As many students have packed their bags and left for home or new cities, students who remain may wonder what to do around the city. Luckily, Charlottesville’s flourishing arts and culture scene provides many 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 

Second Street Gallery’s newest exhibit titled “Echoes in the Deep Blue” features work by Charlottesville-based artist Sahara Clemons. Clemons is an alumni of the lauded YoungArts program, a nationwide competition for young adult artists, and has had work showcased at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, McGuffey Art Center and other galleries. 

Clemons’ work explores themes of identity at the intersection of gender and race through a collection of acrylic and oil-based paintings, delving into her own identity as a black woman from the perspective of her young adult years. As she explores this foundational period in her life — one where she likely pondered on the possibilities of the future — she also traverses the stories of her past. To do so, Clemons sought out old family photographs and lore, even traveling to Ghana, a trip that changed the overall course of her art. 

While she learns about her past, she remains grounded in her present and future. The exhibition title 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. 

Overall, Echoes in the Deep Blue” is a complex deep-dive into the exploration of intersectional identities during the impressionable years of adolescence. The exhibition is running until July 21. 

Virginia Theatre Festival

The Virginia Theatre Festival is in full swing, putting on three award-winning productions for their 2023 season. The Virginia Theatre 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 University professors, students and artists. 

As an ensemble, they have hosted a slew of productions, from American classics like “Little Women” to musicals such as “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The Virginia Theatre Festival has produced a wide range of talented alumni seen everywhere from Broadway, — like Jared Bradshaw of “Jersey Boys” — to television with Wayne Knight of “Seinfeld” fame. 

Coming off of a successful run of award-winning musical “Cabaret,” VTF’s upcoming production is Ken Ludwig’s “Dear Jack, Dear Louise.” Ludwig tells the sweet love story of his own parents, U.S. Army Captain Jack Ludwig and aspiring showgirl Louise Rabiner. As the two accidentally start a correspondence by mail during World War II, their relationship begins to form into a beautiful romance that audiences will swoon over with each love letter. 

“Dear Jack, Dear Louise” will run from July 21 through July 30 at the Drama Department’s Helms Theatre 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, championing theater in the local area and across Central Virginia. As part of their 2022-2023 season, the theater’s summer 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 considered one of the greatest coming-of-age movies of all time. The original film is a black comedy detailing the story of teen Veronica Sawyer, a member of the most powerful clique in her high school, the Heathers. However, her life begins to unravel after falling for the new misfit at school. . 

Created in 1989, Live Arts was 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 over 300 plays and offering acting and improv classes to members of the community. 

Heathers will be presented at the Live Arts theater in downtown Charlottesville from July 14 through July 30. With 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