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All about town. FALL 2021





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“Changing the locks” is not difficult or expensive. Most knobs and deadbolts can be quickly and easily re-keyed by our trained professionals! Call us for all your security needs! Sponsor of UVA Sports “Lock It Down!” 434  3

Connecting Charlottesville Ting Internet. Fast, reliable fiber internet for Cville.

We provide fast, reliable fiber internet access to Charlottesville homes and businesses. More than that though, we work in the community to bring benefits far beyond just the fastest, most reliable internet access around. We provide free fiber-backed Wi-Fi at Scott Stadium, in the Ting Pavilion, in the downtown library, at The Paramount Theater and other important community spots across Cville.

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» 200+ Overland travel classes, roundtables & activities

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434  5 Photos by Camden Littleton


Table of Contents

Metro 13 13 Charge up

An upcoming gem show for the crystal-obsessed.

13 Keep going

The Festy has a few more acts on its lineup.

14 Sound on

Stone Fox’s singing bowls say, “Relax!”

14 #winning

The Win Candle achieves TikTok fame.

15 Page-turners

@_bookstasam gives her fave fall reads.

19 Must go on

Darryl Nelson Smith’s path to the stage.

22 New discovery

A Highland dig uncovers new truths.

25 Drips and drabs

Civil Water is rethinking H2O.

27 Shred local

A new skate-gear shop— for everyone.


Front & Center 19

Feature 34 When Carrie Waller started Dream Green DIY a decade ago, chronicling the redesign of her now-husband’s bachelor pad, she didn’t imagine it would amount to more than a hobby. Ten years later, she’s been featured in Domino and on Apartment Therapy for her pictureperfect 1962 ranch house and the DIY projects completed within.

29 We see you

Visible Records’ art for all.


@cvillefashion’s seasonal snaps.

FOR A GOOD DAY, CALL... Buck Smith. Page 46 On the cover: Carrie Waller’s living the mid-mod dream. Photo: Stephen Barling

434, a supplement to C-VILLE Weekly, is distributed in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the Shenandoah Valley. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. 434 Editor Caite Hamilton. Copy Editor Susan Sorensen.

308 E. Main St. Charlottesville, VA 22902 (434) 817-2749 n

Designer Tracy Federico.

Art Director Max March. Graphic

Account Executives Chloe Heimer, Lisa C. Hurdle, Gabby Kirk, Stephanie Vogtman,

Beth Wood. Production Coordinator Faith Gibson.

Publisher Anna Harrison. Chief Financial Officer

Debbie Miller. A/R Specialist Nanci Winter. Circulation Manager Billy Dempsey. ©2021 C-VILLE Weekly. 434  7

OCT 9, 10



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Thibaut-Janisson was born from a long friendship that began in a Grand Cru village in the Champagne region of France and continues today in Blue Ridge Mountains of Charlottesville, Virginia. Thibaut-Janisson Winery | Charlottesville, Virginia | (434) 996-3307 |


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With a completely reimagined atmosphere, The Spa at Boar’s Head Resort is the perfect pairing of an elegant ambience and serenity of natural surroundings. Thoughtfully crafted indulgent services pamper the body and heal the soul. Visit our website for all-new menu items and to book online. www. | (434) 972-2253

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What a GEM (show) CHARGE YOUR CRYSTALS: The Minerals & Mystics Rocktober Rock and Gem Show is on the calendar for October 1-3. Don’t have crystals? You’ll be able to find some here— along with Reiki-infused, crystal-energized bath and beauty products, artisan jewelry, and even handmade wands.


IT’S NOT TOO late to get your hands on tickets for the remainder of The Festy. The fall concert series is buzzing at Chisholm Vineyards with Lord Nelson, Hacksaw Boys, and SGGL. Pack chairs and a blanket and set up in the meadow.



Lord Nelson

434  13



Sounds GOOD EVER HEARD OF singing bowls? Neither had we, until Stone Fox Beauty Project started offering the custom as part of its Crystal Healing Skin Ritual. A 3,000-year-old Buddhist practice, singing bowls promote peace, calmness, and deep relaxation. Visit for more info.


For The WIN

14  434


Apple Cider Doughnuts, Fall Leaves, Pumpkin Spice Latte—this isn't scratch-and-sniff, but Matthew Winston's seasonal scents have us ready for fall.

MAT THEW WINSTON WAS thisclose to shutting down the candle-making business he’d recently started. The VCU grad had a degree in creative advertising, but couldn’t picture himself settling into a 9-5 job, so he turned his hobby into a business: The Win Candle. Hoping to drum up some extra attention (“I would get a few orders here and there, but it just wasn’t enough,” he says), he turned to Tik Tok. “I posted a video about my parents offering to buy me more inventory and how I wasn’t getting any sales or visitors on my website,” Winston says. “Not even an hour later I went viral.” From that video, more than 300 customers bought up the rest of his inventory. Winston himself designs the labels, concocts the scents, and makes the candles—which have unique wooden wicks for a slower burn and wider fragrance throw—from his home with 100 percent virgin coconut soy. The Bonfire scent, with notes of spice, velvet woods, sugared vanilla bean, musk, and golden amber, is a bestseller (and his personal favorite). “It’s the perfect cozy candle,” he says. Bonus: The wooden wicks create a soft crackling sound similar to a fireplace.—CH


producing the famously cursed Macbeth, but Miranda manages to secure a major donation from three mysterious benefactors to bring her dream production to life. All’s Well is a very weird but very engaging work of literary fiction chock full of Shakespearean references, black magic, and revenge.

