Face to Face: Portraits of our Vibrant City 2017
Welcome to our 2017 collection of community portraits resulting from Face To Face: Portraits of Our Vibrant City
Face To Face: Portraits of Our Vibrant City uses the intimate process of portraiture to connect artists and community members who have different life experiences. Part portraiture and part biography, Face to Face uses the strengths, experiences, and passions of vibrant individuals in our community to inform masterfully created portraits. Strongly in tune with our mission to bridge diverse communities through the arts, this project fosters interpersonal relationships among the people of our city. It initiates dialogue about equity, value, and perception. Portraits are exhibited at the Bridge and then gifted from the artists to the community members.
THE 2017 COLLECTION
Farah Ibrahim & Aaron Eichorst
Portrayed: Farah Ibrahim
Mother, daughter, wife, sister – Farah cherishes her family. Her resilient spirit and grit has enabled her to create a new life in Charlottesville, VA. The first in her family to move from Baghdad, Iraq nearly ten years ago, Farah is now joined by her mother, brother and husband in the Charlottesville metro area where she assists others like herself who are relocating and building their lives in the Appalachian piedmont. Farah is able to draw on her personal experience as a case worker for the International Rescue Committee, assisting others navigate a new life, in a new place. Both the palm with its long feather like leaves and the enticing fragrance of the soft velvet-petaled gardenia are personal totems.
The Artist: Aaron Eichorst
Originally from central Illinois, Aaron moved to Virginia in 1990 to attend Eastern Mennonite University. Aaron’s work experience includes the non-profit art gallery, Washington Project for the Arts, and People for the American Way’s arts advocacy project in our national capital. In 1998, Aaron moved to Charlottesville,VA. and began teaching Art in the public schools. He is an associate member of McGuffey Art Center, as well as a member of Second Street Gallery. Aaron currently serves the Charlottesville City School division as Coordinator of Fine & Performing Arts which includes administering the ArtQuest program and the Reflection Regional Summer Governor’s School program. He lives in Belmont with his husband of 25 years.
Ann Friend Clark & Doreen Rose Devasia
Portrayed: Ann Friend Clark
Ann Friend Clark has had a wild journey on this roller coaster called Life. She was born on a dairy farm in Culpeper to parents who were both artists. As a child, she was often sick and struggled in school, so she spent most of her time drawing at home. She developed a passion for art that followed her to the Rhode Island School of Design. Ann left RISD after one year, got married, and subsequently worked in the art library at Yale to support her husband through college. After two divorces, one daughter, and three grandchildren, Ann settled down in Charlottesville. She teaches art to young kids and also takes studio art classes as a community scholar at UVA. From meeting Obama to writing a gratitude list each day, Ann is well-acquainted with love and loss. She is a sculptor and a survivor of childhood abuse. Her path in life has been full of twists and turns, leading to joy and plenty of coffee from MarieBette Café.
The Artist: Doreen Rose Devasia
Doreen Rose Devasia is an artist with a wild streak. Armed with fantastic listening skills, her trademark glasses, and a sense of humor, she strives to find a balance between school and the things that matter most. Doreen attended The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, where she took classes taught by working artists in a wide range of media. This early exposure to the arts instilled in her a deep gratitude for visual communication. As a ceramicist and introvert, her hands are usually covered in clay and she likes to work behind the scenes. With roots in India and the Middle East, Doreen is proud to be a female artist of color and uses books and films as inspiration. Like Ann, Doreen is a survivor of trauma. She is currently a fourth-year at UVA studying art history and foreign affairs. Both Ann and Doreen would like to specially thank Erin Monroney for the photograph on which this painting is based.
Leslie M. Scott-Jones & Isabella Whitfield
Portrayed: Leslie M. Scott-Jones
At any given moment, Leslie M. Scott-Jones is involved in at least seven different projects and has plans to start several more. Involved in all things theatre, she has played the parts of a producer, director, writer, and actor. Through her passion for the performing arts, Leslie is particularly interested in exploring socially conscious themes and works concerning African American women. This past fall, she performed in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars; and she is stewarding a larger project that will complete the entire Pittsburg Cycle in five years. Of her many theatre accolades, Leslie is most proud of directing For Colored Girls. Later this year, she plans creating a musical parody called #charlottesville. This production is intended as a response to the events of August 12th. A strong, hardworking mother and daughter, Leslie is a true creative leader in Charlottesville.
