Destination Unveils Mural, Digital Passport for Visitors, Bringing Tourism to Black-Owned Businesses
The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB) has unveiled a new mural at Ix Art Park to commemorate the national launch of Discover Black Cville, a community-led initiative that helps tell modern, historically accurate, and inclusive Black stories in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia, while also promoting Black-owned businesses and attractions. The destination has also launched a new digital passport to bring travelers to local, Black-owned businesses. With a clear goal to highlight Black stories told by Black people, instead of about Black people, now visitors and locals alike can learn, explore and connect online at the Discover Black Cville's website.
"As an organization we recognized the need for a more open dialogue and we have taken great strides to listen and collaborate with our Black residents," said Courtney Cacatian, Executive Director of the CACVB. "The tragic events that took place in August 2017 sparked necessary dialogues about systemic racism and propelled our community to take action to support all residents and visitors. The CACVB is working toward more equitable representation in the tourism economy by putting underrepresented voices and businesses first in the narrative. We're hopeful this work will help visitors of all backgrounds feel more welcome in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We are extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve in a short time while recognizing that there is certainly more work to be done."
The idea for Discover Black Cville was born in 2020 and started with a series of collaborative listening sessions in the community. The grassroots effort was met with much enthusiasm and dozens of community members took part in the initial conversations. The CACVB collaborated with local Black residents throughout the process to ensure wide acceptance and input from the community. The ongoing efforts are guided and informed by a steering committee, with members representing different sectors of the local tourism economy.
The CACVB held a soft launch of Discover Black Cville in spring 2021, which was met with resounding positivity. Since then, the impact of Discover Black Cville has been significant among all community members.
"Discover Black Cville highlights a Charlottesville that is often overlooked. Charlottesville is more than a college town. It's filled with incredible people doing amazing things. Discover Black Cville showcases our culture, bringing the community together and ultimately building real connections," said Matt Harmon, local winemaker and founder of Harmony Wine. "This initiative is changing the narrative that is associated with Charlottesville. My hope is that it continues to build bridges within the community and beyond our city."
The new mural was created by James Johnson and Laura Lee, the same local artists who created the official Discover Black Cville logo. This public art display is located at Ix Art Park, which is in the heart of the city and in an area that has gone through tremendous transformation. Representing hope for the future, the mural serves as a reminder of the transformative power of inclusive dialogue.
"Charlottesville is evolving into a place and community that is more hopeful, inclusive and welcoming. We will continue to have community conversations, which will inform the ongoing development of Discover Black Cville," added Cacatian.
To celebrate and showcase the area's dozens of Black-owned tourism businesses and attractions, the new Discover Black Cville Digital Passport encourages visitors and locals alike to learn about and visit local businesses in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Visitors using the passport can check-in at businesses and attractions, using a QR code. After five check-ins, passport participants can go to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center where they can claim their prize, an official Discover Black Cville hat.
About the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB) welcomes thousands of visitors to the region each year from all over the world who are seeking a variety of unique experiences in history, food, wine, spirits and adventure. The CACVB serves as the global resource for marketing the tourism assets of the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle, and assists tour operators, meeting planners, and other groups in planning visits to the destination. The CACVB's mission is to enhance the economic prosperity of the people of the City and County by promoting, selling, and marketing the area as a destination, in pursuit of the meetings and tourism markets.