The city of Charlottesville, and its surrounding Albemarle County, are known for many things, but its arts scene is something particularly special in the region.
From specific galleries to events to other avenues to see public art, there’s plenty in Charlottesville to explore, any time of the year. He’s a look at what’s in store. The Charlottesville CVB website offers more detailed information.
Unique boutiques and galleries
Artists in the Charlottesville area work in many mediums, including paint, glass, photography, collage, fiber and ceramics. Among the best-known are the C’ville Arts Cooperative Gallery, the Crozet Artisan Depot and the Barn Swallow. Each of these features the works of regional artists for display and sale.
At the C’Ville gallery, you can see everything from traditional paintings to eclectic funkier works, all produced by the more than 50 artists that are a part of this co-op. Many of the artists are also there to operate the store, and they definitely would love to swap art talk while there.
Another cooperative, McGuffey Art Center, is one of the oldest in the area. It includes three galleries, studios from more than 40 artists, and incubator space, especially for younger artists. It’s been open since 1975 and is in the former McGuffey Elementary School building.
There is also the James Monroe Highland Museum Shop, which is where you can find what they call “heirloom quality” crafts from regional artists.
Special events around the area
One of the largest events for artists actually takes place twice a year, in May and October. The Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival is a competition that more than 100 artists from around the US attend. It’s in the city of Crozet, which is about 15 miles from Charlottesville and is also home to many wineries and orchards.
Otherwise, there are pop-ups as well as freestanding markets that take place throughout the year. They feature not only the typical farmers market material but also jewelry, soap, toys, baskets and beauty products — all made by locals.
Locations for these markets include IX Art Park, Charlottesville City Market, and Scottsville, among others.
The pop-up markets are usually hosted by the Craft Cville organization. At most of these, the artists themselves are in person to talk about their creativity and to discuss what they do.
Create your own art
There are also plenty of places for the artist in you to shine. Among these locations is the Glass Palette, where you can create your own glass art in interactive classes and events. They also take groups for a truly fun day out.
Also in the area is The Hive, an art and craft bar; Arts from Underground; and Pikasso Swig DIY Craft Bar. All three of these places put a nightlight twist on the art scene, and you can take a retro-style project home with you after you and your friends create something special. Or, you can start it there and finish it up at home – there’s plenty of instruction on how to do just that!
Also available is the Plant Studio, where you can create a unique arrangement for plants with a truly artistic touch. Another place that specializes in pottery and ceramics is Lazy Daisy. This destination houses a creative space called the Pottery Paintin’ Place. There are activities for all ages there.
Living the artist life
It’s clear from just this sampling of what’s available in and around Charlottesville that the arts and crafts scene is as vital and vibrant as it’s ever been. It’s a year-round treat for the whole family, and it can bring something truly distinctive to your home — whether it’s something from one of our artists or something that you made yourself!