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A celebration through photography and community events of one of America's most interesting streets.
A celebration through photography and community events of one of America's most interesting streets.
61 backers pledged $4,006 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

What the money is for

Most art shows are financed by the sale of art, which should in theory cover the cost of the exhibition, profit for the gallery, and hopefully payment for the artist. The result is too often an art world that is sales-oriented and that caters to a small class of cognoscenti and a smaller group of collectors.

Since this is a community art project, we wanted to remove all barriers between art and the local people who are both the subject and the audience and money is perhaps the biggest one, so we took for-profit selling out of the picture and instead looked to the community (local and extended) itself for help.

By contributing to this campaign, you are supporting art that is in the community and for the community—all of it. We succeeded beyond our expectations and the project was widely acclaimed. Many or most participants had never seen themselves as participants in the arts before.

Monticello Road has never been about selling work—although the work is available on a pay-what-you-can basis, and every kickstarter contributor gets something as well. The show took place in a non-profit space and I came to peace some time ago with not getting paid, as have the many volunteers who contributed their time as well.

Still, even though we have been frugal and begged, bartered, and borrowed as much as possible it has been very costly and we are hoping to recover some—not all, mind you—of the costs.

Here are some specific direct costs the campaign will cover:

$664 for outreach including over 2500 postcards, distributed throughout the neighborhood and beyond, that are now hanging on fridges, cubicle walls, and under glass on coffee tables. I’ve been in many neighborhood living rooms and I’ve always seen them there.

$320 for food and refreshments at five public events, including a very lavish opening, all free of charge, open to the public and full of people who don’t usually go to galleries.

$875 for printing and preparing the exhibition itself. A very low price for such a comprehensive show

$370 for the work prints that were intermediate steps for the exhibition prints

$350 for the four public photo booths, at which every participant received a free print

$150 materials for various prints given away to subjects and those unable to pay

$320 (approx) admin cost of kickstarter campaign

$1000+ anticipated cost of rewards

That’s where I came up with the $4000 figure. You don’t notice a category in there for artist fee. If we exceed the $4K goal we will first pay our contributors (including my intern) and put the rest toward the next project, which looks like it will be even cooler.


More on that soon…

Time's Running Out

We're going to reach our goal (or I would not have set it in the first place) but it's going to take some serious work. Please spread the word and remind people that a large number of small donations is as valuable as a few big ones (or more so).

Even a small donation sends the message to potential backers (and grant committees) that the community is behind this project.

We've also added a new reward: Exhibition Prints from the recently-concluded show at the Bridge at the $100 level. Mounted and wired these 12x18 prints are wall-ready. Perfect for a budding art collector, neighborhood enthusiast, or someone who loved the show!

Thanks for your help so far!

Go see the show now.

The exhibition has been extended through Saturday, April 28 (12-3 pm) but that just leaves a few more days to see it.

Another good way is to stop by the artists' talk this Thursday night 7-9 at the Bridge.

What we've accomplished far

Asking my neighbors for help was the best thing I did. The opportunity to help one another turns out to be a gift in itself.

I set out to find an integrated role for an artist in a healthy community and I did so with very modest expectations that were simply blown away. I am amazed at what we have done as a community and what the project became. It succeeded far beyond my expectations.

Here are some of the things we accomplished together:

  • We got to know our neighbors. Strangers became familiar; familiar faces acquaintances; and acquaintances became friends.
  • Significantly many people who had never been to a gallery or seen themselves as participants in the arts came to the Bridge and did so again and again. This is a profound accomplishment.
  • We captured a library with thousands of images of people and places, creating a lasting record of a neighborhood in transition.
  • The community rallied around an exhibition of those familiar faces. An eighty page catalog preserves and expands on it like a community yearbook.
  • We gave away hundreds of prints from that library and thousands of postcards that now adorn fridges, window sills and cubicle walls.
  • We created this blog, with profiles celebrating the many of the wonderful people among us.
  • Preston and I staged four guerilla photo booths that engaged passers-by, with more to come.
  • We had a packed opening reception with locally donated beer, BBQ, nibbles and—most popularly—Spudnuts.
  • Speaking of Spudnuts, we screened a documentary that should be required viewing for all residents and we did it in a doughnut shop.
  • We toured an active and historic factory for the blind that plays a vital role in the community, yet is essentially hidden at the center of the neighborhood.
  • We convened a gathering of top community planners and learned much from them—and hopefully they learned a few things from the artists and residents in the room.
  • Three elementary school groups visited the show, with walking-tours past many of the sites where the images were captured.
  • An afternoon of rocking-chair storytelling brought long-timers and newer residents together to share reminiscences of how things were and how they have changed. Lulu recorded these oral histories so we can make them available to all.
  • A gathering of artists regrouped at the end of the exhibition to talk about our experiences and share new ways to animate our communities.
  • We attracted outrageously much media attention—more than I could keep track of. They were interested because positive stories about neighbors coming together inspire their listeners, viewers and readers.
  • We nudged several sidelined artists back into the game. I won’t name them publicly but that’s one of the bits of which I’m most proud.
  • You all inspired me and gave my own career quite a jolt.

Just reading this list is exhausting but as the exhibition draws to a close I feel exhilarated—the opposite of the usual let-down feeling. As I look toward the next project (still secret!), I know that this one is not over and never will be.


  • We will make available the oral histories as transcribed text and/or audio files on the web. 
  • We plan to create an audio itinerary, similar to what you find in museums. More on that soon.
  • We will make available the highlights of the image archive. Many of them are already here.
  • We will keep taking pictures, sharing our gifts with one another and keep getting to know our neighbors even better.

In the meantime, I say a big, hearty thank you to the many who have supported Monticello Road in so many ways. I could not be happier to share a community with you and to be your neighbor.

Media Attention

Rachel Ryan from NewsPlex stopped by the Spudnuts Photo Booth.

We've received some really wonderful attention from the local media. The reason is really quite simple.

This is a project that brings folks together and that is what people need right now. This stuff is not about me--it is about the community, what it can do and what it can be when we celebrate each other as we should.

Here are some highlights so far:

'Monticello Road' exhibit explores neighborhood (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

The Spark (WMRA--audio)

WVTF (National Public Radio--Audio)

Newsplex  (ABC/CBS/Fox): Photo Booth

Newsplex: Covered Opening

Newsplex: Storysharing


NBC29: Covered Opening

NBC29: Previewed Planning Panel

NBC29: Previewed Story Sharing

Charlottesville Tomorrow: Community Planning Discussion

Artist Talk at the Bridge PAI (Piedmont Council of the Arts Blog)

Story Sharing at the Bridge (Piedmont Council of the Arts Blog)

Blurbs and quick hits:

The Hook (Featured Show)

C-Ville Weekly


Earless Rabbit documentary

Hopefully more to come!