The Artist: Isabella Whitfield
Isabella Whitfield is a young artist and second-year student at the University of Virginia. She enjoys exploring many different styles and mediums of art. Recently, Isabella has developed an interest in combining photo transfers with traditional paintings. In addition to art, she is involved with graphic design and volunteering with Madison House.
Isabella is extremely honored to participate in this unique portraiture project. Later this spring, she will be debuting a small painting series through a grant from UVA’s Student Arts Fund. This new project will explore the modern family portrait. Everything she has accomplished thus far would be impossible without her amazing support system of friends and family.
Joe Peacock & Golara Haghtalab
Portrayed: Joe Peacock
Joe Peacock is a man with character who enjoys plenty of family time and company of friends while pursuing his interests and hobbies of building things. The owner of Peacock Auto Service, he graduated from UVA but never stopped learning. Joe is an ultimate maker, and everything in his amazing house, from lamps to walls, to rooms and windows is standing proof of it. “This show brings up my very personal interest in people. I met Joe and his family because of this project. He and his father in-law made the puzzle and the frame for my work during their Christmas family time. Joe and I didn’t have much time to interact in person but we communicated so much through our work, he as a woodworker and I as a painter. The love and the amount of time by put into making this piece by both sides filled the communication gap almost completely. This Piece is Joe’s craft as much as it is mine and we hope to transfer the joy of teamwork and creating to our audience.”
The Artist: Golara Haghtalab
A family of five immigrated to Charlottesville six years ago. Golara’s family left Iran during her senior year of college when they had the opportunity to come to America. “My family and I are Turkmens, an ethnic and religious minority among the country’s Persian and Shia majority, and we had been hoping to leave the country for many years to pursue a better life.” When they arrived in Charlottesville Golara was first to find a job and she worked to support her family while her parents practiced their English and searched for jobs. She graduated from PVCC before transferring to UVA to double major in studio art and chemistry. Charlottesville provided a welcoming community from the moment her family arrived in town. One of Golara’s favorite activities is making conversation with people walking on the downtown mall. The city has provided her with an education, with citizenship, and with a sense of community and purpose. It is an honor for her to contribute to the city’s artistic narrative, and to give back to a community that has provided her with so much.
Golara’s artistic approach emphasizes storytelling and vibrant colors. She seeks a strong connection with each of her artworks, and wants to represent more than simply the two-dimensional image in front of her.
“My recent pieces display movement, figures and culture inspired by my own background as a third culture child. In making these paintings I wanted to build a bridge between my different dimensions and the world outside.”
This piece is an improvisational site in which the toy (the sliding puzzle), constructed line and the interaction between such lines are used to question the way human figure is pictured. Visual and actual drawn lines are also used to tell the story and thought process of each figure.
“I have tried to compose a universe by using cultural, emotional, psychological, and intellectual references. I want to invite the viewer to move into a world of assumption or to stand back and observe the interactions between such spaces and cultural references. I intend to create a network of information by using lines, shapes, poems, and human figures to explain my point and also to invite the viewer forward to inspection.” The poem in this piece is by the notable Iranian poet and a painter Sohrab Sepehri. It is titled “Let’s not Soil the Water” and reads as follows:
Let’s not soil the water
Perhaps a pigeon is drinking down there
Or a thrush dipping its wing by a far thicket
Or a pitcher being filled in a village.
Let’s not soil the water.
This stream is perhaps running to a white aspen
To sooth a lonely heart.
A dervish may have dipped his dry bread there.
A lovely lady has come to the stream.
Let’s not soil the water.
Beauty is doubled.
People are so affable there!
May their streams bubble!
And their cows produce abundant milk!
Never have I visited their village.
Their hedges must bear God’s footprints.
There, moonshine illuminates the expanse of speech.
No doubt, the fences are low in yonder village.
And its inhabitants know what peonies are.
No doubt, blue is blue there.
A bud blossoms! People know it.
What a glorious village it must be!
May its alleyways overflow with music!
The people living by the stream understand water.
They did not soil it
Nor should we.
