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 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 […]

New residents and artists-in-residency, Lowland Hum performs at a record release show on Saturday at The Haven. The performance will also feature an art installation and hand-bound lyric books designed by band member Lauren Goans (right). Publicity photo

New in town: Finding an artistic home through collaboration

The word home means different things to different people: A physical place you share with family and friends. A feeling of love and security. A group of people who share encouragement and acceptance. At different points in life, we all struggle to find home. For touring musicians, this can be an even trickier task. However, […]

John McCutcheon returns to Charlottesville on Saturday for a concert based on the life and work of labor activist Joe Hill. Publicity photo

Roots meets grassroots: John McCutcheon pays tribute to Joe Hill

John McCutcheon is equal parts musician and storyteller, skilled with a variety of instruments but also engaging when telling tales between tunes. He is a Wisconsin native who called Charlottesville home for years before moving to Smoke Rise, Georgia. He is also an avid community organizer and political figure in folk music. Given this multifaceted […]

The Honey Dewdrops return for a special preview of their new album on Friday at the Southern. Publicity photo

Eschew superstition: Local musicians worth a listen on Friday the 13th

For some, this weekend is a chance to get an early start on St. Patrick’s Day festivities, er, drinking. For others, it’s a trauma trigger for paraskevidekatriaphobia–the fear of Friday the 13th. But for those looking to eschew shamrocks and other nightmares, there’s a different option. On Friday, March 13, local musicians take the stage […]

Yeni Mao’s letterpress graphic “Genghis Khan 1965” is part of Second Street Gallery’s “The Conqueror” exhibition and serves as inspiration for Second Saturday Yoga Art Grooves. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Warrior pose: Genghis Khan and inner peace at Second Street Gallery

Aspiring yogis and curious connoisseurs of contemporary art, unite! Second Street Gallery is hosting another installment of the monthly Second Saturday Yoga Art Grooves series that launched in the fall of 2014. A collaboration between Opal Yoga and Second Street Gallery, each event in the series is “its own unique happening, a collusion of artist, […]

“Vines (A Collaboration)” by Pamela Pecchio is one of the prints included in the New City Artist Exchange, where artists shared work and inspiration with each other. Image courtesy of New City Arts.

Art handlers: How the New City Artist Exchange is connecting local artists

Paul Handler is difficult to shoehorn. Despite possessing uncommon creativity, he subscribes to no single genre in his pursuits. It is rare, if not impossible, to find work that is attributed solely to his particular genius. Rather, Handler’s name has been made through his behind-the-scenes work in support of artistic co-conspirator Mara Sprafkin—until recently. In […]

The Crescent Halls quilting group has been meeting weekly for more than 10 years. Francine Payne and company will have quilts on display at CitySpace beginning on Friday. Staff photo.

Stitchin’ time: New quilt exhibit at CitySpace

Entering the room, two sounds compete for your attention: the steady hum of sewing machines and a Destiny’s Child song amplified by unseen speakers. It’s Friday at Crescent Halls, a housing facility operated by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and that means that a group of local quilters is hard at work in the […]

New Boss stacks up as a local supergroup with (L to R from top) Parker Smith, Chelsea Blakely, Scott Ritchie, Nick Rubin, Jordan Perry and Thomas Dean. Publicity photo.

Musical heirs: New Boss is reborn through old connections

More than once, my father has mentioned a desire to trace our family tree. I only understand this practice in abstract terms though. The closest concrete example I know of such a family tree comes not from any genetic kinship but rather attempts by friends to detail the shared ancestry of musicians in local bands. […]

Charlottesville’s tenacious bookseller Sandy McAdams of Daedalus Bookshop is featured in the documentary A Hundred Thousand Books. Photo courtesy of Virginia Film Festival.

