Sarah Lawson

Sarah has lived in Charlottesville since 2002 - long enough to consider herself a local. In addition to graduating from UVa and co-founding The Bridge Film Series, she has worn a variety of hats including book designer, documentary film curator, animal caretaker, and popcorn maker. The opinions here are completely her own and unassociated with her work at Piedmont Council for the Arts (PCA). Sarah's interests include public art, experimental films, travel, and design.

Local musician Katie Wood launched the booking company Valence Shows to take on the duty of filling the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar’s live music calendar. Photo: Rammelkamp Foto

Tune up: A new generation of concert bookers finds its niche

“A valence bond is when atoms are held together by the electrons they share. It seemed really fitting for how music events can bring community members together through the things they share,” says Katie Wood, describing her new endeavor, Valence Shows. Under this moniker, Wood is one of the newest live music bookers in town. Wood’s […]

Piedmont Council of the Arts announced Gram Slaton's departure earlier this week.  He joined the organization in January 2015.  Image: Martyn Kyle

PCA executive director exits after less than a year

On Tuesday, November 10, Piedmont Council for the Arts announced that executive director Gram Slaton will leave his current position effective November 15. The PCA Board of Directors hired Slaton in January. In May, Slaton was quoted in C-VILLE Weekly, saying that he hoped to avoid “constantly losing all institutional knowledge” through staff turnover at PCA. He also proposed a […]

Second Street Gallery partners with the Afrikana Independent Film Festival for a series of screenings that begins with the documentary BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez (pictured) on October 30. Photo: Attie & Goldwater Productions

Screen scene: Afrikana Independent Film Festival comes to town

There’s a film festival coming to town, but it’s not the one you’re thinking of. Beginning on October 30, the Richmond- based Afrikana Independent Film Festival will launch a series of screenings at Second Street Gallery. “Afrikana started with the mission of showcasing cinematic works of art from people of color from around the world, […]

Composer and shakuhachi player Kojiro Umezaki is one of the guest artists who will collaborate at TechnoSonics XVI, a weeklong festival of sound at UVA. Photo: David O’Connor

All-nighter: UVA’s TechnoSonics festival returns for 16th year

“The connection between music and many people’s sense of their spiritual nature is one of the essential engines driving our mad (yet perfectly reasonable) devotion to music,” says Ted Coffey, associate professor in composition and computer technologies at UVA’s McIntire Department of Music. Each year, CCT faculty members lead the process of selecting a theme […]

The classes offered at City Clay run the gamut, from basic hand-building for beginners to intermediate wheel or workshops in glazing techniques. Photo: Courtesy City Clay

Fired up: New studios and upcoming exhibition at City Clay

When City Clay owner and artist Randy Bill started her business in 2011, she knew that her rented space on West Main Street wasn’t long for this world. Though the specter of the new Marriott loomed large, Bill refused to be daunted by it. “I knew it was the best location possible for visibility and […]

The McGuffey Art Center membership has grown to more than 170 members since its inception 40 years ago. The center kicks off a month of celebration events on Friday. Photo: Bill Moretz

On (not over) the hill: The McGuffey Art Center looks back at 40

With its stalwart presence atop the hill at the northwest end of downtown, there’s no doubt that the McGuffey Art Center is a defining part of the local arts community. Its sturdy brick exterior commands respect while its large sash windows hint at the building’s original use as a school. Built in 1916, McGuffey was […]

Mi Ossa studio sources its craft materials from Haiti, El Salvador, Ethiopia and other countries, to create unique, fashionable jewelry and accessories in a thoughtful way. Photo: Mi Ossa Studio

Connecting the pieces: Haitian handicrafts meet high fashion at Mi Ossa

“There’s plenty of artisanal food in Charlottesville, so we were just trying to find out what was missing,” jokes Shannon Worrell. Together with Nora Brookfield, Worrell is co-founder of Mi Ossa, a design lab and fashion line that’s located in Charlottesville’s Tenth Street Warehouse. Their business model focuses on fair trade and environmentally friendly ways […]

McGuffey artists upcycle outdated books from UVA’s Arthur J. Morris Law Library in a collaborative show titled “Discarded." Photo: Courtesy the artist

A new leaf: UVA law library takes a bookish approach to art

As the school year gets underway, a group of artists from the McGuffey Art Center is hitting the books. Or rather, they’re cutting, sewing, painting and otherwise transforming books as part of a new exhibition at UVA’s Arthur J. Morris Law Library. Titled “Discarded,” the show draws its name quite literally from a common medium: […]

