Elizabeth Derby



Art activist Amelia Williams reads from her new book, Walking Wildwood Trail: Poems and Photographs, on June 5 at Afton Mountain Vineyards. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Amelia Williams uses sculpture and poetry to protest pipeline

Artists-turned-activists typically use their work to amplify awareness about an issue. Increased publicity, the thinking goes, inspires action in the field. But poet Amelia Williams has found a way to leverage art as a direct blocking and delay tactic in the fight against fracked gas pipelines and compressor stations. “In 2014, when we learned about […]

See “A Consideration of Bees” and attend educational beekeeping events at Chroma’s pop-up space, located at 853 W. Main St., through May 28. Images: Courtesy Chroma Projects

Chroma pop-up show brings the life of bees into focus

Artist Elsabe Dixon doesn’t remember how she learned to raise silkworms. But after she successfully encouraged 8,000 of them to spin silk in the hollows of her experimental living sculptures, the South African native began to wonder. “I did a little bit of research and realized that I’m a descendant of the French Huguenots, and […]

Dreamgirls opens on Friday at Live Arts with Kim Riley, Darkita Brown, Valencia Harvey and Deandra Irving as The Dreamettes. “I feel blessed by the experience of getting so many new people together to learn about what theater is, how you make a show and bringing that love together,” says director Julie Hamberg. Photo: Rammelkamp Foto

Live Arts closes its anniversary season with Dreamgirls

Right now, there’s a debate raging about the American dream. What does it look like? Who is it for? And what will we sacrifice in order to achieve it? The debate itself isn’t new. Art has always asked these questions. And Live Arts offers a poignant example with Dreamgirls, which caps off the theater’s 25th […]

UVA alum Samantha Macher’s The Arctic Circle (and a recipe for Swedish pancakes) stars (clockwise from left) Natalie Pernick, Emily Yates, Yvonne Fox and Amanda Diamond, and runs through April 9 at the Helms Theatre. Photo: Michael Bailey

Full circle: Samantha Macher returns to UVA drama as a playwright

In high school, playwright Samantha Macher staged a revolt. “We got a new drama teacher my senior year who canceled the spring musical because he just couldn’t figure out how to use any of us,” says the self-proclaimed theater nerd. “I wound up writing, directing and producing the spring musical. I was like, ‘Screw this.’” […]

“The Vow” is included in the exhibition “Two Kinds of Luck” by Liz Rodda at Second Street Gallery now through February 26. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Double take: Liz Rodda pairs up the unexpected at Second Street Gallery

Ever notice how a small shift in perspective can transform the way you think about your job, relationship, insert-your-life-struggle-here? Liz Rodda is a mixed-media artist who sharpens viewers’ abilities to reframe what they see by partnering two totally unrelated works in a mash-up of videos, sound and sculpture. Unlike a traditional collage artist who combines […]

Artist Alyssa Pheobus Mumtaz discusses her interdisciplinary textile work at an open studio in New City Arts Initiative’s Welcome Gallery on January 28. Photo: Courtesy the artist

Art as craft: The modern contemplation of ancient practices

Contemplation is having a resurgence in the popular consciousness these days, with mindfulness festival studios, pop-up meditation groups and even the University of Virginia’s own Contemplative Sciences Center. But for centuries, artists have practiced contemplation as a necessary companion of creation. “A lot of artists working today like to define contemplativity broadly as a means […]

Photographer Keith Alan Sprouse has been documenting the performers’ daily routine at Charlottesville Ballet and will be showing his images in 2016. Photo: Courtesy the artist

New year notions: Local artists look ahead at 2016

Ah, the new year. That time when thoughts turn to starry-eyed dreams, impossibly slim waistlines and the vague notion that if we could just pull away our bad habits like Clark Kent’s suit jacket, we’d find Super(wo)man underneath. After two years interviewing local artists (and 31 years living as one), I can officially say that […]

Come dressed in light (or just bring a flashlight) to the grounds surrounding the V. Earl Dickinson Building at Piedmont Virginia Community College on Friday for “Let There Be Light.” Photo: Courtesy PVCC

Eyes all aglow: James Yates curates holiday magic at PVCC

James Yates is on a quest to bring magic back during the holidays. “When I was a kid, we used to drive around the town looking at Christmas lights. I remember how awesome that was: me being in the back of the station wagon, drinking hot chocolate, looking out the windows,” the artist says. “Several […]

Brenda Patterson (above in a performance of Le Bal) and her co-founders will launch Victory Hall Opera with Now Try This on November 20 at The Haven. Photo: Monica Rittershaus

Now Try This: Victory Hall Opera lets singers choose their role

When Victory Hall Opera, Charlottesville’s newest opera company, raises the curtain on its first show, it will also unveil a world premiere inside the industry itself. “We are developing a process that doesn’t exist yet—anywhere,” says Miriam Gordon- Stewart, artistic director, soprano and one of the company’s three co-founders. “We’re interested to hear what the […]

Multi-talented artist David Duchovny will perform songs from his album Hell or Highwater on Wednesday at The Inn at Willow Grove. Publicity image.

David Duchovny talks about performing in the moment

Confession: Without “The X-Files,” I wouldn’t be a professional writer. Way back in middle school, I thought I hated writing. At least, I hated writing dry, research-based essays for class. But every Sunday night I found inspiration in the form of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, characters whose investigations into paranormal phenomenon inspired me so […]

Local artist Lily Erb has gained notice for her large steel rod sculptures which she calls “abstract organic.” Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Woman of steel: Lily Erb’s unyielding approach to modern sculpture

For Lily Erb, art mirrors life—but only to a certain extent. The Charlottesville-born and -based artist creates large steel sculptures, most lately composed of numerous steel rods bent into gentle, repetitive curves, then spray-painted in bright, jovial colors. She calls her style “abstract organic” because the pieces don’t resemble actual organic objects. Instead she starts […]

More than 90 landscape paintings by local artist Hamid Karimi are on permanent display at UVA Health South Rehabilitation Hospital. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Return on beauty: Hamid Karimi’s artistic stamina pays off

Hospitals aren’t exactly known as hubs of creative engagement. Yet the trend of visual art in hospitals is on the rise thanks to studies that show scientific links between patients, art and lowered stress levels. While Charlottesville may have yet to see the type of full-fledged contemporary art installations as Indiana University School of Medicine […]