Let’s keep it short: VFF takes on more of the small stuff

In a desert of feature length movies, it’s a delight to stumble upon this year’s slate of short films at the Virginia Film Festival. There are four separate programs of shorts, featuring a total of 29 short films—a grand total that’s much higher than in recent years. These films range in genre and style, offering […]

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is supported by UVA’s OFFScreen Film Society and will be screened on Sunday at the downtown Regal. Photo courtesy of Virginia Film Festival.

Dinner date: And now for some films that really suck

Things I’ve learned from horror movies include: Never say anyone’s name into a mirror more than twice. You’re in trouble if that charming old house you bought has an unfinished cellar or attic. Stripes never go out of style when your fingers are made out of knives. And like all respectful dinner party guests, vampires […]

Kevin Everson followed the workers at a bowling alley equipment factory to make his eight-hour film Park Lanes, Spare. VFF moviegoers will be “spared” the long version and offered a 90-minute cut at the downtown Regal on Friday. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Film Festival.

Explore the Commonwealth: Navigating local cuts at the Virginia Film Festival

In anticipation of the Virginia Film Festival this weekend, I’ve been considering geographical predispositions when it comes to movies. Predictably, as a student, French New Wave films were guaranteed pleasers. These types of geographical tastes exist for many. French films carry a different prestige than Hollywood movies. India’s Bollywood and Nigeria’s Nollywood each have their […]

Doing his part to promote global harmony, Peyton Tochterman (second from left) took his band to Afghanistan in 2012, where he served as an official cultural ambassador.  Publicity photo

Diplomacy and drone: This week’s musical highlights

Does the name Peyton Tochterman ring any bells? It’s been three years since the local musician has performed in town but he’s certainly someone you should know. Tochterman’s last Charlottesville show celebrated the release of the full-length album, A New World. Since then, he’s been busy. “I was on the road almost constantly for two […]

The most effective way to be inspired by a TED or TEDx talk is to attend the event in person. Stuart A. Kessler spoke about technological innovations that assist with independent living for seniors at last year’s open mic. Photo by Jack Looney.

Can we talk? Making the most of your TEDx experience

This town is no stranger to open mic nights. We boast Big Blue Door storytelling and improv night; the musicians, poets, and comedians of Verbs & Vibes; and Olio, a pechakucha-style series that was popular until its untimely demise in 2011. So, how is the upcoming TEDxCharlottesville Open Mic Night different? In a word, glory. […]

Russ Warren’s “Blue Muse,” shows the strong influence that Picasso had on his work. It’s part of the “Picasso, Lydia, and Friends 2014” exhibition at Les Yeux du Monde gallery. Image courtesy of artist

The Gasman archives pay homage to artistic passion

“What inspires you?” For those with an interest in visual art, the question could elicit a response of Diane Arbus, Stan Brakhage, or Jean-Michel Basquiat. However, for many UVA alumni, the answer might very well be the University’s legendary art professor, Lydia Gasman. This month, an exhibit at Les Yeux du Monde gallery entitled “Picasso, […]

Kary Haun works with porcelain to create simple, functional pieces of pottery in her central Virginia home studio. Publicity photo

The simple art of a cup and other favorites

“I hear a lot of people say they bought one and reach for it every day, bypassing all of the others on the shelf.” This is how professional potter Kary Haun describes one of the proudest achievements in her work, her signature cup. “I have cups like that in my cupboard,” she said. “Some are mine, […]

Charlottesville-based dancer Katie Schetlick in “spritewood” (video projection on raw plywood), part of the “WoodEar” exhibit. “Pieces like ‘WoodEar’ try to
pull art into the idea that our relationship with technology can be critically considered and that it can generate new questions and new meanings,” said multimedia artist Peter Traub. Image courtesy of the artist

Multimedia exhibit brings the forest to Ruffin Gallery

What does it mean to digitally broadcast the ‘experience’ of a tree? Is satire inherent in such an act?” These are just a couple of the questions that Charlottesville-based artist Peter Traub hopes you’ll contemplate while viewing “WoodEar” at UVA’s Ruffin Gallery. The exhibit is a recent collaboration between composer and multimedia artist Traub; dance […]