Reading LIST LIKE MANY PEOPLE, Samantha Koon Jones found herself with a lot of time on her hands at the start of the pandemic. So she turned to reading. “I knew a couple of people on Bookstagram—a subgroup of Instagram users who post primarily about books and reading—and I liked the idea of keeping a virtual reading journal,” says Jones, who can be found @_bookstasam. “It’s all impossibly nerdy, but it’s also really, really fun.” We asked her to help stock our bookshelf for fall.

Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan C. Slaght

My Heart is a Chain Saw by Stephen Graham Jones

Seventeen-year-old Jade, a horror junkie and social outcast, is uniquely positioned to recognize when a series of murders in her small Idaho town start to mirror the opening scenes of one of her beloved slasher flicks. Stephen Graham Jones’ latest novel is a love letter to horror movies, a tongue-in-cheek homage that picks horror tropes apart and reassembles them as something totally new and socially relevant. Through the chaotic lens of gory slasher movies, Jones is able to direct our attention to the real-life horrors of colonialism, gentrification, and Indigenous displacement.

essays span the breadth of Thomas’ life, touching on everything from a summer spent shelving books at his school library to the awkward Thanksgiving dinner at which he introduced his white now-husband, a Presbyterian minister, to his extended family. Thomas touches on racism, homophobia, writing, and self-love all with his signature comedic flavor and wealth of pop culture

nonfiction, white male author

references. (Thomas also performs the

Wildlife biologist Jonathan C. Slaght has devoted his career to the conservation of the elusive Blakiston’s Fish Owl, the world’s largest species of owl boasting a six-foot wingspan and native to Eastern Russia. His book, Owls of

audiobook, and it is outstanding.)

the Eastern Ice, is a fascinating blend of science and memoir. It will pique your interest in both the endangered owls at the heart of Slaght’s work and the remote forest in which they life.

horror, literary fiction, Indigenous author

perfectly balances humor with heart. The

Here for It, Or How to Save Your Soul in America: Essays by R. Eric Thomas memoir, humor, essays, gay Black author R. Eric Thomas’ memoir-in-essays is laugh-outloud funny, a coming-of-age story that

The Secret Life of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw short stories, literary fiction, Black female author The Secret Life of Church Ladies is a collection of nine short stories, all centered on Black women and their connection to the church, each in some way addressing the conflict between the protagonists’ wants and needs with the expectations of their faith. From sleeping with the preacher to caring for a difficult parent suffering from memory loss, Philyaw covers a lot of ground and reminds us that there really is no drama like church drama.

The Arsonists’ City by Hala Alyan literary fiction, Palestinian-American author I’m a seasonal reader, and cozy fall weather has me reaching for a complex family drama to sink my teeth into. The Nasr family, spread out across the U.S. and Middle East for years, reconvenes one last time in Beirut when the patriarch decides to sell the family home. The Arsonists’ City is an intensely personal, timely novel whose strength lies in exceptional relationship-building and characters that are complex and beautifully flawed. All’s Well by Mona Awad

What’s a fall reading list without a little dark academia? Miranda is a chronically ill theater professor hell-bent on putting on a production of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. The other stakeholders are more interested in


literary fiction, dark academia, speculative fiction, female author

434  15

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FRONT & CENTER Accidental ACTOR Community theater fixture Darryl Nelson Smith talks Live Arts and reluctant performances By Shea Gibbs



434  19

Art Classes Art Classes with Lee Alter

Northfield Manor

with Lee Alter

Adult1/6-3/2 Classes and6-9 Teens: Adults: mon Mondays 10:30 - 1:30 9/20 - 12/13 6-9 pm 9/22 - 12/15 WedWednesdays 1/8-3/4 10-1 Children: tues 1/7-3/3 3:30-5:30 Fall Classes for Children: Thurs 1/9-3/5 or sat Tuesdays 3:303:30-5:30 - 5:30 9/21 - 12/14 Thursdays 3:30 -call 5:30 9/23 - 12/16 2-4pm 1/11-3/7 760-9658 Saturdays 2 - 4 9/25 - 12/18

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Located in Northfields subdivision this is an Entertainers Dream! The main home features 10 Bedrooms and 9 Full Baths; The Carriage House over garage features 3 Bedrooms and 2.5 Baths; 2 Large Vehicle Bays & Private Gym. Includes a second buildable Lot in rear w/access from Old Brook Rd. Build a pool house, guest house; or divide the parcel. LESS Than 5 miles to: UVA Hospital; Downtown Cville; JPJ Arena. CHO Airport 6 miles. DC 2 hours & Richmond 1 hour. MLS# 621112, $3,200,000

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Italian Lessons for Adults and Children of All Ages Learn Italian or improve your knowledge of Italian with customized one-on-one lessons. In person or online. Sign-up for Group Lessons aimed at developing confidence in speaking Italian.



