 111,000 students and teachers from all over Central Virginia.
- Since 2008, the scholarship program has grown from 340 students receiving free or deeply discounted access to 6,000 students in 2013-2014!
- Last year, over 16,000 students and teachers from 62 public schools spanning 14 school divisions, 33 private schools and 33 homeschool groups experienced live educational performances at The Paramount!

Describe the Arts Education Program and how it accomplishes Goal 2 of the Cultural Plan.
The Paramount Theater believes that access to the arts is essential for ALL children, regardless of means, and works to provide every child in Central Virginia with exceptional, educational, and enriching live performing arts experiences. Each year, the Paramount’s Arts Education Program offers a diverse season of 10-12 performances in a variety of art forms including dance, theater, puppetry, and music, and spanning all core subjects – history, literature, science, and math to school groups (PreK – 12, and in some cases adult learners).

Performances are chosen for their ability to integrate with and enrich class curriculum complemented and deepened by study guides, post-performance discussions, and in some instances in-school residencies/workshops, providing a rich and holistic educational experience. The Paramount also offers summer theater camps through the Missoula Children’s Theatre for local youth to perform in musical productions.

What volunteer opportunities are there for community members who wish to get involved with the Arts Education Program?
The Paramount has a volunteer Education Committee which meets monthly and is integrally involved in developing and promoting each education season. Members are educators (former and current), area arts advocates, and business owners, all with an appreciation of how the arts are an integral part of a complete education, deeply committed to arts advocacy and furthering arts education for all students, both young and old. The committee members also serve as ushers and “critics” at all the education performances. New members are welcome, and we are in particular need of volunteers who can help with program marketing, i.e. “helping us tell our story”!student photos - 3-Pigs April2013 JL web-0114

If you’re interested in becoming an Education Committee member or if you have any questions, please contact Cathy Von Storch by calling (434) 293-1000 or via email at

Stay tuned for next week’s post as we highlight organizations who work to accomplish Goal 3: Marketing & Cultural Tourism!

Tall Tall Trees & Christopher Paul Stelling at The Garage

savannah13frichristopherpaulstelling The Garage presents Tall Tall Trees with Christopher Paul Stelling on Wednesday, July 16 at 8:00pm.

Mike Savino is not your grandaddy’s banjo player, and Tall Tall Trees is definitely not your average indie-folk outfit from NYC. Savino has released two records on his own start-up label Good Neighbor Records, Tall Tall Trees (2009), and moment (2012), and has toured extensively, mystifying audiences with his innovative banjo technique.

After releasing his debut album “Songs of Praise and Scorn” in February of 2012, Christopher Paul Stelling toured relentlessly. Singing his songs with a pure uninhibited delivery, Stelling has become known for the intensity and passion put into his live performances.

The Garage is an art space/concert venue/amateur film theater/impromptu studio/potluck dining hall/etc located on 1st Street across from Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. All events are FREE and open to the public.

For more information, visit the website.

Wild Wednesdays at the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival

about-right_side Throughout the month of July, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival will present three Wild Wednesday performances featuring acclaimed guest performers.

The first Wild Wednesday concert will take place on Wednesday, July 16 at 7:30pm.

The concert will feature The Rick Germanson Trio, which consists of Rick Germanson on piano, Nat Reeves on bass, and Billy Williams on drums.

These three internationally known jazz artists collectively have appeared on more than 100 recordings. The program will have a decidedly South American flavor, but get ready for some of the best jazz you’ve ever experienced.

The concert will take place in the Dunlop Pavilion at the Wintergreen Resort in Wintergreen, VA.

Tickets cost $25 (ages 10-17 $10, under 10 free) and may be purchased online.

The next two concerts in the Wild Wednesdays series will take place on Wednesday, July 23 and Wednesday, July 30. For more information email or visit the website.

Fridays After Five Announces Second Half of Summer Schedule

lg_marshall_james_14-of-16 Fridays After Five, a free live concert series presented by Bud Light, has announced the second half of its summer schedule.

Each week volunteers work the concessions on behalf of a variety of local non-profits who share in the proceeds, which raises tens of thousands of dollars to support their work in our community. With a line-up of performers featuring a variety of music styles from local artists, there is truly something for everyone!

