Elizabeth Derby



Executive director Kevin O’Halloran and hundreds of community members prepare for Ash Lawn Opera’s season opening with Madama Butterfly at the Paramount on Friday. Photo: Chris Pecoraro

In the wings: Ash Lawn Opera’s Madama Butterfly alights the Paramount stage

Every summer, Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall floods with a subtle siege: opera singers, orchestra members and technical crew members from all over the country. Unlike participants in traveling productions, they arrive to co-create a few gem-like original performances, shows that debut at The Paramount Theater under the direction (and extended logistical planning) of Ash Lawn Opera. […]

Stace Carter is one of two artists-in-residence at Shenandoah National Park. The filmmaker will spend two weeks capturing the allure and backstory of daily life in the park. Photo: Tate Grasse

Natural resources: Casting Shenandoah National Park in a starring role

As the newest artist-in-residence at Shenandoah National Park, documentary filmmaker Stace Carter sums up his outdoorsy side in one word: “Meh.” A former Boy Scout, Eagle Scout and decades-long Albemarle resident, Carter says he has “a great appreciation for comfort,” and his interest in this artistic residency comes not with the chance to shoehorn backcountry […]

As an artist working in a drama ministry, playwright Caruso Brown gets to witness the evolution of his work. “It’s a birthing experience. You see your inner soul come alive on stage,” he says. Photo: Eli Williams

Leading man: Caruso Brown takes his drama ministry to the edge

Once upon a time, Charlottesville-based playwright Caruso Brown was a terribly shy, introverted student at Virginia State College (now University). He grew up writing poems. That may have been the end of it, if a drama director at the school hadn’t read one of Brown’s poems and insisted that he perform it during the school’s […]

The Bridge PAI’s executive director Matthew Slaats hangs quilting work created through a unique program at the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center. Roy Mitchell’s students have made and given away over 100 quilts to groups in need, including members of the local homeless population, McGuire Veterans Hospital, and Culpeper and Richmond cancer centers. Photo: Rammelkamp Foto

Sewn together: Quilting fosters growth in the juvenile justice system

The vibrant color hits you first—long swaths of it—before your brain can synthesize the spectrum as quilts, bright fabrics cut and pieced together in geometric patterns and draped against high walls and room dividers. Then you notice the buzz—the palpable warmth of the gallery’s attendees. Three of the exhibited artists, young men in suit jackets […]

Brice Brown (right) designed the modular panels for the collaborative sculpture, “Glass and Bridle, Pomegranate and Pears: On the Viability and Transience of a Free and Perfect Union,” at Adventure Farm. Photo: Martyn Kyle

Hindsight and song: The Commission centerpiece captures a transient moment

On May 9, Brice Brown and Alan Shockley celebrated their 10th anniversary. And theirs was truly a perfect union, if only for one night. Their collaborative work, “Glass and Bridle, Pomegranate and Pears: On the Viability and Transience of a Free and Perfect Union,” unveiled at Adventure Farm on Saturday. The one-night-only exhibition was the centerpiece of The […]

Carolyn Demanelis, Alexandra Deglise-Umble, Maxine Gillespie and Kathleen Welch portray Iraqi and Iraqi-American women who connect through shared experiences in 9 Parts of Desire. Photo: Michael Bailey

Story sharing: UVA Drama’s 9 Parts of Desire breaks barriers

Actor, director and UVA Drama professor Kate Burke is on a mission to change American theater. “I’m very aware of how the American tradition has been influenced by Method acting,” Burke said in a recent interview. “There are some good things about it, but in distorted form it focuses on emotions and neuroses of both […]

“Reinventions,” a collection of Cary Oliva’s photographic work, is on display at Java Java through the month of March. Photo courtesy of the artist

Old is new: Cary Oliva’s unique images sustain a waning format

“I feel like an old soul in general. If I’m shopping, I’d rather buy something old and upcycle it or do something that appreciates the value of what it used to be,” said Charlottesville- based alternative photographer Cary Oliva. “Things were just more beautiful back in the day.” The intrigue of age surfaces in the majority […]

Arturo Lindsay’s “Portraits of Yemaya” is a result of his spiritual quest and research on the African Diaspora in contemporary American culture. Photo: Steve Taylor.

Circle of hope: Arturo Lindsay’s global soul search

Photos of secluded beaches, colorful fishing boats and turquoise waves hang on the walls of Second Street Gallery, which has been temporarily overrun with harbor themes: a white ship-shaped structure from which dozens of folded origami boats dangle and twirl, a wash of sand and seashells across the gallery floor, a navy blue wall bearing […]

Art lessons: Advice for living a more creative life

Art lessons: Advice for living a more creative life

Every week for the last 10 months, I’ve interviewed area artists for this column. Over coffee and phone lines I’ve been privileged to speak with writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, actors and mixed media creators. We’d talk for an hour, I’d write for three more, and in the process I’ve found a few themes that […]

The ensemble cast (Tim McNamara, Lynn Thorne, Jon Cobb, Elizabeth Howard, Jayne Gallagher and John Ashley pictured) of Live Arts’ Les Misérables lifts the epic to great heights. Photo: Martyn Kyle.

No despair: Live Arts soars with Les Misérables

I was 10 years old when I saw Les Misérables on Broadway, and my dislike of the show was immediate and intense. I wasn’t prepared for my total immersion into a world where destitute mothers became prostitutes, innocent men served on chain gangs and girls my age toiled barefoot in the streets. Oh, and then […]