New Classes Starting in January 2022

The Buy and SellCville Team Seller’s Guide shows you THE MOST IMPORTANT aspectsof a successful sale & the #1 thing you should NEVER Buy and Sell Cville Tea do when selling!


10-week Courses for Adults: Basic Italian Conversation Intermediate Italian Conversation Intensive Grammar Review


10-week Courses for Children: Basic Italian for Ages 7-9. First course in a series designed to introduce kids to the Italian language, culture, and geography.

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Basic Italian for Ages 10-12. First course in a series designed to introduce kids to the Italian language, culture, and geography.

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Front & Center

Live Arts being a volunteer organization, someone was eventually like, “hey, by the way, we need a person and think you should audition.” I’d be like, “you’re crazy—I am not an actor.” But then after going out for a couple of beers, I’d be in. What’s the last year been like for Live Arts? We reinvented the wheel and did online shows—but you don’t get that immediate feedback you get with live audiences. We’ve also been doing dance parties to reach out and let people know we are here. It’s just kind of been like, “how can we engage the community?”


What’s the year been like for you personally? After our doors had been closed for a year and a half, I honestly started to wonder if I could do it again. But I recently had a chance to go to New York and work with a former director of mine and run his box office. I got to do what I love, and I thought, “I can do this again.” I love the interaction with the public—that excitement of people coming to a show. It’s so magical.



arryl Nelson Smith had never been in a play when he uprooted his Richmond life for an office gig supporting the Charlottesville theater community. He figured he’d take the job with Live Arts for a few years. Twenty years later, Smith is a pillar in local theater—on and off stage. 434: So what’s your ROLE at Live Arts? Lol. Darryl Nelson Smith: I’m the box office manager, but I feel like I’m more like the face of Live Arts. I help with development and marketing and fundraising. I get to throw fun parties and do a lot of the community outreach. I can’t wait to have people back in the building. And, since we’re a 100 percent volunteer organization, I have been onstage in a couple of Live Arts shows. If you’ve only recently been in productions, what brought you to Live Arts in the first place?

A co-worker in Richmond was coming to do shows at Live Arts many years ago. I came to see one and fell in love. Then she took a marketing position here. One day, I got a phone call from her—”this might be weird, but we are looking for a box office manager.” Four or five months later, I packed up my suitcase and a moving truck. What is it about theater you love? The cool thing about theater is it is always growing and changing. At Live Arts, we do six or seven productions per year, and there’s great excitement around opening night. But then after four weeks of doing the same show, you’re a little tired of it. Then, there’s all of a sudden a new show and group of people to engage with. How were you convinced to finally perform yourself? I went to school for communications and advertising, and in Richmond I worked at museums mostly. But with

What’s been one of your favorite moments as Live Arts box office director? The last show before the pandemic was Men on Boats, which is an all female cast playing men characters. We ran for two weeks before the pandemic and kind of knew this was a big thing. For the last show, the audience just really wanted to be there and came to support us, and I think the actors felt the love. It was their last show, and they gave it their all. What’s next for you and Live Arts? I’m going to be here as long as they want me. But you never know. My life goal is to end up in a cabin in Canada somewhere. Our first show this season is a oneman show, but we have three different actors available each night just in case. If someone gets sick, we have another actor who can go on. You can come three times and it might be different every time. We also have a big ol’ musical coming next summer. And I always say I won’t be onstage, but you never know. I say no, then I’m up there singing and dancing. 434  21

Front & Center

Archaeological research at Highland sheds new light on people who lived and worked there By Carol Diggs


ow do you lose a president’s house?” That was High­ land Executive Director Sara BonHarper’s reaction when a 2016 archae­ ological dig conducted at James Mon­ roe’s plantation turned up a discovery that completely reinterpreted the site. The research uncovered part of the foundation of Monroe’s original 1799 home, under the front yard of the ex­ isting Victorian-era Massey House. Highland’s largest Monroe-era stand­ ing structure, once thought to be a wing of the original home, had in fact been a free-standing guest house, one that Monroe had described in an 1818 letter to his son-in-law. Monroe, the country’s fifth president, lived at Highland from 1799 to 1823, along with his family and a large number of enslaved workers. The property is now owned by William & Mary, Mon­ roe’s alma mater, and is open to the public as a museum. The 2016 dig re­ shaped the public history work that’s taking place there, and this summer, another round of archaeological work has expanded what’s known about Mon­ roe’s home and the people who lived and worked there. In 2020, Bon-Harper—an archaeol­ ogist by training—secured a $24,000 grant from the Archaeological Institute of America and the National Endow­ ment of the Humanities to continue the excavation of Monroe’s original home. That grant covered the cost of several William & Mary graduate stu­ dents and a couple of employees. With some additional volunteers, Bon-Harp­ er and her team spent the month of June excavating several sections of the home’s foundation—often while High­ land visitors looked on. 22  434

