2016 Public Artist Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell

The Bridge PAI, Charlottesville’s Creative Hub, is pleased to announce local performance and theatre artist Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell as the 2016 Public Artist. Each year through its artist residency program, The Bridge makes a significant investment in an artist it believes represents the professional and creative best that Charlottesville has to offer. During the year, the artist is tasked with creating a work of art that directly impacts the community through its production and presentation.

Long know as an innovator in the creative community, Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell is best known for her collaborative work with theatre company Performers Exchange Project (PEP), which co-produced the 2006 A Charlottesville Wunderkammer and 2007’s SHENTAI at the IX Building. In 2008 she co-founded the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW). In addition, Jennifer is an accomplished playwright, and the instigator of a host of other creative projects.

Through her residency, Jennifer will produce a site-specific multimedia public performance piece entitled NO WAKE. Originally written in 2014, NO WAKE is a mythic story of a widow whose grief is so enormous that she tries to abandon her child and ends up causing a storm that tears their house from shore. As they are cast adrift, they are faced with a series of challenges in order to survive.

NO WAKE will blend the work of professional artists with that of community members, and encompass four aspects:

1) A multimedia outdoor performance and dance installation, produced by and featuring local professional artists, which will take place at the upper portion of the IX Art Park Thursdays through Saturdays March 17-April 16 beginning at 7pm. Reserved seating is available by purchasing tickets online, or free seating is available at the performances on a first come basis.

2) The dance installation piece will showcase a brigade of young dancers known as the Water Bearers comprising over 30 middle-school aged girls, and created in collaboration with residents of Friendship Court, with rehearsals at the Friendship Court Community Center. The Water Bearers will perform from roughly 7pm to 8pm as part of each NO WAKE performance.

3) Jennifer is working with art students at Walker Upper Elementary School and engineering students at Buford Middle School to create a massive monster puppet made from recycled plastic water bottles that will be used in the performances.

4) The Messages in Bottles installation will include anonymous messages crafted by middle-school and older children, including students at the Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center, either in response to prompts relating to the themes of NO WAKE, or according to their inspiration. The messages will be placed in glass bottles, and these will be displayed in various locations, including small businesses around the community. The installation’s purpose is for the community to have a chance to hear the thoughts and feelings of this segment of our community, and for the students to identify their values and describe their memories.

“The Bridge is very excited to be working with Jennifer. She’s an artist that we have long admired,” says Executive Director, Matthew Slaats. “She is a true professional in every respect, and is a catalyst for showing the important role the arts play in Charlottesville.”

“I am beyond thrilled, honored, and grateful to be given resources to create meaningful, accessible public art and performance in my own community,” say Public Artist, Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell. “In collaboration with some of the most talented and visionary artists and organizations in our region, I look forward to offering up an evocative and provocative experience for all. The new year-long Public Artist residency is a model for how Charlottesville must support individual artists if we want a rich climate for daring, serious art.”

More information about the artist, her project, and this residency can be found at

To volunteer or learn more about NO WAKE, contact Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell at