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Museums and Galleries

UVA Art Museum (Bayly)

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art

Second Street Gallery

McGuffey Art Center

Les Yeux du Monde

C&O Gallery

Art Upstairs


The TJ Memorial Church


New Dominion Book Shop

Café Cubano

C'ville Arts

C'ville Coffee

Sage Moon Gallery

The Gallery @ 5th & Water

Other miscellaneous venues

Piedmont Virginia Community College Galleries

See 'ville: Where the art lives

[email protected]
  Charlottesville regularly congratulates itself for being saturated with culture, but truth be told, the economic downturn has not been kind to the visual arts at the local level. It’s still possible to get your art fix while running errands— from buying a book (The New Dominion Book Shop) to consulting with your accountant architect (Hampton and Everett and Stoneking/Von Storch’s Gallery at 5th & Main)— but the walls around town are not quite as laden with visual delights as in past years.
Several established galleries in town called it a day during the past year. Migration: A Gallery became an online business, and longtime local favorite, Les Yeux du Monde, closed its West Main doors, although it still occasionally sponsors events. Meanwhile, Sage Moon Gallery relocated its operations to Siips Wine and Champagne Bar.
Publicly funded venues have fared better. The University of Virginia Art Museum not only hired a new director, Bruce Boucher, but it also undertook a multi-million dollar facelift. Closed for renovation over the summer, the new and improved Museum is set to re-open September 12. One thing won’t have changed: the Museum will still boast a superlative staff whose imagination and depth of knowledge imbue any exhibition with intellectual heft. And for those who love art parties, the Museum—dancing to the beat of its own Cavalier drummer— will continue to hold Fourth Friday celebrations each month of the school year.
Also participating in Fourth Friday festivities at UVA is the nearby McIntire Department of Art, now fully settled in its state-of-the-art (ba-dum-bum) building, Ruffin Hall. Ruffin features both a formal gallery on its third floor, and a looser venue, the RuffStuff Gallery, on its first. Plus, student artwork hangs in the hallways throughout the building.
Downtown, the nonprofit Second Street Gallery bats in the avant-garde big leagues, showcasing work by luminaries like Martin Parr and Sandow Birk. With state-of-the-art lighting and two separate gallery spaces, SSG also gives support to up-and-coming regional artists. New director Rebecca Schoenthal is set to offer her first season of programming in 2009-2010.    
A few blocks away on downtown’s other Second Street, the McGuffey Art Center occupies a former elementary school, where former classrooms provide qualified artists with studios (all of which are open for drop-by visits). In addition to monthly exhibitions, nonprofit McGuffey offers art classes and holds regular public forums to discuss hot topics in art.
Another nonprofit, the Charlottesville Community Design Center, located on the Downtown Mall beneath the Market Street Parking Garage, offers exhibitions highlighting architecture and design for community development. Meanwhile, the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative continues to expand its innovative programming in its location just across the Belmont Bridge. Sponsoring artists and projects focused on building community, the organization delves into everything from offering poetry readings to helping immigrant high school students document their lives with digital cameras. Its popular Thursday film series offers the rare chance to see truly independent videos and movies.
Beyond Downtown, the hilltop Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection is a pacific (and Pacific) retreat in the middle of rapidly developing Pantops. It houses the largest indigenous Australian art collection outside of Australia. On another hilltop, Piedmont Virginia Community College, located off 20S, offers a slate of imaginative exhibitions in the North and South Galleries of the V. Earl Dickinson Building.     
Several annual events bring additional artiness to town. The Virginia Film Festival supplements its mainstream fare with a surprisingly rich range of experimental films, and Piedmont Virginia Community College has started celebrating the winter solstice with its annual “Let There Be Light” exhibition, a one-night outdoor extravaganza of artist-created light installations. In 2010, alas, Charlottesville will miss The Festival of the Photograph’s “three days of peace, love, and photography,” as the festival organizers take a breather to regroup.
Prefer to stay in your car?  You can still soak up C’ville’s art scene via the publicly funded ArtinPlace.org, which annually expands its drive-by art program, transforming the streets and byways of Charlottesville into an outdoor gallery.
Although the economy may have taken a bite out of the number of venues offering arty fare in Charlottesville, the town still offers a veritable visual feast!



University of Virginia Art Museum, 155 Rugby Road, near UVA- With as many as three shows at any one time, the former Bayly Art Museum mixes archival/holdings exhibits with smaller traveling presentations and modern art. Tu-Sun Noon-5pm. 924-3592

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, 400 Worrell Drive. The name pretty much says it: Charlottesville's own little outback for Aboriginal artwork. Free guided tour on Saturdays at 10:30am. Tu-Sat 10am-4pm / Sun 1-5pm. 244-0234 

Piedmont Virginia Community College Galleries--  During the academic year, the North and South Galleries of the V. Earl Dickinson Building serve up imaginative group exhibitions as well as showcases of noteworthy individual artists. Always worth the trip up the hill! 501 College Drive. When school is in session, open 7:30am-10pm Mon-Th. In the summer, Mon-Th 8am-6pm. 961-5381

The Second Street Gallery, Corner of Second and E. Water Sts.- With its move to the City Center for the Arts, SSG added the Dové Gallery, suitable for installations and video projects, to its main exhibition space. Cutting-edge contemporary art by regional, national, and international artists comes in monthly doses. Tu-Sat 11am-6pm. 977-7284

-->>For other museums in this area, see our Attractions section and our Kids Stuff section.

