As many students have packed their bags and gone home or to new cities, the students who stay behind may wonder what to do in the city. Fortunately, Charlottesville’s burgeoning arts and culture scene provides plenty of opportunities to fill your summer days and explore new and diverse art. Here are three of the many arts events to check out this July!
“Echoes in the Deep Blue” by Sahara Clemons at Second Street Gallery
What’s New at Second Street Gallery exhibit titled “Echoes in the Deep Blue” features the work of Charlottesville-based artist Sahara Clemons. Clemons is a former student of the lauded YouthArts program, a national competition for young adult artists, and has exhibited her work at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the McGuffey Art Center, and other galleries.
Clemons’ work explores themes of identity at the intersection of gender and race through a collection of oil and acrylic paintings, delving into her own identity as a black woman from the perspective of her young adult years. As she explores this pivotal period of her life, one in which she likely pondered the possibilities of the future, she also traverses stories from her past. To do so, Clemons searched for old photographs and family traditions, and even traveled to Ghana, a trip that changed the overall course of her art.
As she learns about her past, she remains grounded in her present and future. The title of the exhibition symbolizes the echoes of her ancestors and her past. Pieces like “In Her Own World and Becoming Yours” showcase this theme, highlighting the impact of older generations of women on Clemons through a depiction of an adult woman intimately braiding a child’s hair.
In general, “Echoes in the Deep Blue” is a deep and complex dive into the exploration of intersectional identities during the impressionable teenage years. The exhibition will be open until July 21.
Virginia Theater Festival
The Virginia Theater Festival is in full swing, putting up in three award-winning productions for its 2023 season. The Virginia Theater Festival is a professional summer theater hosted by the University. Started in 1974, it serves as an artistic playground for professional directors, actors, and more from across the country to create and work alongside college professors, students, and artists.
As an ensemble, they have staged a myriad of productions, from American classics like “Little Women” to musicals like “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The Virginia Theater Festival has produced a wide range of talented alumni seen everywhere from Broadway, such as Jared Bradshaw of “Jersey Boys,” to television with Wayne Knight of “Seinfeld” fame.
Following a successful run of the award-winning musical “Cabaret”, VTF’s next production is Ken Ludwig’s “Dear Jack, Dear Louise”. Ludwig tells the sweet love story of his own parents, US Army Captain Jack Ludwig, and aspiring showgirl Louise Rabiner. When the two accidentally begin a mail correspondence during World War II, their relationship begins to blossom into a beautiful romance that audiences will fade with each love letter.
“Dear Jack, Dear Louise” will run from July 21-30 at the Drama Department’s Helms Theater on Culbreth Road. Get tickets to see this passionate and heartfelt romance here.
“Heathers the Musical: Teen Edition” at Live Arts Theater
Live Arts has been a hallmark of the Charlottesville arts community, defending theater in the local area and in Central Virginia. As part of its 2022-2023 season, the summer theater production is “Heathers The Musical: Teen Edition,” an adaptation of the popular musical based on the original 1988 film of the same name.
Heathers has long been a cult classic and is considered one of the best coming-of-age movies of all time. The original film is a black comedy detailing the story of teenager Veronica Sawyer, a member of the most powerful clique in her high school, the Heathers. However, her life begins to unravel after she falls for the new misfit at school. .
Created in 1989, Live Arts was the first established by a group of artists as a home for theater and performance in Charlottesville. It has been celebrated for its many productions, presenting more than 300 plays and offering acting and improv classes to members of the community.
The heathers will be presented at the Live Arts Theater in downtown Charlottesville from July 14-30. Featuring an ensemble of talented young actors, this adaptation is perfect for someone looking for a high-quality production and a blast from the past. Tickets can be purchased here.