What’s Happening at the Jefferson School?

Photographer June Collmer discusses her artwork on display at the Vinegar Hill Cafe. Photographer June Collmer discusses her artwork on display at the Vinegar Hill Cafe.

June Collmer Photography Exhibit at Vinegar Hill Cafe

Stop by Vinegar Hill Café at the Jefferson School City Center this month to admire the photography of June Collmer. While Collmer holds a B.A. from Temple University in studio arts, her various careers as a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), attorney, and nonprofit executive director, have kept her from fully engaging with her creative side until recently.

“I’ve always had to love whatever I do. I loved being a PNP, I loved doing contracts, and right now, this just ignites me,” Collmer said about her photography. Two years ago, Collmer began taking “abstract” shots with her iPhone 4s, which she describes as shots that focus on the texture and composition of a portion of a wall, a ceiling at CVS, or other moments of everyday beauty that caught her eye. She approaches photography intuitively, often taking a shot quickly and not setting up a scene or cropping her images.  With time, her work has evolved to include black and white work and portraiture. Her show at Vinegar Hill Café features scenes from the National Linen Building. She spent four months hanging around the building and visiting the different studios there, which house people working on projects as diverse as auto-body work and air conditioning to painters, goldsmiths, and tentmakers.

“I really love doing the studies of people. I talk with them a little bit, and then, while I’m in the process of framing [the shot], I wait until there’s a connection,” Collmer explained. “It’s really what I try for, is to connect with who that person is, and that’s such a magical thing.”

Collmer takes much of her inspiration from walks around the Vinegar Hill and Starr Hill neighborhoods, in an effort to increase awareness of the Jefferson School City Center as well as further her art. While she used to be very shy, she’s now comfortable approaching strangers and enjoys the connections she makes. “Walking around these communities has been a real education for me,” she said. “We’re talking about race issues, integration issues, so it’s been really interesting talking with people about the history of these communities.”

In addition to her show at Vinegar Hill Café, Collmer will serve as the informal curator of the space and is looking to put together a group printmaking show for July. Interested printmakers can contact Collmer at jecollmer@gmail.com for details on the exhibition.

Book Drive at JABA’s Mary Williams Community Center

The Mary Williams Community Center is serving as a drop-off location for the United Way’s Children’s Book Drive, now through June 16. “If you have gently used children’s books appropriate for ages 6 months to 12 years, you can drop them off here at the center. We’ll get them to the United Way to then disperse to their community book baskets,” explained Kelly Carpenter, Mary Williams Community Center Manager. New children’s books are also accepted.

The Mary Williams Community Center is also looking for donations to its bingo prize cabinet and has some volunteer opportunities available. “If you’d like to donate prizes for bingo we appreciate non-perishable food items, household supplies like dish soap, laundry soap, personal toiletries, etc. and large print puzzle books or any other item you think our members would enjoy,” Carpenter explained. The center also needs volunteers for the following roles:

  • Morning Setup person – a 30 minute commitment Monday through Thursday mornings 8:45 am to 9:15 am and setup for coffee and beverages.
  • Whole Foods donation pickup – a once a week commitment to pickup our donation of eggs and bananas from Whole Foods at 8:30 am Monday mornings and drop them off to us by 9:00 am. (this position could be done in combination with the Morning Setup)
  • Shelf building – a one time project, we need an individual with building skills to help us add shelves to two closets. An individual with connections to a supply donation would be outstanding, but the staff can help in finding / purchasing the supplies necessary.
  • Bingo prize collection –  We’d love to have a dedicated volunteer to reach out to community businesses for bingo prizes regularly and help us keep our bingo prize cabinet full and organized
  • Lunch service help Tuesdays and Wednesdays – an easy 30 minute commitment on Tuesdays from 11:15 to 11:45 and Wednesdays from 11:45 to 12:15 to help us serve lunch. Simple as delivering plates from the kitchen to the members.

Please contact Kelly Carpenter if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer at kcarpenter@jabacares.org or 434-987-8433.

Common Ground’s Sit-a-thon Happening June 14 at The Haven

On Saturday, June 14th, 10am-noon at the Haven, Common Ground will be hosting its third annual Sit-a-Thon, its largest fundraiser of the year. This event, featuring an hour long meditation followed by a reception, is open to all levels: beginners will learn useful tools for meditation, and experienced meditators of all traditions are welcome to come and sit with other mindful individuals in our community.

Pat Coffey, a Senior Teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition, will lead a one-hour community meditation, divided into 20 minutes of seated meditation, 20 minutes of walking meditation, and 20 minutes of heart meditation (also known as metta, or loving-kindness). An optional Q&A and reception will follow the sit.

Participants can register in advance and fundraise to support Common Ground’s outreach work in the community or just show up on the morning of, make a donation of any amount at the door, and join in the event.

JSCC logoJefferson School City Center is a voice of the nine nonprofits located at Charlottesville’s intergenerational community center, the restored Jefferson School. We are a legacy preserved . . . a soul reborn . . . in the heart of Cville!


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