Checking in with the Locals: Maureen Lovett

Posted on October 15, 2013 by


Charlottesville is a city filled with local-loving people, and a spirit of community and collaboration unlike anywhere else. Every week, Cville Niche will celebrate that spirit by featuring a local’s top picks. Check out previous local check-ins!

moMaureen Lovett

Meet Maureen, known as Mo to some, or the Cville art scene guru to others  (but maybe that’s just what we like to call her). You can often find her on First Fridays at the WVTF and Radio IQ studio gallery, curated by New City Arts. Like fellow art curator Sam Bush, Maureen lives and breathes the Cville arts scene, and we got the scoop on her local favorites.

Describe what you do in town (whether it be your job or local interest/involvement in Cville).

Maureen received a BA in Studio Art from the University of Virginia in 2008 and became the Executive Director of New City Arts in 2010, after she spent a quick one-ish year working for an arts organization in New York City. Maureen is particularly excited for three New City Arts projects this year, including our collaborative artist in residence program at The Haven, our 2014 New City Arts Forum, and Charlottesville Soup.

In her free time this week, you can likely find her planning an October wedding with her fiancé, Calvin– who is really the one doing the planning; trying to plant radishes (actually, just watering them occasionally– Calvin is also the gardener); or running (very short distances).

Describe yourself in 5 syllables or less.


Top Local Picks

A favorite dish in town, what it’s called, where it’s at, describe what makes it special/different/one of your favorites.

Beer Run‘s veggie nachos, hold the jalapeños but not the jalapeño-infused salsa. I’m not exactly sure that everyone in town would call this “dinner,” but I think these nachos are the perfect dish to share at dinner time.

A favorite weekly or monthly drink special, what’s the special, where’s it at, and why you love it.

Wow, Beer Run again. I am such a boring (…or loyal) local. They have $1 off pints on Tuesdays, and tiny beer tastings on Wednesdays.

A favorite local musician, name of the musician, type of music, your favorite local show that featured them.

This is a two-way-tie. At the New City Arts banquet this past spring, we had a handful of performances– two of whom represented my favorite acts in town. Guion Pratt (of Nettles) performed a lovely duet with Claire Hitchins. I’m a Nettles fan and also loved their performance at a New City Arts concert in 2011 with The Welcome Wagon at The Haven. The last performance at this banquet was a bluegrass trio, led by Lee Johnson. Lee is a very talented upright bass player, who always puts on a great show– whether it’s with other Charlottesville bluegrass players or with his family band (literally, his actual family came from Kentucky to play with him at last year’s Haven Harvest Dinner).

A favorite local artist (any type other than musician), who is it, what type of medium do they use, where was your favorite showing of their art.

I’m going to cheat again and go with a two-way-tie between two visual artists, Kaki Dimock and Hannah Barefoot.

With a printmaking background, Hannah is currently pursuing landscape architecture through UVA’s graduate program. Most of Hannah’s work explores the implications of the human’s presence in the landscape– featuring prints, drawings, and videos of things like hills and fields off of Route 29 North. My favorite exhibit of Hannah was at the Ruffin Gallery at UVA and included a large-scale installation of hay, a severe allergy of Hannah’s.

Kaki’s work is quite different and doesn’t involve humans at all. Instead, Kaki’s intricate illustrations usually involve at least two things: animals and homes. My favorite work of hers will be unveiled soon– a mural near the downtown train tracks in partnership with the Charlottesville Mural Project.

A favorite local gallery/venue to see art, name of gallery, where’s it located, what makes it special, most recent exhibit you enjoyed there.

I am admittedly biased here. New City Arts curates The WVTF and Radio IQ Studio Gallery downtown, and it’s my favorite place to see art. The radio station provides a unique publicity opportunity for the artists, since they are announced on the radio monthly. We feature Charlottesville artists, and openings are usually packed and catered by Feast! This past year, two artists (Elizabeth Kleberg and Hannah Barefoot) set up pop up installations in the empty storefront next door, which added an exciting element to the exhibit openings.

A favorite local music venue, name of venue, where’s it located, what makes it special, most recent show you enjoyed there.

Who’s surprised? It’s another two-way-tie, this time between The Garage and The Haven’s Sanctuary– neither of which are traditional music venues in town. Both have different (but occasionally similar) vibes and often have free or low cost shows.

My favorite Garage show/event is definitely “The Garage Carol Sing,” when The Garage invites the community to meet at The Garage, sings a few carols, then goes caroling through downtown establishments. My favorite recent Haven concert was The Haven’s Acoustic Showcase, which (among other talent) featured Alex and Amelia from Mountain Main, whose performance was perfect for the Sanctuary space.