McGuffey Art Center, 201 Second St. NW- Located in the building that used to house McGuffey Elementary School, it has become the area's big playground for local artists. Over the last 30 years, the McGuffey has become a hive of artists' studios and fresh local work. It hosts the annual "Charlottesville in 2D" and local high school students' art shows (both not to be missed). Tu-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 1-5pm. 295-7973

Les Yeux du Monde, This gallery leans toward sophisticated single-artist shows, with an occasional group event. A favorite exhibit space for regional artists and UVA art faculty. They moved out of their previous downtown space, but continue to host exhibitions in temporary locations, so keep an eye on lesyeuxdumonde.com for new location and hours.

C&O Gallery, 515 E. Water St.- Tiny but classy gallery next to the tiny but classy restaurant. Showcases local artists. Available for private parties. All week 9am-10pm or by appointment. 971-7044

Art Upstairs, 112 W. Main St., York Place, Suite 4- Art Upstairs (though no longer upstairs) highlights the work of one of its more than 20 member artists each month. Wed-Sun Noon-5pm, Fridays Noon-9pm. 923-3900

Bozart, 211 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall- A collective and a retail space, Bozart splits the difference between local art and craftwork. Each month one of its 20 member artists is featured in an exhibit. Wed-Th 3-9pm, Fri-Sat noon-9pm, Sun 1-4pm. 296-3919

Charlottesville Community Design Center, 100 5th St. NE- A treasure on the Downtown Mall, the CCDC seeks to educate the public about architecture and structural design with exhibitions and public events. Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm. 984-2232

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road- In addition to spiritual duties, the TJMCUU (that's Unitarian Universalist), displays art with the artist's opening on the second Sunday of every month at 1pm. Any other day of the month, call ahead for a viewing appointment. 293-8179.

Campbell Hall Public Gallery, Rugby Road near UVA- The architecture school's tiny gem of a display space on the second floor of Campbell Hall. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, but unfortunately it's closed as the construction of an addition continues. 924-3715

Mudhouse, 213 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall- Students and other local artists find plenty of hang-space for work that resonates with the coffeeshop's eclectic crowd. Mon-Thurs 6:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 6:30am-11pm, Sun 7am-7pm. 984-6833

The New Dominion Book Shop, 404 E. Main St.- The Downtown Mall's classiest independent bookstore lends its landing to monthly exhibits, mostly oil paintings of the landscape/bucolic variety. Mon-Weds 9:30am-5:30pm, Thurs-Fri 9:30am-8pm, Sat 9:30am-5:30pm, Sun 1pm-5pm. 295-2552

Café Cubano, 211 W. Main St. on the Downtown Mall-  This coffeeshop/restaurant offers plenty of wallspace for local artists' exhibits. Sun-Wed 6:30am-5pm, Thurs-Sat 6:30am-7pm. 971-8743

C'ville Arts, 118 W. Main on the Downtown Mall- Also an artisans' cooperative featuring dozens of local artists, it frequently invites featured artists in for hands-on sessions. Mon-Th 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-8pm, and Sun Noon-6pm. 972-9500

C'ville Coffee, 1301 Harris St.- Yet another café where you can get your caffeine and visual fixes in one fell swoop. Features a small play area for kiddies. Community-oriented art changes monthly. Mon-Th 7:30am-9pm, Fri 7:30am-5pm, Sat 8:30am-5pm, Sun 9:30am-8pm. 817-2633

The Gallery @ 5th & Water, Fifth and Water Sts.- Actually the foyer of an architectural firm, this gallery nevertheless showcases local artists' work with a new show each month. 9am-5pm. 979-9825

Sage Moon Gallery, 212 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall- Despite moving from its own space to Siips Fine Wine and Champagne Bar, Sage Moon continues to hold monthly feature exhibitions for individual artists. Mon-Weds 11:30am-10pm, Thurs-Sat 11:30am-midnight, Sun 11am-9pm. 977-9997

UVA Ruffin Hall Galleries: 179 Culbreth Road-The newly constructed Ruffin Hall is the home to UVA's McIntire School of Art. The upper floor contains the "RuffStuff" Gallery while the third floor houses a formal gallery. Student art work is usually hung around the halls and classrooms are open with works-in-progress. Mon-Fri 8am-6pm. 924-6123

La Galeria, 218 W. Market St.- An eclectic gallery that showcases the most prolific of local artists. 11am-5:30pm Mon-Fri. 293-7003

Other miscellaneous venues- The following host sporadic shows that change unpredictably. Call first.

Angelo, 202 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall, 971-9256

Ben Around Tattoos, 701 W. Main St. 923-8282

Cassis, 201 W. Water St., 979-0188

Enoteca, 401 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall, 974-9463

Fellini's #9, 200 W. Market St. 979-4279

Ix Project, 955 Second St. SE, 296-9979

Keller and Williams, 300 Preston Ave., Suite 500, 220-2200

Martha Jefferson Hospital, 459 Locust Ave., 982-7000

Sidetracks Music, 218 Water St., 295-3080

South Street Brewery, 106 W South St., 293-6550


For art lovers, the place to be is First Fridays, held on-- you guessed it-- the first Friday of every month. Area galleries throw open their doors to all comers for a reception and refreshments.


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