Getting their hands dirty This year’s excavation focused on four investigation areas. The findings provide a fascinating picture of the old house, but also of the value, possibilities, and frustrations of archaeological research. One of the archaeologists’ goals was figuring out which side of the house had been the front—nailing that down would help to develop the home’s layout as well as map possible exterior features, like a front porch or entrance drive. Archae­ ologists do know where the chimney stood, and the 2016 research revealed the outline of a large room north of the base of the chimney, suggesting that was the front of the house. This summer, in trying to confirm that hypothesis, the team found something much more interesting: a huge amount of fire damage. Wall and plaster debris had fallen and fused, signs of a confla­ gration so intense that one side of the structure had collapsed. While historical documents speak of a fire at Highland after Monroe sold the property, this dis­ covery illustrates a catastrophic event— which may help answer Bon-Harper’s question about how the president’s house was “lost.” The archaeologists also sought to map the original home’s eastern side. Exca­ vation found no evidence of extensions or additions to the house along that side—“and we didn’t find any interesting trash sites,” Bon-Harper notes regret­ fully. Garbage pits and trash piles are gold for archaeologists; what residents of the time throw out reveals a great deal about what they did, made, used, and ate. But the team was able to confirm the structure’s eastern boundary. Additionally, the archaeologists want­ ed to figure out the subterranean struc­ ture of the original home. Did the cellar on the south end of the house connect to the “part-stone” cellar on the north end mentioned in historical documents? In­ stead of cellars, however, the excavation team ran across trenches made later, by people scavenging stone from the foun­ dation, and had to document those fea­ tures. In archaeology, as in any scientific discipline, “You have to be open to the ‘something else’,” Bon-Harper says. “We may not find the answer to our question, but we will find interesting information.”


Digging DOWN

Insurance documents show the original home’s kitchen was not a separate build­ ing but was attached to the main house, unlike most kitchens in this period. The team hoped further excavation could shed light on the life of Hannah, the Mon­ roes’ enslaved cook. The team found the usual artifacts from kitchen operations— glass, ceramics, and bone—and they also found a deep disturbed area that might indicate a below-grade entrance to the kitchen wing, or might be a later intrusion

from the construction of the Massey House in the 1870s. Getting more specific, though, will have to wait for a future round of archaeology.

Filling in the gaps Now that this excavation phase is completed, the holes have been filled back in, a necessary precaution to preserve the evidence still in situ. For a deeper analysis of the artifacts found this summer,

Highland is partnering with the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery, a grant-supported program that is part of Monticello’s archaeology department, to coordinate the findings with many institutions researching the slave-based societies in the mid-Atlantic, Carolinas, and Caribbean. In the meantime, Highland’s next project is already under way: completely revamping the presentation of Monroe’s guest house. During July and August,

This summer, an archaeological dig revealed new insights about Highland, the historic home of President James Monroe.

visitors can take outdoor guided history tours, explore the grounds and gardens, and walk the seven miles of trails. But the building is closed while the staff, with input from Highland’s Council of Descendant Advisors, develops new exhibits to reflect a fuller understanding of the site and the people who lived there. The guest house’s new installation will feature two refurbished period rooms, using furnishings and personal articles from Highland’s collection. Three new exhibit rooms will focus on the building’s history and the techniques, including dendrochronology (tree-ring dating), used to confirm its identification; the archaeological findings about the original 1799 home; and Monroe’s career and his world, including those who lived at his plantation. (Highland also offers a behind-the-scenes tour that allows guests to see the exhibit installation in progress. Visitors can reserve a spot online.) “We who do public history are charged with looking at historical figures and putting [their lives] in context,” Bon-Harper says. “This new understanding of the site is a really big thing—I hope people come ready to explore and expand their understanding of our history.” Matthew Gibson, executive director of Virginia Humanities, an NEH affiliate that has funded research work at the site in the past, credits Highland’s efforts to investigate both the historical record and the physical evidence—“trying to fill the gaps in the story, finding out what they can say” and telling “a multi-vocal history.” Bon-Harper hopes to have the revamped guest house open to the public by summer’s end. The exhibits will be self-guided, so visitors can proceed at their own pace and feel COVID safe, but Highland’s trained guides will be available throughout to answer questions. Guided walks, public events, and trail access will continue as usual. And Highland has big plans for the future. The organization hopes to conduct annual excavations, install interactive exhibits, and continue re-examining Monroe, his plantation, and the men and women who lived and worked there. “This process of research and discovery is essential to Highland as a historic site— it helps us find new answers and new narratives,” says Bon-Harper. “And ‘now’ is always an important time to find out more about the past.” 434  23

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Front & Center

What’s so CIVIL about WATER anyway?

“What makes Civil Water unique is a lot of people are really connected to the fact that we are local,” Kelley says. “And, only a few of the other aluminum bottled water companies are actually spring water.” By any measure, aluminum is way more recyclable than plastic. Regulators and the packaged water industry have taken notice. Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order on March 23 requiring executive branch state agencies to stop trafficking in single-use plastic water bottles, as well as disposable plastic bags, plastic, and polystyrene food containers, and plastic straws and cutlery. The gov gave necessary medical, public health, and public safety plastics some exemptions, but the agencies must phase out all non-medical, single-use plastic and polystyrene by 2025. “About 9 percent of plastics that get recycled actually get repurposed,” Kelley says. “Aluminum is of course the number one most recycled material.” Kelley’s right, but it does take some effort to move aluminum down the recycling stream and get it back on shelves. She suggests taking your empty bottles directly to a recycling center, rather than throwing it in your single-stream bin. You have to be “religious about physically taking your items,” she says. So what’s next for the self-funded, two-employee Civil Water? Kelley and co-founder Neil Wood are confident they can grow with demand—they contract with a third party to bottle their water, which they say is direct from an Appalachian Mountain source, and have plenty of capacity. They’re now looking for funding to expand, Wood says. “We want to be able to hit the huge retail chain stores to become accessible for everyone around the country,” Wood says. “And then from there, we will offer some smaller options for packaging.” And what about those bubbles and flavors? “We actually haven’t thought about that,” Wood says. “There is a market for it. But we don’t drink it.”

