Charlotte is the creator and Mayor of Charlottesville, a town illustrated by a series of collage and painted works of art. This is a place for people to have a voice about their lives. Misfits, outcasts, and exploited people who often are invisible to the world become family and proud members of society.
Charlotte’s characters all have a family, a job, and a quirky, strong personality much like their creator. Charlottesville resonates with a large variety of people. On some level everyone has felt an outsider. Charlotte is inspiring to all people who have the opportunity of knowing and working with her. She has an indomitable spirit which is evident in the artwork she creates.
When viewing the works of Charlotte McGraw, you are transported to another world.
The world resembles our own but features jarring, frequently amusing incongruities. For example, a mustachioed man in a sombrero is given the eyes of a cat, while an oversized pug in a knight’s helmet is seen riding a tiny horse.
McGraw — a West Side resident who is featured in a solo show at the Sharon Weiss Gallery — has a name for the imaginary place that is home to such surprising creatures: Charlottesville.
A glance at the artist’s pieces (which feature elements of collage and painting) reveals that this place is a long, long way from the city of the same name in Virginia.
In fact, the fantasy world of Charlottesville originated in the mind of McGraw, who is among the 50 to 60 artists who make use of the Goodwill Columbus Art Studio & Gallery.
“The gallery is open to anyone with a documented disability,” said Jane Carroll of Goodwill Columbus. “That could be anything from a physical disability, intellectual disability (or) emotional disability.”
Last year, gallerist Sharon Weiss encountered the work of McGraw (who, in addition to battling depression, has disabilities stemming from an automobile accident).
“I thought Charlotte’s work was fabulous,” Weiss said. “She has a great sense of color. She is very in tune to the community, so she puts in her collages many things that are really relevant to our community.”