(Translated by Ismail Salami)
Lauren Mann & Kyle Petrozza
Portrayed: Lauren Mann
I was born and raised in Virginia, but have never really felt like I belonged. I have had the “n” word screamed at me here. I’ve been glared at here. I have been followed in stores here. I have been called “oreo” and told to “go back to Africa” here. I have borne countless microaggressions that have made me feel like a stranger here. I have witnessed hate rallies that have led to death here. I have been despised here…by people who can’t see Me.
So, I have learned to not speak loudly and to hold my tongue. I have learned to dress extra nice so as to not be seen as “dangerous.” I have practiced smiling extra wide and acting extra friendly so people won’t be “frightened.” I have made myself shrink for people who only see labels, colors, and adjectives instead of humans.
But, I am tired of shrinking. I am tired of being silenced. I will not let the hands of prejudice and bias smother who I am, though they surround me. Yes, I am black, but that is just a word that describes my outward appearance. It is not a description who I am inside. It is not a description of Me.
So allow me to introduce myself:
My name is Lauren. I am 24-years old. I am a girl who often gets lost in her own imagination. Who loves plants and sunshine. Who has calloused feet from wandering in the woods barefoot. Who likes to drive with windows rolled down, even in the rain. Who loves to dance to jazzy music, lost in a blur of strobe lights and laughter. Who can’t walk inside on a clear summer night without first looking up at the stars. Who gets frustrated easily and is often impatient. Who loves singing to country music, cleaning to R&B, driving to dubstep, and falling asleep to violin. Whose heart swells when people are kind. Who loves reading poems by Yeats and Rumi and has read Jane Eyre four times. Who feels nostalgic when looking at airplanes and dreams about far away places. Who has anxiety and cries far too often. Who loves getting lost in books about robots and aliens. Who believes in True Love. Who still thinks everyone is good at their core (even when they drown in their own hate).
Now you know a little about Me. You, whose blood, muscles, and bones are colored the same as mine. You, whose skin contains a brilliant, beautiful soul. I hope that You can see Me and that I can see You. I hope that one day, we can all see each other for who we really are:
Different. Beautiful. Human.
The Artist: Kyle Petrozza
Kyle was born and raised between the suburbs and beaches of Southern New Jersey. He’s lived on remote islands, as part of small towns and within large cities around the world since then.
Sometime in the early aughts, while crisscrossing the country’s spider web of railroad tracks, he decided that he’d like to become a photographer. So, he did. Kind of. He shot his first roll of film in St Thomas, cut his teeth and went digital in New Orleans before moving to Harlem, where he had the good fortune to assist very talented photographers in creating beautiful imagery for brands and projects from the global to the personal. Though, he made little work of his own. So it goes. In 2016, he left New York City with few regrets and relocated to a farm in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains to tend cattle and chickens, pigs and ducks, and eventually, his own creativity. This is the first of his images to be hung for public display.
Kelvin Parnell & Cary A. Olivia
Portrayed: Kelvin Parnell
Kelvin Parnell, Jr. is a 23-year-old student and current resident of Charlottesville and 2nd year graduate student at the University of Virginia. He was born in Maryland, but grew up mostly in Pittsburgh. He attended Duquesne University, and graduated with a double major in Art History and History. Kelvin is now working towards a Phd. in Art History specializing in critical race theory in American art. After graduate school, Kelvin hopes to consider a career in academia. Kelvin describes himself as a very patient and honest person. He enjoys being straightforward with people. He enjoys writing and being on his own. He is eager to answer questions about himself, but otherwise, he has a fairly quiet demeanor.
As a new resident of Charlottesville, Kelvin admitted it has been an up and down year. Having experienced the events of the summer when Neo-Nazis and white supremacists roamed through the streets carrying Confederate flags, white nationalist and Nazi flags attempting to intimidate minorities. Kelvin admits he was very conflicted by the statements that began to emerge afterwards such as “This is not us” and “This is not America.” For Kelvin, who is anything but un-American he says, it was not surprising what happened here in Charlottesville in August. Kelvin believes our people and government need to address these problems not just with words, but with action and acknowledge the institutional and systemic racism that has plagued this country since its inception. Kelvin says, “The reality of what this country is and has been for over two hundred years in regards to race is evident, and the fact that we cannot reconcile with that reality is the root of some of the country’s problems.” (as cited from his article entitled “An American Wake-Up Call”, published online on August 14 on Medium). It is my hope that through more dialogue with community members of all colors, religious backgrounds and opposing ideas right here where we live, that we might start the change that we need to turn this country’s tide. Let’s all look ourselves in the face and ask if we are willing to do just this. One person at a time.