Local Black-owned business looks to make a splash in H2O By Shea Gibbs


t makes up around 60 percent of the human body. It covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. And it makes up 100 percent of local Black-owned business Civil Water’s product portfolio. Good old-fashioned water—in bottles. No bubbles, no flavors, no harmful chemicals, no healthy minerals removed. So what’s the big deal then? Barely 6-month-old Civil Water sells its liquid to wholesalers or direct-to-consumer only in aluminum bottles. The 12-ounce vessels are available online—and by subscription service—in 24-packs for $43.99. “We’re in five states on the East Coast,” said Faith Kelley, one of two justover-20-year-old founders running Civil Water out of a Charlottesville office. “As far as being in large chain stores nationwide, that’s more difficult. Our timeline is about a year or two.” It’s tough to figure out how well Civil Water is doing relative to its competitors and the overall market, as data on packaged water material are scarce. But anecdotally, boxed and metaled water firms keep pouring out. Liquid Death, JUST Water, Open Water, Proud Source. Along with C’ville’s own, they’re all looking to irrigate a portion of the market.

Where to find it Belle








& Jerry’s Feast!

Fralin Museum of Art, UVA Spring Beach Club Great Valu/Crozet Market

& Co. Monroe’s Highland Kindness Cafe + Play


Street Market Auto Service




Natural Foods Gelato The Pie Chest


Boutique Alumni Hall McIntire School of Commerce 434  25



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waterbirdspirits ·

Front & Center

On DECK New skater-gear shop makes it easier to shred locally By Julia Stumbaugh



n December 2020, a group of local youth took their case to a virtual City Council meeting. The goal: Keep the Charlottesville Skate Park open. The city had issued a release earlier that month warning that the park could be shut down if mask-wearing and social distancing regulations weren’t followed. In response to this threat, area skaters shared impassioned testimonials with councilors about the park’s benefits to both their physical and mental health, showing the strength of the city’s ever-growing skating community. For further proof of this group’s impact on Charlottesville, head over to McIntire Plaza and High Tor Gear Exchange, where co-owner Erin James has partnered with Jeneene Chatowsky to bring new skate gear to the local market. Chatowsky’s Charlottesville Skate Shop is a pop-up shop located inside High Tor, which opened in 2018 thanks to assistance from Charlottesville’s Community Investment Collaborative and is one of what James estimates to be fewer than 30 secondhand outdoor gear exchange shops in the country. When Chatowsky saw James’ and her husband/ co-owner Seth Herman’s dedication to lowering the cost barrier to outdoor activities, she knew she had found the perfect fit for opening up a friendly and accessible skate shop. “The beauty of skateboarding is that you can do it everywhere, anywhere, and you don’t need a lot of money to do it,” says Chatowsky. “The problem is a lot of these kids can’t get to the skate park, don’t have access to skateboards, don’t know how to do it, and don’t have people around them who can help them.” Chatowsky plans to take the next step in growing the Charlottesville skate community by collaborating with area organizations and businesses for support in getting new boards into marginalized communities and set up skating clinics for newbies outside the park.

“The Charlottesville skate community, and specifically the skate park, is very family-oriented,” says James. “Parents are hanging out there, kids are hanging out there with siblings. It’s a spot for people to converge and make new friends.” The skate shop is for everyone, especially young girls, say James and Chatowsky, who are both mothers with full-time jobs. They hope the opening of the new store will help more girls fall in love with what was once a male-dominated sport.

Jeneene Chatowsky collaborated with Erin James to launch her Char­lottesville Skate Shop inside James’ High Tor Gear Exchange in McIntire Plaza.

“We were the outliers in skateboarding for many years, and now to see all the girls at the park, it’s just so inspiring,” says Chatowsky. “For me, skateboarding has done so much for my life personally. It’s taught me how to be resilient, it’s taught me to overcome obstacles, it’s taught me to have goals and achieve them. Those are the things that I am hoping that I can bring or share with the community, because it’s changed my life drastically.” 434  27




