Open at last: Gallery finds another Second Street

It was a momentous weekend for actors, artists, and musicians in Charlottesville. October 31 and November 1 brought us the grand opening of the City Center for Contemporary Arts (C3A). After five years of planning and $3.8 million, the four-story complex opened its doors to the masses for a first look at what's destined to be a mecca for art and performance.

For the Live Arts crew, the biggest bonuses of the effort include a much larger main stage with a balcony, a secondary stage much bigger than the LAB, a huge scene shop, and lots of windows. The top floor consists of a spacious office (that doubles as a playwright's workshop), a costume shop, two rehearsal halls, and an outdoor terrace that screams, "cast parties!" The second and third floors are performance spaces and backstage operations.

The ground floor of C3A is home to the Second Street Gallery and to Light House Studio Workshop, which offer ample room for displaying art and for young musicians to explore their talents. Amazingly, after three moves, Second Street has somehow managed once again to be located on a Second Street. Who knew there were so many?

Volunteers Kate Mason and Nick Mattsson, with visitor Courtney Lyder

Musicians chill in one of the many staircases at C3A.

Nick Mattsson shows off the scene shop.

The new stage is inaugurated by Charlottesville's local music heroes.

Without Will Kerner, this couch wouldn't be here (and neither would C3A).