An Artist's Guide to Tom Tom

Tom Tom hosts more than 50 events. It's so many that even our heads start to spin! To help you navigate your week of Tom Tom, we've prepared this itinerary! It's everything an artist could want. We hope you enjoy it.

White Flags at the IX Art Park

All Week

We have some incredible art projects during the week of Tom Tom. First, anytime you’re at the IX Art Park, look up and you’ll notice Resident Artist Aaron Fein’s White Flags. This installation recreates all 193 flags of the countries in the United Nations, embroidered white on white.

You can see Aaron Fein’s latest series of textile works in his gallery show, TORUS, on display throughout the month of April at The Bridge PAI. Check out his new works in large format, digital embroidery that explore the medium’s inherent tension between high-tech and traditional craft.

Our second Artist Residency is with ICU Art, an LA-based media and production company specializing in hand-painted murals and custom designs. At Tom Tom, they’ve designed an “Art Bus,” which will run on Charlottesville Area Transit’s 1, 3, 4, 10, and 11 lines.

The final week-long artwork is our annual mural project, which will fund the painting of 3 murals throughout Charlottesville. Each year, this project grows, adding more color and more intrigue to our city.

For food throughout the week, enjoy 16 Farm-to-Table Restaurant Week menus that highlight local farms and artisans with our region’s premier chefs. Also, enjoy 12 Craft Cocktail Competition mixologists, and get a Tom Tom Cocktail–each specialty drink features at least one local ingredient. Make sure to review the cocktail online afterwards.


Monday, April 11

On Monday, kick-off the festival with our Future Forum: the Creative Economy 2025, which features some of the area’s most innovative leaders, including Jody Kielbasa, Vice Provost for the Arts at UVA and Director of the Virginia Film Festival, sharing their vision for the future of the City. It’s a free event that offers a thought-provoking way to start the week.

Boyd Tinsley Concert

Tuesday, April 12

Tuesday morning, come to Charlottesville High School for We Want Peace, a lecture and performance by Emmanuel Jal, a former South Sudanese child soldier turned hip-hop artist with a message of peace.

Tuesday evening, enjoy a free Boyd Tinsley with Crystal Gardens concert at the Paramount Theater. As a founding member of Dave Matthews Band, Boyd Tinsley’s violin is indelibly linked to DMB’s sound. The Grammy award winning artist has helped propel the band to become the biggest worldwide ticket-seller of the past decade. This evening offers an introduction to one Boyd’s projects, Crystal Garden. Seats are limited, enter the free ticket lottery here.

Nonprofit pitch, ballet

Wednesday, April 13

On Wednesday evening, after dinner and a cocktail, come to the Crowdfunded Pitch Night. This high-energy event features 10 local entrepreneurs, artists, and nonprofits who compete for votes from the crowd. The pitch with the most votes wins either $5,000 or a spot at the i.Lab at UVA, a startup incubator at UVA’s Darden School of Business. Many of the competitors are food-based startups, so if you’re interested in future of food in Cville, the Crowdfunded Pitch Night is a can’t miss event.


Thursday, April 14

On Thursday evening, after dinner and a cocktail, come to Elevating the Everyday, a design lecture by Founders Summit keynote speaker Craig Dubitsky, the creative genius behind Method, Hello, and Eos. He’ll explore how design can transform commodities into desirables.

Founders Summit Tickets

Friday, April 15

Friday is a packed day, with the Founders Summit starting at 9 and the Friday Night Block Party following at 5PM. The Founders Summit is Tom Tom’s marquee event and combines talks, competitions, and exclusive access to leading founders. Specifically relevant to artists, keynote speakers Craig Dubitsky, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, and Becca McCharen will speak on the creative process, redefining consumer brands, and ideation.

Also, Founders Summit attendees have exclusive access to industry-specific Summit Luncheons, which offer an opportunity to meet and make connections with speakers and other attendees. The Public Art in Virginia luncheon will explore the role of public art, the division between public and private art, and the artist as an entrepreneur.

After the Founders Summit, head over to Lee Park for the Friday Night Block Party. With amazing free concerts, a New Belgium Craft Beer Garden, and the best food trucks in Charlottesville, the first of the weekend’s block parties will be the perfect way to kick-off the weekend.

Lee Park

Saturday, April 16

Saturday mid-Morning, go to the corner of 2nd St and Garrett St for Streets That Work, a temporary installation that reimagines streets and intersections through features like creative crosswalks, added bike lanes, and increased landscaping

At 11 AM, head over to The Haven for a hands-on workshop that will lead you through the construction of your own small working synthesizer, yours to keep at the end of the workshop. Learn about the construction and operation of a basic synthesizer from Peter Bussigel and Travis Thatcher from the U.Va. McIntire Department of Music.

Then, staring at noon in Lee Park, join the Saturday Block Party for a massive fleaVILLE (local hand-crafted goods and art), more great free concerts, local food trucks, and some truly outstanding art events. There’ll be a massive Art Attack, with live art-making throughout the park. Also, stage production expert Steven Warner and his students will be present for an exhibition and discussion of various maker projects from the UVA Creature Nights! Maker Club, ranging from an automated stage platform to custom circus stilts.

At 3:30 head over to Old Metropolitan Hall for a workshop led by Becca McCharen, founder and CEO of Chromat, an industry-defying woman’s fashion label that uses architectural features to create “scaffolding for the body.”

Starting around 6PM, you have three options for art events: First, there’ll also be a Sunset Concert with two of the biggest acts at Tom Tom The Big Takeover and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. Second, you can attend Creative Collisions, a series of performance pieces created by teams of interdisciplinary students and professionals which explore the future of Charlottesville. Third, you can see featured artist Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell’s NO WAKE, which blends the work of local professional artists and community children in a larger than life outdoor performance and multimedia dance installation.

After the Sunset Concert, Creative Collisions, or NO WAKE make sure to come back to Lee Park for a film screening. We’re collaborating with Virginia Film Festival to show CLAW, the award-winning documentary that charts the origins and growth of Charlottesville’s Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW), with many special cameos throughout the night! When the raucous show ends, we’ll have a nighttime parade up the mall to an afterparty at Mono Loco, led by local favorite Elby Brass Band.

popup parking

Sunday, April 17

Sunday starts at noon at Second Street Gallery with Synesthesia, a collaboration between UVA’s Creative Writing, Music, and Studio Art programs, featuring multidisciplinary and collaborative new and improvisatory work created by graduate and undergraduate students of poetry, fiction, music composition, photography and visual art.

After Synesthesia, head back over to Lee Park for the Sunday Picnic Day. All day, we’re hosting friends and neighbors for a nonprofit showcase, giant fleaVILLE, Community Picnic, all-local music, a New Belgium craft beer garden, food truck rally, and art displays.

The first main art event during the Sunday Picnic Day is Pop up Park(ing) Spaces, which reimagines public parking spaces as as stages, art installations, and environmental amenities. The second is the Public Art Bike Ride, which departs from Lee Park at 3PM to visit some of Charlottesville’s best public art, including the new City as Canvas Murals.

Founding Partners