Front & Center

Patron of the ARTISTS Visible Records gives marginalized creatives more than just exposure By Shea Gibbs



he folks at Visible Records want to lift artists up. To do so, they’ve had to slow things down. The newish art studio/ gallery concept, backed by The Bridge/ Progressive Arts Initiative and located in the former office space at 1740 Broadway St., opened last November. But the artist-run consortium, which highlights minority and low-income producers, still finds itself carefully navigating COVID-19 concerns. Organizers say they aren’t as far along in their mission as they might’ve expected at this point. Visible Records’ studio portion—23 distinct spaces from 130 to 312 square feet in size—is less than two thirds full. And the gallery side saw its first exhibition open on August 6, nearly nine months after Visible Records’ first tenants took up studio space. “We’ve had no other option than to move really slowly,” says Kendall King, who heads studio operations. But the slow pace has almost certainly been a blessing, King says. Building a community around the right artists takes time. One of the firsts to use a Visible Records studio herself, King says the space has been invaluable in her own production of large-scale prints. She thinks other artists will benefit similarly—not only from the dedicated studios but also from the available common area, where they can collaborate and be inspired by others. “We give artists time and space to take stock of where their career is going.” Getting into the studio is the first step, and Visible Records’ vetting process for new tenants is deliberate. Because the studio’s intention is to lift up marginalized artists, space is available by application only and has no set price. The community selects artists for inclusion

based on fit—whether it be in terms of mission, medium, or demographic. “We go through a process—everyone who applies that we also want to have as part of the community, we ask them what they can afford without impacting them negatively,” King says. “It might look like someone who helps doing work around the space. Or it might look like us raising money to help them.” Fundraising has gone well, King says, largely because of Visible Records’ association with the established nonprofit Bridge/PAI. King doesn’t believe the consortium will be limited by money as it selects artists for inclusion in the near future. King operates the studio space alongside another local artist-in-residence, Morgan Aschom, who acts as manager of the larger warehouse housing Visible Records. The multi-use space was converted after its former tenant, data management company Data Visible, closed in 2014. What remains is 55,000 square

Visible Records' first exhibit, Tiahue Tocha, featured work by artists such as Ateri Miyawatl, Lydia Moyer, and Karina Monroy, whose mixed media installation included a pink pickup truck with a bed of flowers.

feet now encompassing Decipher Brewing, Grow Coral Reefs, Patois Cider, Metal Inc., A2D Appliance Sales, Dreadhead, The Freeman Artist Residency, recording studios, and other small businesses, in addition to Visible Records. A separate team of local and regional arts industry insiders direct Visible Records’ gallery side, King says. The space’s first exhibit, which closed September 14, is Tiahue Tocha, featuring art by the Colectivo Rasquache. The artists have been unable to return to their home in San Francisco Coapan, a community in the volcanic region of the State of Puebla in Mexico, due to the pandemic. “It’s just been going great—people are coming to see it,” King says. “The Rasquache collective is entirely aligned with our community. Every day when I come to [the gallery], I am moved and provoked thoughtfully by it again. There is such a range of mediums and contributions to it, but you can tell when you are in the space that these artists have the same energy and intent.” Beyond its first exhibition, Visible Records has a full schedule lined up for the remainder of the year. Next up is the Freeman Artist Residency, running September 25 to October 30. Established by University of Virginia Professor Neal Rock, the residency program intends to lift up Black artists who are first-generation college graduates. A solo exhibition featuring Fidencio Fifield-Perez will follow, from November 4 to December 11. Fifield-Perez lends his perspective as a native of Oaxaca, Mexico, to the debate over borders, edges, and the people passing them. Closing out the year and moving into 2022 will be a group exhibition of the current Visible Records studio tenants. The exhibit will open December 17. With gallery operations scheduled for the foreseeable future, Visible Records can now continue the slow process of finding and vetting possible tenant artists. One remaining hurdle, King says, is that outsider artists often don’t know what’s available to them. “We’ve subsidized, partially or fully, at least five artists here,” King says. “And we’ve always had at least a third of our artists partially or fully subsidized. I would urge people—if this is how you want to make your mark on the community—we are the place.” 434  29

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Front & Center @cvillefashion

CHARLOTTESVILLE street style Kyra Elizabeth TRAASETH (they/them) AGE: 23

OCCUPATION: Freelance photographer, clothing crocheter, barista

THE LOOK: Shirt and pants thrifted from Depop, earrings by @zipnzap.crafts on instagram, Doc Martens boots, sweater made by Kyra (@emonbalm_creations)

“I’ve always liked playing with my own gender expression and what others expect from my presentation of gender at the time, but over the last five years I really dove into my own queer identity and found comfort in color. In this outfit there are a couple of important elements that make it special to me: My plain white T-shirt and binder give me a sense of gender euphoria when I mix it with more traditionally ‘feminine’ items, such as my colorful pants and heart pronoun earrings. My pronoun earrings also mean a lot to me, as they, firstly, have my pronouns (they/them) on them and, secondly, were gifted to me by my partner when I first came out. I made the sweater that I’m wearing. It was first inspired by Harry Styles’ JW Anderson sweater. How he pushes the gender binary and fashion expectations has always inspired me.”

Jalon DANIELS (he/him) AGE: 22

OCCUPATION: Technical Program Manager at PayPal

THE LOOK: Sweater from ASOS

“I believe my outfit shows that men can enjoy and be seduced by flowers without feeling their masculinity has been ‘jeopardized.’ I attempt to challenge superfluous notions of masculinity and gender expression through fashion that is sleek and subtle.” Charlottesville Street Style is a collaboration between 434 and Playground of Empathy, a local team that transforms organizational cultures to be more inclusive through immersive POV technology that celebrates expression through clothing and identity. Follow them @cvillefashion on Instagram.

