What's Out There Virginia Takes Off

The gardens at Morven near Charlottesville, designed in part by Annette Hoyt Flanders
The gardens at Morven near Charlottesville, designed in part by Annette Hoyt Flanders - Photo by Brian C. Flynn, 2011


In June, The Cultural Landscape Foundation began work on an exciting new initiative, What's Out There Virginia, which will add at least 100 new landscapes to the foundation’s What's Out There (WOT) database of America’s designed landscapes.

Hollywood Cemetery

One James River Plaza

Hollywood Cemetery and One James River Plaza, both in Richmond,
reflect the city's diverse landscape heritage that WOT Virginia will
The program is supported in part by a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works program, with matching funds from the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Architecture's Sara Shallenberger Brown Cultural Landscape Initiative. The project is being conducted in partnership with faculty and students from the landscape architecture programs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and UVA.

WOT Virginia will engage students directly in the project by hiring them for full or part time work during the summer, spring and fall semesters to identify landscapes and research and write about them. “The What's Out There Virginia project will create more than an inventory of the Commonwealth's historically significant designed landscapes--from Colonial gardens to modern parkways. It will become an important tool for preserving, planning, designing and managing Virginia's rich cultural landscape heritage. We look forward to this new and exciting collaboration with The Cultural Landscape Foundation,” said Elizabeth K. Meyer, Associate Professor, Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Faculty Chair of Regenerate. The Design, Preservation and Sustainability Collaborative, UVA School of Architecture. WOT Virginia is the second state-specific initiative TCLF has begun and follows the addition of more than 150 Maine sites in 2012, an NEA funded project done with the Maine Historical Society. TCLF has also started What's Out There Texas, working with Texas’ four university-level landscape architecture programs.


The garden of the Benjamin Powell House in Williamsburg, one
of numerous Colonial Revival landscapes in What's Out There.
Image courtesy Colonial WIlliamsburg.
An important part of these efforts to increase What's Out There content across a given state is the partnerships TCLF is establishing with local landscape and preservation-oriented non-profits and state agencies. In Virginia, staff and volunteers with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Scenic Virginia, Virginia Chapter of the ASLA, and other groups are all on board to help identify sites and resources and act as mentors for the students. Once the material is posted and complete, it will provide an invaluable resource for a wide range of users, from students to local residents to tourists interested in landscapes and the cultural history of Virginia. And, TCLF has just completed optimization of WOT for smartphones and other handheld devices, making the content more widely available to all audiences.

Do you have thoughts or suggestions for Virginia sites or other useful resources? Contact Matthew Traucht to share your ideas.