Kirsten Miles of the Tupelo Press Teen Writing Center gives JMU student Mike Dozier a tour of the new collaborative Art On Ivy. Photo: Courtesy of VABC

Movable type: Virginia Arts of the Book Center makes a shift

If you only know one thing about the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, it’s probably that its tagline is “Beneath The Art Box.” This hints at the rich history of underground presses but also provides a literal reminder to help geolocate the community printmaking studio in its off-the-radar location. However, that motto needs an […]

Roanoke band Eternal Summers gets some couch time with “BottleWorks” host Jenn Lockwood (right). The band is featured in the fourth episode of WTJU’s new video series. Photo: Tom Daly

A face for radio: WTJU launches ‘BottleWorks’ video series

Since Nathan Moore joined WTJU 91.1FM as general manager in 2011, the community radio station has embraced change with new energy. His influence led the station to launch WXTJ 100.1FM, featuring solely UVA students as DJs. He was also instrumental in WTJU’s expansion into Richmond as 102.9FM and 1430AM. The most recent change under Nathan’s […]

Mark Tramontin closed the doors at Sneak Reviews (for real this time) in mid-July. A portion of the 45,000 title video collection will go to UVA and other universities. Photo: Christian Hommel

The last VHS tape: A eulogy for the Sneak Reviews experience

“I’m proud of what we’ve done for more than 21 years. It’s the little guys, the small business that really get to make an impact on the community,” says Mark Tramontin, owner of Sneak Reviews. This month, the local video store closes its doors, marking the end of one of Charlottesville’s most beloved experiences. Because […]

Light House Studio Executive Director Deanna Gould leads the filmmaking organization as it prepares to grow into a new home at Vinegar Hill Theatre. Photo: Amy Jackson

Marquee moments: Light House Studio moves in to Vinegar Hill Theatre

The popcorn machine remains silent and the box office window is still tightly closed, but signs of life are returning to Vinegar Hill Theatre this summer. After the arthouse cinema and adjacent restaurant closed in 2013, the building remained vacant for almost two years. In that time, someone stole the chalkboard by the front door; […]

From Monica Haller's Veterans Book Project (pictured) to Zanele Muholi's images of the South African LGBT community, the photographers featured at this year's LOOK3 Festival are turning their lenses into a force for activism. Photo courtesy of LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph

Picture this: 2015 LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph

One of the telltale signs of summer in Charlottesville is already visible high above the bricks of the Downtown Mall. Strung between trunks and limbs of the willow oaks, larger-than-life animals and insects gaze down at diners and pedestrians as part of the 2015 LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph. Images like these appear each June, […]

Brendan Wolfe looks into the nuance of historical facts through his work as the managing editor of Encyclopedia Virginia. He will contribute a story about war in Virginia to the June issue of Obscure Histories, a quarterly online magazine. Photo: Martyn Kyle

More than facts: Brendan Wolfe reimagines Virginia history

“The thing about working for the encyclopedia is that you’re just surrounded by stories all the time. I never get tired of all the interesting stuff that you come into contact with.” As the managing editor of Encyclopedia Virginia, it’s no surprise that Brendan Wolfe feels this way. Where many would envision dull days of […]

Local artist Russ Warren’s exhibit at Les Yeux du Monde pays homage to Spanish masters with paintings like “El Perro de la Infanta." Photo: Eric Kelley Photography

Velázquez to Picasso: Russ Warren channels Spain in the Blue Ridge

“The landscape around my Charlottesville home is remarkably like that of Oaxaca, Mexico,” muses Charlottesville-based artist Russ Warren. It has “a spirituality emanating from the atmosphere and the mountainous landscape that seems magical.” To be honest, despite having spent much of my life in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this is not a comparison I’ve heard […]

Since leaving town in the ’70s, Charlottesville native Gram Slaton has fostered a solid track record heading up arts organizations around the country. He returned in January to lead the Piedmont Council for the Arts. Photo: Martin Kyle

Reimagined: PCA finds new direction under Gram Slaton

“I take broken things and fix them,” explained Gram Slaton. This conjures images of fixer-upper houses or rusted-out bikes, but he’s not a repairman in the traditional sense. In fact, one of the main things that Slaton fixes are non-profit organizations. And as the new executive director of Piedmont Council for the Arts (PCA), he is […]