Jacob MASON (they/them) AGE: 25

THE LOOK: Overalls from Duluth Trading Company, work shoes from Ross, hand-me-down J.Crew T-shirt, Costco glasses

“The overalls are the most gender-affirming piece of clothing I own. I bought them off Instagram mid-pandemic when the algorithm knew me well. They are very comfortable, utilitarian, and cute, which is I hope how they are perceived.” 434  31

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What’s it like to be a lifestyle blogger? Carrie Waller has a decade under her toolbelt


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D on’t call Carrie Waller an influencer. Even though the home blogger has upwards of 55k Instagram followers (@ dreamgreendiy), she has a different take. “I don’t love that term,” she says. “It has become kind of the standard for people in my industry, but I feel like it makes us sound very cold. I want people to be inspired by my work, not so much influenced.” Her home—a 1960s ranch in Waynesboro, where she lives with her husband and three cats—plays a big role in that. It serves as the backdrop for all of her DIY projects, from building a platform deck to making an air-dry clay diffuser, and eye candy for her interiors-obsessed followers. The blogger’s mid-century aesthetic is obviously on-trend, but Waller puts

her own spin on things, incorporating décor from other eras and, of course, her own handmade work. We asked her to tell us a little more about the solo-preneur life, a DIY fail, and—don’t worry— where she finds all the enviable pieces she puts in her home. 434: Tell me a little about your background and how it led you to start Dream Green DIY. Carrie Waller: I’ve always been a hugely creative person. I remember I used to beg my mom to let me rearrange and redecorate my childhood bedroom every few months, and I still have that instinct now. I double-majored in studio art and art history in college, but ultimately felt disenchanted and beat down by the museum world when I tried to jump-start a career for myself in D.C. post-graduation. So, I moved home, and started completely over, getting a generic office job to pay the bills. It felt like rock-bottom, but it was during those years that I reconnected with my now-husband (we were friends in high school years ago), and I decided to start a blog to document the redesign of his bachelor pad.

Explain the name Dream Green DIY. There was this one house in our neighborhood growing up that I absolutely adored. It was a big beautiful green Craftsman-style home, and I loved everything about it. As a teenager, I started calling it my “Dream Green.” It became this ideal version of the perfect house for me, so when it came time to pick a name for my blog, I went with my first thought, and it was, of course, about my “Dream Green.” I knew the content for my site was going to be all about DIY and building a home from scratch on your own, so it felt like the perfect title for my brand. I often worry that it doesn’t make much sense to people, but it means the world to me. Describe your house for me—what it looks like and what you love about it. When my husband and I got married, we settled into his bachelor pad, which was a small townhome in Lynchburg. It was a great space, but when it came time for us to find something new, we decided to really lean into our shared passion for mid-century design. We relocated to C O N TIN U E D O N PA GE 38

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Waynesboro, Virginia, in 2015, and ultimately found the perfect 1960s gem to love. Only one other family had lived here since they built it in 1962, and it had been immaculately kept up. We are absolutely dedicated to retaining the mid-century charm of our 1,900-squarefoot home. I love to plan room makeovers with the previous family who lived here always in the back of my mind. Would they appreciate the little changes we’ve made? Have we respected the original retro aesthetic? If I can answer “yes” to those questions, I know I’m on the right track. How has your style evolved over time? My interest in mid-century decor is something that is entirely my own, at least where my parents and little sister are concerned. No one else in my family has ever really incorporated that type of aesthetic into their spaces, so it feels unique to me (although, of course, it’s definitely not unique to me in the larger scheme of things since it’s a pretty trendy decor style right now!). I 38  434

wasn’t always a mid-century enthusiast, though. My style growing up as a teenager, and later through college, was extremely colorful and handmade. I decorated very eclectic spaces filled with DIY art projects, mixed patterns, and hand-me-down furniture. It was a great time to experiment, and I’ve held onto that love for eclectic decor, but now it feels a lot more focused and probably a lot more mature. What’s the process like for bringing new things into a home you share with your husband? Thank goodness for my husband... He’s so incredibly patient with me. I think he respects that this is more than just a passion and a job for me. It’s my life. I thrive on a beautiful paint color, cool retro antique find, and a cohesive color palette. He can see that I need to be doing this in order to feel fulfilled in life, so he is very supportive of my choices. That said, we still have a very collaborative process. If you were to follow us around at an antique store, you’d see me hold up various items to my husband and then

you’d hear me ask him a quick, “Can I get this?” He usually says no, but every now and then he loves something I find, and that piece ends up being a shared favorite of ours. If I ever happen to bring something home that he genuinely hates (like the portrait painting of an old grumpy man that I bought on a whim on Etsy), I’ll usually put it in a room he doesn’t go in often, like my office, but I tend to eventually sell those pieces before too long. If he doesn’t love it as much as I do, then it doesn’t last in our home, but luckily, we generally gravitate toward the same things. Where do you find inspiration? Other bloggers, media, books? It sounds cliché, but my inspiration really does come from all over. I love watching movies from the 1950s and ’60s for authentic mid-century design inspiration (my favorite is Sunday in New York), and current design shows on TV help guide my decor instincts, too. Something as simple as wandering around antique stores also fills me with inspiraC O N TIN U E D O N PA GE 41

