To spark creativity and inspiration in people’s everyday lives.
Embracing the emerging trend toward immersive art experiences, we want to inspire people to find their own spark of imagination and creativity, and bring it to life using multiple artistic mediums.
Why IX [ɪks̠]?
Founded in 1919, Frank Ix & Sons was originally based in Union City, New Jersey. In 1928, Frank Ix, Jr. moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to build the third and eventually largest of six mills. He’d only planned to stay a year but liked it so much, he stayed a lifetime.
Known around town as the silk mill, Ix & Sons produced “greige goods”, unfinished fabrics. During World War II, Ix & Sons shifted the emphasis of their output from bolts of fabric to nylon parachutes. Four times, the Undersecretary of War awarded Ix & Sons the Army-Navy Production Award, both for their industry and their contribution to the development of new fabrics such as rip-stop nylon, a true lifesaver for American paratroopers. For decades, Ix & Sons was Charlottesville’s largest employer, known for its fairness and warm family atmosphere. Most employees stayed with the mill at least twenty-five years. Many never worked anywhere else.
But in 1999, the grand old mill bowed to an enemy it could not see; a depressed domestic textile market. Their high of 1,400 employees shrank to only 150. After years of struggling, Ix & Sons finally succumbed to the pressure of foreign competition and closed its doors.
In 2014, local developer Ludwig Kuttner and local filmmaker Brian Wimer sought to revitalize the property and soon, the steel and concrete skeleton of the warehouse erupted in colorful murals, life-size sculptures and installations that invited people of all ages to touch, draw and play with art.
Growing in the Community
Over the years, event programming began taking place on an outdoor stage among the art and later inside the old warehouse. Free outdoor concert series, weekly salsa dancing, tributes to great artists like David Bowie and Aretha Franklin, a winter farmers’ market... there have been precious few limits to what we could do with art and community in Charlottesville.
We currently produce over 250 events a year spanning many genres of music, dance, film, theater, crafts, and visual art, as well as family-friendly events, wellness-oriented events, events promoting diversity and inclusion, and one-of-a-kind immersive experiences like black light body paint parties and costumed theme nights such as Studio 54 or Roaring ‘20s.
In September 2019, we received our official 501(c)3 status as a nonprofit organization.
In January 2020, we opened the Looking Glass, Virginia’s first immersive art space.
Ix is a place of
We welcome our diverse communities and everything they have to offer.
We believe in the power of imagination.
We turn up the quirk and celebrate the process.
We embrace creative partnerships based on mutual respect.
Founder, The Bigger Picture; Cofounder, The Spread
Principal Product Strategist, Willowtree
Former Paramount BOD, UVA Dean of Spanish
Founder & Executive Director, IX Art Park
Chairperson Virginia Tourism Corporation, Board of Directors
President, Studio IX and Vault Virginia
Former President, Tyson's Corner Business District
Executive Director, Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative & Charlottesville Mural Project
Founder and Co-Owner,
Chief Executive Officer,
President, Stay Charlottesville
Opinion Columnist, New York Times
President and Founder, North American Sake
Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation
Development Director, Black Women of Central Virginia
President, United Way of Greater Charlottesville
Programs & Communication Director for UVA Arts and Special Assistant to the Vice Provost for the Arts
Founder, Ix Art Park
Chief Curator of Education, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Founder, Owner, and Chief Instructor, Zabor Dance Studio
Pan "Patti" Tian
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, RevArt
Executive Director, CACVB