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Sarah Shallenberger Brown

Sarah Shallenberger Brown (1911-2011) was a renowned philanthropist and activist for historic preservation and environmental conservation causes across all scales. She attended Sweet Briar College (Outstanding Alum, 1991) where she studied art and graduated in 1932. She resided in Louisville for over seventy-five years, where she and her husband W.L. Lyons Brown (1906-1973) raised four children.

Sarah (Sally) Brown's life-long interests in the arts as well as the conservation and curation of historic sites and natural places was accompanied by extraordinary generosity to many institutions and organizations. Sally's causes ranged from the Kentucky landscape to those of national and global import. She contributed her intellect, political support and financial backing to land acquisition in and around Louisville, to the designation of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, and research that supported the Kyoto Protocols. Over her lifetime, she supported organizations such as the Audubon Society, the American Farmland Trust, the Nature Conservancy, Woods Hole Research Station and the World Wildlife Fund as well as the Louisville Waterfront Park planned and designed by Hargreaves and Associates in the 1980s-90s. Sally's connections to UVA were initially through her husband, a UVA alumnus.  Since the 1950s, several of Sally and Lyons’ children and grandchildren have also attended the University.

The scope and reach of Sally Brown’s concerns and passions map squarely onto the aspirations of the University of Virginia School of Architecture’s cultural landscapes and sites initiatives that range from research, interpretation, preservation, planning and design of sites that are full of both history and nature, memories and living systems, contested narratives and disturbed ecosystems.

For additional information on Sally Brown, see the 2006 Kentucky Educational Television produced a program narrated by Joanne Woodward titled “Sally Brown. Force of Nature.”


Cary Brown Epstein

Cary Brown, a University of Virginia alumnae (College 1984), is a Charlottesville artist, philanthropist, and sustainable farmer. She endowed the Sarah Shallenberger Brown Cultural Landscapes and Sites Initiative at the University of Virginia School of Architecture in 2009. Cary’s decision to honor her grandmother Sally Brown with the UVA Cultural Landscapes and Sites initiative is a fitting tribute for such a renown environmental philanthropist whose interests spanned the historic and biophysical landscape.

This endowment also resonates with Cary’s personal interests from her art practice to the management of her rural landscape. Cary has been exhibiting her paintings at Les Yeux du Monde in Charlottesville since 1995. In the 2014 show, Visions of Spring, Cary’s work depicted birds, a nod to her naturalist grandmother. She and her husband run a foundation, the Fiddlehead Fund, that supports arts that exploring environmental issues such as global warming. Recently, Cary and her cousins supported the production of a film documentary on novelist, poet and environmental activist Wendell Berry, a Kentucky native whose book, The Unsettling America. Culture and Agriculture (1977), influenced contemporary concerns for small-scale farming, local food production and food urbanism.

Cary serves as a Board member of the Audubon Society and the W.L. Lyons Brown Foundation, as well as a trustee of BOMB-Artists in Conversation Magazine. She served on the UVA Fralin Museum of Art Advisory Board from 1995-2014.