Performances take place on Fridays at 5:30pm at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

Check out the schedule below and find a date to attend one of Charlottesville’s favorite concert series:

- July 11 Green Earrings (Steely Dan Covers)
- July 18 Second Draw (Jam Band Blue Grass)
- July 25 The Sally Rose Band (Honky Tonk Rock)
- Aug 1 Eli Cook (Psychedelic Blues)
- Aug 8 Baaba Seth (World Beat)
- Aug 15 We Are Star Children (Adventure Pop)
- Aug 22 The Currys (Folk Rock Harmonies)
- Aug 29 In Full (Rock, Soul, & Pop Hits)
- Sept 5 Tropikiimba (Afro-Latino Rhythms)
- Sept 12 The Skip Castro Band (Classic Boogie Woogie R&B)

For more information, visit the website.

WTJU Artist Interview: Janet Grahame Nault

4089077 Local artist Janet Grahame Nault makes multimedia collages that combine etchings, paint and thread in a process that she has developed over the past decade.

As part of a partnership with WTJU 91.1′s public affairs program Soundboard, she recently sat down with Julia Kudravetz to talk about her work. The interview has been edited for clarity and consistency.

It may take a year for your work to “cure” before you can collage with it. What is your studio like? Is it just packed with all this work waiting to be taken apart?

Some of them ended up going in frames, several to the Pauley Center at the Virginia Museum, and gradually they are coming back out of the frames to be incorporated into collages as I intended. The surface of my pieces can get very greasy, so sometimes it’s better to keep them away from the sewing machine.

How did you come to using a sewing machine to make collage? We usually think of sewing machines working with fabric rather than paper.

A lot of people visiting my studio think I use fabric because of the patterns and the stitching, but years ago I took a class from Judy McCloud and we had an assignment of making twenty identical etchings, which really means finessing the ink on the plate the same way twenty times. Mine did not turn out identical, so for the next project I cut all those pieces into bits and sewed them back together. Now I can’t wait to cut them apart once they’re completed.

So this technique really began with sort of a failure?

Yes, I just didn’t have the patience to have each print be identical, and even now I make each print to be different; I do things like apply color with a paintbrush onto the plate, which is not normally how you do it. Lots of times I get mud from that, lots of times the mud works out okay too, but I’m always now making the print with the idea that it will become fodder for collage.

Can we back up and talk about how you got started as an artist? What has been your trajectory?

I’ve wanted to make things ever since first grade, and my mom was always very active with us doing craft projects. I have to say that that sort of activity growing up with hands busy- I just never wanted to stop doing that. Even now, the cutting and pasting can feel very childlike.

738847 That sounds really calming, that you can just let your pieces happen in that way.

Yeah, people ask me a lot of times if I plan or have an image before I cut things up, and sometimes I wish that I did- sometimes things might be more productive if I had a plan. But I never have a plan; I’m always just moving all the materials around, just going going going until I have something that feels done. Sometimes the paper feels so thick that I can’t sew through it anymore, and then I know it’s done.

Most of your work is pretty abstract.

Yes, I would say that, abstract and non-representational.

But I feel like I’ve seen a bird in there…

Yes, a lot of my imagery comes from nature; my husband and I spend a lot of time hiking, and I am particularly attracted to the layer that’s about six inches off the ground, where it’s the little growth- not the big trees, but all the little stuff that grows on the ground, and ground birds. That sort of chaos is reflected in my imagery, and then I have some wings and beaks and eyes in there sometimes. Things from the forest floor.

Have you seen your work change a lot over the past ten years or so? Because I know you’ve had several careers.

Yes, I did go to art school, but then I feel into a small business and did something completely different but earned some good experience there, and really I have only been doing this kind of work for about a decade. Before that, I did watercolors.
I’d rather convey the experience of being in nature than say, drawing a flower directly. I think nature gets transferred subconsciously in the work that I do because people see the natural elements in it. Even though almost all my shapes are rectangular, very architectural, the lines are organic.

To listen to the full audio interview, visit the WTJU Soundcloud. Janet Grahame Nault’s work can be found on her website. You can visit her studio as well at McGuffey Art Center.