Face to Face: Portraits of our Vibrant City

Click buttons above to view portrait collections from previous years.


Applications due November 16

COVID-19 STATEMENT: We are aware that a program called “Face to Face” seems as if it has the potential to run contrary to the distancing efforts that we’re all maintaining in order to keep each other safe. The irony is not lost on us. In a time of pervasive loneliness and decreased opportunities for genuine social connection, we are enthusiastic to work with selected artists to offer this program in a manner that respects the safety and health of all participants and our broader community. All recommended distancing protocol will be met or exceeded as the Face to Face program continues into it’s fourth season.


Face To Face: Portraits of Our Vibrant City uses the intimate process of portraiture to connect artists and community members who have different life experiences. Part portraiture and part biography, Face to Face uses the strengths, experiences, and passions of vibrant individuals in our community to inform masterfully created portraits. Strongly in tune with our mission to bridge diverse communities through the arts, this project fosters interpersonal relationships among the people of our city. It initiates dialogue about equity, value, and perception. Portraits are exhibited at the Bridge and then gifted from the artists to the community members.



Face To Face provides Charlottesville artists with the opportunity to serve fellow community members. It offers a unique opportunity for artists and subjects to meaningfully connect with each other.


  1. Facilitate connection between artists and community members.
  2. Commission artists to explore socially engaged art.
  3. Increase representation of vibrant diversity in Charlottesville and initiate dialogue about equity, value, and perception.
  4. Promote vibrancy and unity in our community.


  • The Bridge commissions Charlottesville area artists and pairs them with community members. Based on biographical info, consideration is made to pair artists and community members with different life experiences.
  • Artists create a portrait informed by the personal experiences of the community member and the connection made.
  • The portraits may be in any still visual medium. When applying, the artist should explain how the process used will allow meaningful interaction and connection.
  • The Bridge holds a reception to celebrate the work, our city’s vibrancy, and the relationships formed. Artists and portrayed individuals make biographical statements and comment on the process and result.
  • The Bridge “tours” the exhibition, printing high resolution images and making the collection available on loan to government, nonprofit, and private institutions seeking to emphasize the unity and vibrancy of our community.
  • Artists gift the portrait to the community member for whom it was painted.


  1. By pairing members of the Charlottesville community, Face To Face connects people who may not otherwise meet – highlighting the city’s vibrancy, diversity, and unity.
  2. Artists serve their Charlottesville neighbors by painting a portrait for them to keep.
  3. Face To Face results in a public exhibition showcasing portraits and including written and/or spoken accounts of the participants’ biographical info and experiences of the process.
  4. The Bridge produces quality print reproductions of portraits for public display. Images and stories are published on the web.


Application Details



Face To Face: Portraits of Our Vibrant City uses the process of portraiture to provide Charlottesville artists and community members the opportunity to connect with those they might not otherwise meet. Each year, The Bridge pairs each artists with good people and commissions them to create a portrait for the individual. Prior to the portraits being gifted from the artists to the community members, they will be exhibited during the month of February in The Bridge’s Belmont gallery.

A jury of engaged artists and community members will select qualified applicants based on the following criteria:

  • Caliber of work
  • Potential for personal and artistic growth
  • Experience and interest in social practice
  • Ability to maintain project commitments
  • Inclusion of varied perspectives and media
  • Understanding and alignment with the goals of the project

Applicants must submit the following:

  • 4 work samples with short descriptions
  • A one-page statement of interest that addresses your work and interest in the program as well as any information the jury should consider when reviewing your candidacy. This should include insight into how your creative process may lend itself to creating a connection with the portrait recipient.
  • (Optional) A one-page CV, resume, or website

Submission materials should submitted through the form above (link) by November 16, 2020. Selected artists will be notified Mid to Late November. For any questions please email Selected artists must present portraits hang-ready by the deadline of February 1st 2021. Artist payment will be rendered at this time.