Thanks for being a part of it.
It has become an eye-rolling cliche to talk about these unprecedented times, but we at The Bridge feel extraordinarily proud that 2020 has seen this organization meet the moment. We’ve rapidly and passionately refocused toward a deeply understood purpose; arts and culture as a catalyst for connection, growth and change. We’re decisively standing alongside our city’s artists for the sake of a better Charlottesville. With ongoing support from you and each resolute donor, volunteer, or artist, we’ve been able to do what we do best; connect, respond and inspire.
Always outside the box. As social distancing placed limits on our gallery space, we overhauled our approach with a bold array of projects that thwarted any white walls. The radical possibility of social change this summer also led us to focus our efforts toward centering Black perspectives. From murals to public exhibits on the Downtown Mall, we continue to be dynamic and proactive in efforts to reflect important voices in our public spaces. Your support has also propelled our expanded emphasis on arts accessibility and direct relief to artists. Together, we forge ahead with inspired, relational experiences that emphasize our humanity and bolster the importance of creativity for every person.
The Summer of 2020 will be remembered for the great flowering of public protest and a blooming consciousness around issues of systemic racism and abolition movements. By standing with artists and culture-shapers within our community, our organization has learned a lot. We also understand how art & culture are fundamental to the immense and ongoing work of constructing a more equitable and just future. In this spirit, we schemed new ways to showcase big ideas. Illuminating, a powerful evolving exhibition of images showcased the work of Black artists responding to our current political moment. Rad Press — our project repurposing old news racks as a local alternative print stand — exemplifies The Bridge as a point of connection and positive exchange. With our Studi0.00 effort, we literally handed over the gallery keys to hard working artists displaced by, or reckoning with, the pandemics of the uncontained virus and systemic racism.
We’re proud to continue to expand the focus of our work beyond the gallery and to nurture the creative roots of Charlottesville. Whether through direct pandemic relief efforts, or by providing resources for art creation and exhibition, we’re responding to the reality that artists suffer the same as anyone, if not more acutely, during a crisis. Programs like the Artists Relief Fund put over $50,000 directly into the hands of vulnerable artists. Art Apart, and Community Coloring Book built on great programs like smART KIDS that addressed essential gaps in youth arts education, and Face to Face used portraiture to broaden our vision of our city by pairing local artists with new faces. This is just an overview of the compelling work we’ve been carrying out. Would you like to hear more?
As the year comes to a close, please make a financial pledge or become a member of The Bridge. Continue onward with us as we navigate the challenges of this moment and harness the dynamic creative energy of Charlottesville through art and culture that connects and invites. We rely on your support.
Director, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative