Contemporary Gallery


Vinegar Hill 1963

Life in the Neighborhood

Gundars Osvalds


April 15 – May 30, 2015

Opening reception

Saturday, April 18 | 6–8 pm

Artist comments by Gundars Osvald, 7 pm
Gallery Hours

Tuesday–Friday, 12–6 pm . Sat, 10 am – 3 pm


In 1963, Gundars Osvalds was a 16-year old student at Albemarle High School. When he heard of the impending urban renewal project in the African American community of Vinegar Hill located in downtown Charlottesville, he decided he would go and take photographs of “life in the neighborhood.” Already the photographer for his high school newspaper and interested in making pictures similar to those in Life Magazine, he set out to walk the unfamiliar area. Osvalds to this point had no experience with Charlottesville’s African American community; for him this excursion would be comparable to “visiting a foreign country.”

The exhibition is comprised of these images taken on that day–found while cleaning some 50 years later. Pictures of playing children, grandfathers watching over children, and men and women going about their every day life, are juxtaposed with landscapes that stand in stark contrast to images that have circulated thus far about the area. A 56-page catalogue of Osvalds’ photographs accompanies the exhibition with essays by Kenneth Schwartz and Scot French.

The exhibition is made possible through generous support of Blue Moon Fund, and Gundars Osvalds. The catalogue is supported by the Oakwood Foundation.

Prints can be ordered through artist website www.OsvaldsPhotography.com

vinegar hill

Emma Lewis, 1963. Courtesy of the Artist

To Order Catalogue