This post is part of a continued series distinguishing individuals and groups by presenting a DaVinci award or a Velvet Elvis award for their role in promoting Charlottesville as the "cultural and creative capital of Central Virginia".
This DaVinci award goes to Dave Simpson. Most of us know Dave as the long time owner of the C&O Restaurant. Dave is one of Charlottesville’s best restaurateurs, but did you know he is also an art aficionado and an aesthete?
In addition to the restaurant, Dave manages the C&O Gallery - which is located next door to the restaurant. Now, people who know me know that I hate the trend of hanging art in the local restaurants, bars, coffee shops, law firms and chiropractor’s offices and calling it an "exhibition." Quite honestly, I consider it a step below vanity galleries. The C&O Gallery is not this. Dave has a true love of art and its professional presentation. He also has a huge desire to see artists succeed. By making a portion of his space available for exhibiting art (rather than loading the floor space with tables and chairs and selling more food and drink), Dave shows us all his commitment to his passions by using the space as an art gallery.
And don’t think Dave doesn’t have an excellent eye for the best art this town has to offer. He has brought us shows by the likes of Bill Emory, Michael Fitts (the same show that sold out in New York City), Leah Fanning Mebane, Tom Cogill, John Hetzel and others. Not bad for a guy who specializes in food and wine.
The truth is Dave doesn’t have to do this. He owns (in my opinion) the best restaurant and catering service in Charlottesville. The C&O Restaurant combines a top notch menu with the best wine selection I can think of. So, adding the struggles of managing an art gallery shouldn’t be a priority for Dave. But it is. He has admitted his simple love of doing it and the satisfaction he gets from it. To us, it shows.
Some people may think this DaVinci award is based more on personal feelings rather than objective facts. But, bear with me… Dave has been a real champion of Migration and the kind of business we are bringing to Charlottesville. Laura and I have repeatedly been buoyed by Dave’s support and friendship. Thanks, Dave!