The Artist: Cary A. Oliva
Cary A. Oliva graduated from Dickinson College with a B.A. in Italian Studies and Fine Art. She studied art in Italy and continued taking classes after college in New York to learn about 35mm photography. That is when Cary discovered more about alternative techniques and started experimenting with Polaroids. She started with manipulations and then played around with transfers, finding both techniques completely addictive. She currently lives and works in Charlottesville, VA where she enjoys exhibiting her work in a handful of local venues.
I am an artist/photographer who enjoys experiencing new and different things. For me a way to do this is through photography and finding new and different subjects to view through my new “eye”, my camera lens. It is important to me to be sensitive to the world that surrounds us. Being concerned with feeling life deeply and expressing all of the emotions that may come up in this process is what I strive to show through my artwork. I want to move you, show you, impress you, make you wonder and make you aware. When we are truly feeling is when we are experiencing life to the fullest.
Rodney Bruffey & Aaron Farrington
Portrayed: Rodney Bruffey
Rodney Bruffey’s grandfather, Carroll William Bruffey Sr, opened up Bruffey’s Radiator Shop behind his house on Avon Street when he got out of the service, sometime in the late 1930s or 40s. In the 1950s or 60s Rodney’s grandfather invented and patented a machine to sharpen the blades of non-motorized push lawn mowers. “Push mowers give you a better lawn than gas mowers,” Rodney told me. “Because they actually cut the grass instead of just whacking it off. And if you hit something hard— a rock or a big stick or something—the push mower will just stop. The gas mower will just keep on going and you’ll end up with a bent crankshaft and your lawn will look wobbly.” Rodney was born in 1965 and started going to the shop with his father, Carroll William “Bill” Bruffey Jr. in 1970 and learning about the family business. He went to Clark Elementary, Buford Middle, and Charlottesville High School, until he began to favor the classes at the newly opened CA-TEC to his high school classes and got kicked out of school for absenteeism. Something Rodney encourages others to do is attend classes at CATEC if given the opportunity. At CA-TEC he learned everything, including carpentry, welding, and electricity, but he knew his future lay in the family business of small engine repairs. His two brothers weren’t interested in the work while Rodney had an appreciation for the simultaneous complexity and simplicity of the machines he worked with. Rodney took over the shop from his father in 1997 or 98. “It’s your 20 year anniversary!” I exclaim, but he doesn’t see it like that— he’s been in the shop for a lot longer than 20 years. A lot has changed since Bruffey’s Radiator Shop first opened. For one thing, radiators. “You can’t really fix them anymore because they are aluminum in a plastic casing now. The old ones were steel and you could solder them up or weld them and you can’t do that anymore.” The patented machine is still there, a huge metal contraption in the corner of the shop, though it has been decades since anybody has used it.
The Artist: Aaron Farrington
Aaron Farrington was born in St. Johnsbury, VT and grew up in Harrisonburg, VA (dubbed both ‘the Turkey Capital of the World’ and ‘the Friendly City’ by the local chamber of commerce, though both claims are absurdly false). He began his film career at age 20 by dropping out of NYU’s undergraduate film program– not the smartest thing he’s done, he’ll admit, though he does say he’s never ever done anything as stupid as going to NYU in the first place.
After leaving NYU, Aaron began a fifteen year journey through an art school of his own making, supporting himself working in bars, strip clubs, and as a night time janitor contracted to clean Kroger grocery stores. He drew voraciously and wrote a short novel.
In 1997 he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia. Freed from the onerous terms of New York City life he began to travel and shoot photographs. His first journey took him to Barrow, Alaska, where he photographed the Inuit whale hunt, and Los Angeles, where he worked with some of his former NYU class mates on the television show LA Heat, which was never shown in the US but was supposedly a big hit in France. Upon returning to Charlottesville he began to print photographs and exhibit in local galleries.
