News & Views – 11.17.2011

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The Charlottesville Mural Project 

The Charlottesville Mural Project (CMP)  held a dedication ceremony for its first mural at the IX warehouse by local artist Avery Lawrence in an ongoing campaign to showcase the talents of artists and designers while creating a more interesting visual landscape in the city. 
 
The CMP is an umbrella project of The Bridge | Progressive Arts Initiative, a non-profit that strives to build community through the power of collaboration and direct engagement in the creative arts process.  The CMP features local artists and designers, partners with youth programs, youth communities, and local businesses, and will produce two murals a year.
 
The IX mural received the generous volunteer labor of Charlottesville residents, UVA students, Clark Elementary art students, and groups from Teens GIVE.  Two murals are in the works for 2012 in conjunction with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, Charlottesville High School, and the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. 
    
“There’s mutually symbiotic visions behind the project,” said Greg Kelly, Executive Director of The Bridge. “Ross (McDermott, Director of CMP) came to me with this drive to cover walls and beautify the city, and we decided it was important to follow MAP’s lead by incorporating the communities that surrounds the walls.  That is very important to us.” 
  
Since the CMP’s launch earlier this year, the CMP embarked on a 4,000 square foot set of walls donated by Fabian Kuttner, the Property Manager of the IX complex.  Kuttner commissioned the mural and is providing the majority of donations for the mural.  
 
In July, The Charlottesville Mural Project hosted a city-wide design competition seeking artists for their first mural.  Out of more than thirty-five entries, artist Avery Lawrence was selected by a jury for his colorful design that depicts multi-colored hands intertwining and interacting with each other. 
 
A Charlottesville native, Lawrence drew inspiration for the design from childhood experiences in the diverse landscape of the neighborhood.  Lawrence states, “The hands in the design represent the curiosity and friendliness of a group figuring out how to come together as a community.”
 
“I wanted it to be beautiful, but I also wanted complexity,” said Lawrence. “You’ll be able to drive by and understand it from that perspective, or walk right up and stand below an enormous 20’ hand.”
 
The Charlottesville Mural Project was fortunate enough to partner with a number of generous companies who believed in the cause of public art in Charlottesville.  Most notably, Blue Ridge Building Supply partnered with Benjamin Moore paint to become a leading sponsor of the project. 
   
“As a small local business we were pleased to be given an opportunity to support the launch of this important campaign which, while helping local youth will also add color and vibrancy to our community” said Dennis Moneymaker, General Manager of Blue Ridge Paint and Decorating. 
 
“In addition to donating and discounting our premium exterior Benjamin Moore paint, we were happy in working with Ross McDermott and Avery Lawrence to provide recommendations and specifications in the application process to help insure that this project will be enjoyed for the longest period of time possible.”
 
Other contributions were given by Gropen and United Rentals. 
 
Lawrence worked on the mural for over a month with the help of and countless other volunteers.  While Lawrence relied upon a community of friends to help paint, he also reached out to the art students at Clark Elementary School.  Aaron Eichorst, Art Teacher at Clark, brought a group of drawing students to the mural on Halloween Day.  
 
The mural was also assisted by UVA students, and a few young individuals who were participating in the Teens GIVE program.  
 
All in all, the mural could not have been completed without the generosity of sponsors, volunteers, and the enthusiasm of the Charlottesville community.
 
The CMP has the goal of completing two murals a year within Charlottesville.  One mural will work with an established artist while the other will serve as an outreach project to youth organizations or communities.  
 
Already in the works is a Spring mural project in conjunction with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library’s Big Read program and Charlottesville High School.  Other consultation from the CMP will be provided to murals in the West Haven after school program and Southwood Community. 
 
Additionally, the CMP would like to produce a mural on Water Street, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act in 2012. 
 
Ornament Workshop
Create a one-of-a-kind glass ornament at the “Blow Your Own Glass Ornament” event with ACV juried artisan Charles Hall on Saturday & Sunday, November 19-20 in the Charles Hall Studio at the McGuffey Arts Center in Charlottesville.  Each ornament is $25. The Blow-By-Blow Kick-Off Reception will be on Friday, November 18 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The reception cost is $50 per person with proceeds going to benefit the Artisans Center of Virginia. Space is limited and reservations are required. Email: info@artisanscenterofvirginia.org or call 540-946-3294.
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