Sunday, May 25, 2008

Charlottesville Trip - Art Everywhere

This weekend the wife and I loaded up the dog and took off for Charlottesville. On the way into town we passed the normal art in the median. This year it's a sculpture called Conversation.

The Charlottesville city council sponsors the ArtInPlace nonprofit, which runs a competition annually for outdoor sculpture. This year there are about ten outdoor displays. Occassionally one of the pieces is so popular that it becomes part of a permanent display like "A Bad Case of Mondays" whish is an invisible person (blue coat) with papers falling from the briefcase running up the hill on one of the bypass entranceways.

The non-profit is also sponsoring other art events and displays. An interesting one is for artistic bike racks. So far they have 2 bike rack installations.

We arrived downtown at about 6:30, just missing the opening band for Fridays After Five.

By the time The Groove Train took the stage, the place was full of people chatting with friends, playing in the grass, and enjoying the wonderful spring day. To encourage residents to come enjoy the festivities, admissions are free. Drink tickets are $5 apiece, which along with several sponsors, goes to pay the bands and beer, with the remaining profits being returned to numerous non-profits that help staff the events.

Charlottesville of organic and healthy eating establishments started poping up all around town several years ago, so now it isn't hard to find something almost any place you go. This sign was on one of the food tents at FridaysAfterFive. Across the street were kettle corn and hot donuts, so there was something for everyone.

Saturday we awoke from our friends new house out in Crozet, VA - looking out the window at a spectacular view of the blue ridge mountains.

We headed back into town to do some shopping (and by shopping I mean browsing). Gail took me to one of her favorite organic markets Feast. I had to get a picture of the place next door called The Organic Butcher. There seems to be some irony in that. The prices were amazing. About 75% of what I've seen here, and yet it was on main street, where rents aren't that cheap. In this establishment, several storefronts are all within a single building, which probably helps spread out some costs.

We then took off for the downtown mall. The rest of the day was spent ducking into retail, antique, art galleries. Eyeing a few empty buildings, and checking out the renovations on what is going to become Charlottesville's newest hotel right on the downtown mall.

This is the renovated Paramount Theatre that hosts stage productions throughout the fall, winter and spring.
The walking mall is full of outdoor restaurant seating, street performers, artwork, shopping tables, and a few sculptural water fountains. There are plans underway to start a multi million dollar renovation to the 30 year old mall.

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