Quick-fire round

Favorite DIY project to date: The DIY platform deck we just built in our backyard! We completed it just this August, and it has really helped expand the livable footprint of our home. Most treasured thrifted item: The secondhand mid-century starburst clock my husband and I found together (for just $12!) when we were still dating. Favorite place to source vintage pieces: Circa in Charlottesville is one of my favorite resources. I go a few times a month because they always have new treasures to look through. Half of our house has been furnished and decorated with pieces I’ve found at Circa. The same goes for Galaxie Modern in Bedford, Virginia. I also love Greenwood Antiques & Uniques in Greenwood. Currently on your wish list: New windows. I know that’s not the “sexy” answer, but I daydream about getting new windows for our very energy-inefficient mid-century home. Favorite corner of your home: The dining room. My husband and I eat dinner together there every night, and it’s so gratifying to be able to look around at this home we’ve created. Our pets are constantly running around at dinner time, too, so our dining room is full of laughter. It’s my favorite corner, and my favorite time of day.

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tion. I might happen to come across a cool retro table lamp that was placed by chance for resale on an end table with traditional turned wood legs, and suddenly an idea for a whole new room makeover comes to mind. Catalogs from my favorite home decor brands also spark lots of ideas. Just the other day I made a DIY art piece using paint leftovers because of a photograph I saw in a Lulu & Georgia catalog. Tell me about a “pinch me” moment for your blog. Hitting my 10-year blogging anniversary this past March was a big one for me! I’ll also never forget one evening about a year after starting my blog when my husband and I were lounging in our living room after dinner. I timidly brought up the idea of quitting the blog because I was feeling so insecure about how things were going. I was still working full-time in an office during the day, and dedicating every night and weekend to the blog. I was exhausted, and remember saying out loud to him, “If something big doesn’t happen this year, I think I need to start

seriously considering letting it go.” A few months later, an email from Better Homes and Gardens popped up in my inbox. They wanted to do a feature about me in the magazine about a dresser I had made over using paint and a stencil. The dresser and I were photographed for the July 2012 issue of the magazine, and I’ve never thought about quitting the blog since then. It was the sign I needed to know I was on the right path. Can you share a DIY “fail” you’ve experienced? My DIY fails almost always have to do with paint. I appreciate that paint is such a great resource for changing up a room or piece of furniture, but I loathe working with it. I remember I tried to create a faux tile effect in our old kitchen using thin masking tape and paint. I spent hours on it, and even roped my sister into helping me meticulously lay the tape in place. I painted over the tape, and when I went to remove the tape layer, all of the paint peeled off in giant sheets. It wasn’t a good evening. Moments like that really make you appreciate the projects that go right, though.

What’s next for Dream Green DIY/ your home? It seems like 75 percent (or more!) of the news headlines these days are focused on climate change and the negative impact we’re having on the environment. It has really gotten me thinking about what changes I can make personally and professionally. I know I can’t change the world with my little blog, but I want to do all I can to help center the conversation on what we can be doing as homemakers to help support the planet. I’m planning on shifting the focus of my work to sharing teachable moments built on the concepts of sustainability and recycling. It feels like a natural extension of my brand since most people assume the “green” part of my blog name is actually about recycling, so I plan to really dive down deep into that conversation. I want to lead by example by shopping less in general (and when I do, to focus on longevity), opting for secondhand decor whenever possible, and providing inspiration for environmentally friendly cleaners, too. Again, I know I don’t have the power to start a crusade (I’m a hardcore introvert, after all), but I can start small and I can start somewhere. 434  41

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For a good day, call...


I’m not really a morning person—my personal motto is, “Nothing worthwhile happens before brunch.” I am usually up between 9 and 10 in the President of Cville Pride, Operations Supervisor morning, and the first thing I do is take the dogs out. We have two: Lucky, a Rhodesian Ridgeat Boar’s Head Sports Club back mix, and Bandi, a Belgian Malinois mix. Both are rescues from the Louisa Humane Society. I’d cook breakfast at home, an omelet or oatmeal, but my husband and I sometimes go out for brunch on Sunday after church. We’d hit The Graduate or head over to Stonefield and go to Burger Bach. (It doesn’t really matter to me as long as there are good Bloody Marys.) From there, we’d head downtown. I have a rare condition called bibliophilia: I’m addicted to books. I love the downtown bookstores—New Dominion, Daedalus, and 2nd Act Books. I also love our local Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. After that, my husband and I would go to a local vineyard; Septenary Winery is one of our favorites. If we are going out for date night, we’d go to one of the downtown restaurants—Rapture and Red Pump Kitchen are two favorites. We’d then walk the mall and either catch music at Ting Pavilion or just listen to the local street musicians. I am amazed at the local talent! Then home to read, watch TV, and snuggle with the dogs.

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Rocktober Rock and Gem Show October 1-3, 2021 Friday Noon-6 Saturday 10-6 Sunday 11-4 Check out for more information! 345 Hillsdale Drive Charlottesville VA 22901 434-284-7709

Profile for C-VILLE Weekly

434 | Fall 2021  


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