In 2001 he documented the Hackensaw Boys their first North American tour, becoming the thirteenth member of the band, Grumpy Hackensaw. The resulting images and music videos were his first widely published works and the foundation for his slowly budding career. In 2003, Farrington directed and produced a documentary on the North Mississippi All Stars and the Hill Country Blues. The resulting movie “Do it Like We Used To DO” features RL Burnside and Jim Dickenson and is a raw, unflinching portrait of a landscape and a music and
In 2014, after a summer of shooting thousands of pictures a night of Dave Matthews Band concerts he bought a 1910 made Kodak 2d 8×10 camera and began to shoot wet plate pictures. He now runs a wet plate portrait studio out of the Red Shed at McGuffey Art Center and runs a documentary, music video, and film production company, To the End of the World Pictures.
Krishan Kumar & Sam Gray
Portrayed: Krishan Kumar
Krishan Kumar is University Professor and William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. He was born in Trinidad to Indian parents and lived there until the age of 5 when his mother brought her six children to stay with her family in Delhi. At around the age of 9 Krishan’s family moved to London, where he lived until leaving to study history as an undergraduate at Cambridge University. His interest in thinking and philosophers such as Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx brought Krishan to study sociology as a graduate student at the London School of Economics. He was Professor of Social and Political Thought at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, before moving to Charlottesville to work at UVA in 1996. Krishan met his wife, Katya, in England in 1990. They both enjoy travel, music, opera, and teaching sociology at the University of Virginia.
Krishan’s research and publications are focused on understanding empires: how they operated, how they thought of themselves, and how they have shaped the modern world. Although ‘empire’ is now practically considered a dirty word, 9/11 renewed conversation on the ‘American Empire.’ Speaking with Krishan was fascinating and I was inspired to express the spread of empires that Krishan has studied (and traveled within) as rings rippling outward. The viewer may notice that the six main origin points of the ripples are to the right of the piece. These points represent the centers of the Spanish, British, French, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian empires. Early viewers of the piece have described the rings as fingerprints. The influence of past empires is, like our fingerprints, with us everyday though many of us may not take the time to recognize it.
Artist: Sam Gray
I was born and raised in Northern Virginia until I studied graphic design with the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia, graduating summa cum laude in 2012. After a somewhat soul-crushing post-graduate design studio internship, I traveled internationally for nearly a year and a half. During those travels I volunteered on organic farms in New Zealand and Japan, bringing myself back into connection with nature through communing with the wild, growing plants, and caring for animals. My parents moved to Staunton in 2014 and I joined them to help establish their homestead, eventually moving to Afton to live and work on a farm. In 2016 I became an Incubator Artist at the McGuffey Art Center, reigniting my childhood dream of being an artist and bringing me into a vibrant and supportive arts community. I am now happily a renting member at McGuffey and work there as an artist and freelance graphic designer.
Cullen Wade & Liz Zhang
Portrayed: Cullen Wade
Cullen Wade is a hip hop artist who started producing his own music at around age 15. Today, he performs under the name Fellowman, and he is involved in the hip hop scene of Charlottesville, organizing both Nine Pillars Hiphop Cultural Fest and Rugged Arts: Charlottesville’s Hip-Hop Showcase. He is also a film critic, co hosting Arts and Crass: the Highbrow Lowbrow Film Podcast, where he provides an expertise in horror cinema. Cullen teaches audio/video production and social media content at Monticello High School. He is originally from Alexandria, Virginia.
The Artist: Liz Zhang
Liz Zhang is a painter and printmaker currently in her third year at the University of Virginia. She has always been drawn to observing everything around her and sketching what she saw. She studied biochemistry in high school, and now pursues a studio art major at UVA. Her art is about exploring people and patterns. She is interested in human interactions and mundane moments, and in her work, she tries to multiply and manipulate the ordinary until it becomes something new. She enjoys oil painting, lithography, block printing, and bookbinding. Liz has also been an intern at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative since the summer of 2016. She is originally from Yorktown, Virginia.
Robin, WenWen Xi & Lindsay Heider Diamond
Portrayed: Robin & WenWen Xi
When I first met Robin and WenWen at The Bridge, they were undecided as to who would be the subject of the portrait. Immediately, I noticed their exchange was tender as they looked at each other with indecision, both wanting to put the other one first. A moment later Wenwen said it would be Robin, but as their story unfolded, I knew it would have to be both of them.
Robin and Wenwen are PhD candidates at UVA in Law. Robin focuses on finance and WenWen on labor law. They attended the same college in China but did not date until many years and many degrees later, when they were both in the US. Robin has been in the United States for four years, Wenwen for six. They were married in 2016.
Both Robin and Wenwen grew up in China and received masters and doctorates in Law from Chinese universities. Both came to the United States to broaden their understanding of American law. Because American graduate schools differ from Chinese graduate schools, both had to repeat their master’s degrees in order to pursue their doctorates.
Current Chinese law is only about 40 years old, so what these two individuals are doing is pioneering a way towards understanding the similarities and differences between the interpretation of law in the two countries, increasing communication between the countries, and hopefully coming to a better understanding of each other’s practices and thus making the world a better and smaller global village. Once they graduate, they will return to China and hope to get jobs within universities so that they can continue their work and spread their knowledge.
Robin, the more quiet of the two, is an artist at heart. A photographer with a passion preferring to focus mainly on people, Robin has an ability to see the true nature of the people he photographs. Wenwen said that she thinks Robin could have been an artist instead of going into law. I told them that I think sometimes I should have gone into law and would definitely have made more money. “He probably made the right choice,” I said, and we all laughed.
It is a rare and beautiful thing to meet people who are so determined in their studies and yet so humble, earnest and grateful for the ability to do what they do. When not studying, Robin enjoys taking photos with his Nikon, watching movies and playing basketball. They both love traveling, cooking, and tasting Chinese tea (their favorite is from the Fujian Province, mountain grown and one of 10 most famous teas in the world). When the weather is warm, they enjoy spending time in their small garden. Wenwen enjoys reading novels, writing and playing tennis when she has free time. She also likes hiking in the mountains in spring, chasing fireflies in summer, picking apples in autumn and staying in their cozy apartment in winter.
When I asked what they will miss from Charlottesville when they leave, Robin told me he will miss the people he has met here. His professors, classmates in the law school, the friends he has made and even strangers who first helped them when they arrived. Wenwen will miss the quiet and beautiful environment of both UVa. and Charlottesville.
Robin says he would like to take the peaceful mind that he built here back to China. Writing the dissertation for his PhD can be a long, tough, sometimes even boring journey. But through this experience, he has learned how to focus on his work and be calm in the face of challenges and difficulties. Wenwen said of Charlottesville “It is a quiet place to study and a beautiful place to live.”
The Artist: Lindsay Heider Diamond
I received a BFA in painting and graphic design and have worked as a greeting card illustrator, graphic designer, art director, creative director and barista but not in that order. When I was young, I wanted to be an artist or a psychologist and most of my work touches on the emotional connection I have experienced in relation to my subject, whether the art I am creating is representational or abstract.
In 2006, I moved from Seattle to Charlottesville with my husband and children, leaving 15 years of West Coast living behind. I cut down on my graphic design work and decided to commit myself to all things art. I took classes, started meeting people in the Charlottesville art community, and devoted more time to making art. I started teaching art to children at local public and private schools in 2009. In 2011, I became a member of McGuffey Art Center, and since 2012, I’ve been an art teacher at the Village School in downtown Charlottesville.
I was so happy to be selected to be a part of this project and felt honored to have the opportunity to spend time with Robin and Wenwen. We had our first meeting at The Bridge and met again at their apartment, talked for an hour or more there, and then walked for another hour through the grounds and halls of UVA’s Law School, which is the location in the portrait.
Their love for each other and dedication to their work is inspiring, honorable and rare. I hope that some aspect of what I witnessed carries through in the piece, in the gentleness of Robin’s face and expression, in the softer colors of the palette, and in the delicate symbol of Xi (Double Happiness) that weaves through the painting, running through them and connecting them to each other and their location. I took about 150 images of Robin and Wenwen and this one spoke instantly to me. The connection from Robin in the foreground to Wenwen in the back, symbolizing her never ending support of him, their support of each other; their pride at being part of the the UVA Law School; their path that continues on, like the lines on the floor that continue on to points unseen; and the happiness (double) they bring to each other and all those they meet. The Xi symbol in the piece also symbolizes my own wish for their continued success and happiness.
Maybe one day their portraits will grace the halls of a great university in the world, inspiring and motivating future students. I could see that. For now, I hope this painting brings them joy, reminds them of their time in Charlottesville, the people, the beauty and the hard work they are doing to make this world a little better.