The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative
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Category — Gallery Exhibits

TENSION: Selected works from U.Va. Studio Art


Friday, May 16: 5:00-7:00 pm
Saturday, May 17: 12:00-3:00 pm

Please  join us for a special show of U.Va. studio art projects, curated by Bridge PAI director, Matthew Slaats.

Tension is an active relationship, taking place between two things.  It can be directed in a singular direction, with one side exerting pressure.  Or, it can be equal forces, that either attract or repel.  Either way, a connection has been made and continues to take place.

Tension may be mutual or one sided.  It can consist of a linkage between two people however positioned. Or be tied to something, held by one, but not the other, a perception of what has been or could be.  

Tension can be both negative and positive.  It can be that moment of initial attraction, where the desire to meet is overwhelming.  Or it can repel, a friction that constantly puts nerves on edge.

For the first annual UVA Student Exhibition at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, the show takes the concept of tension as its focus, searching for its many manifestations. Whether played out between the artist’s body and their work, the artwork and its audience, or situated directly within the medium, our attention is centered on the inherent relationships that bind two things together and the ramifications of those interactions.  The results may be the work of art, the interplay of actors on a video screen, or how an audience engages in an experience long past.  No matter, tension, even if only momentary, is at the heart of this work, creating dynamic interplay amongst the various constituencies that engage it.

Jordan Fowler – drawing
Sara Blake – photo
Michelle Lee – video
Constanze Brand – photo
Ally Burnett –  audio/photo
Mitch Oliver – installation
Nathan Wiser – text

May 12, 2014   Comments Off

I-Connect and Scholar’s Lab Exhibit


Throughout February, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative is presenting an exhibition of photography the brings together two unique perspectives of Charlottesville, that of the annual Bridge PAI’s iConnect program and the aerial photography work of the University of Virginia Scholars’ Lab. The exhibition will open Friday, February 7th at 5pm at the Bridge PAI, 209 Monticello Rd. Charlottesville, VA 22902.

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January 31, 2014   Comments Off


surprise poster

SURPRISE is a group exhibit featuring work by the following artists:

Patrick Costello – Victoria Long – Leif Low-Beer – Ellen Nielsen – Mike Perry – Travis Robertson – Julia Sharpe – Roger Williams

Each artist will display one sculptural work and a related limited edition print. The prints will be gathered into sets, bound with twine and accompanied by a flier explaining the exhibit. In partnership with Community Bikes, volunteer bicyclists will distribute the sets indiscriminately to passers-by on the streeton January 17-19.

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December 25, 2013   Comments Off

Sept Exhibition – Banner Days

photo courtesy of Jeroen van Paasen

photo courtesy of Jeroen van Paasen

Opening Reception – Friday, October 4th – 6 – 9pm

During October of 2013 The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative will be exhibiting the work of  Seattle based artist Tom Hughes. Part of a series entitled Banner Days, Tom creates phrases that are displayed throughout the community on banners to elicit questions and new understandings.

The project will be initially displayed at The Bridge PAI and then hung at various sites throughout Charlottesville.

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September 30, 2013   Comments Off

Public Artists – Johanna Leech


Exhibition Opening – November 1st  5 – 8pm

Throughout October and November of 2013, Belfast based artist, Johanna Leech, will be joining The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative as a part of their Public Artists residency program. A new initiative by The Bridge, this program connects innovative artists with the local community as a catalyst for new ideas and actions in Central Virginia.

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September 30, 2013   Comments Off

Virginia Folklife Apprentice Program

Virginia Folklife Apprentice Program

Exhibition – September 6th – 28th
Reception Sept. 14th 7pm

For the past ten years the Virginia Folklife Program at VFH has been awarding grants to master traditional artists and craftspeople to take on an apprentice and teach them the traditions of the previous generations throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Over the past three years Pat Jarrett has been photographing the pairs of masters and apprentices. On Saturday, September 14 we will host an opening reception at The Bridge PAI showcasing the last several years of the project. A selection of masters and apprentices will be attending to share their crafts.

August 26, 2013   Comments Off

Mark Strandquist- Some Other Places We’ve Missed


Some Other Places We’ve Missed

Mark Strandquist

The Bridge PAI | June 2013

Reception June 7th 6-9PM

Art Opens a Window onto Impact of Prison

Charlottesville, VA — The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative is thrilled to exhibit “Some Other Places We’ve Missed,” an ongoing project by artist Mark Strandquist. The project engages those incarcerated in jails and prisons by asking them the question, “If you had a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?” Participants were then invited to choose a site, which was photographed, and a print was given back to display in their cell. This inquiry facilitates a humanistic window into the histories, realities, and desires of some of the 2.3 million incarcerated Americans.  The Bridge will host an opening reception June 7th from 6-9pm along with a series of films, talks, and public events free to the public throughout the month of June.

Based in Richmond, VA, Mark Strandquist strives to facilitate interactions that incorporate viewers as direct participants, features histories that are typically distorted or ignored, and challenges the form and function of public space. “I’m interested in helping to facilitate exhibitions that function not as culminations, but as starting points and catalysts for community engagement,” states the artist.  His work has been featured in various institutions, film festivals, print and online magazines, and independent galleries. The project Write Home Soon was exhibited in the 2012-13 international showcase of Socially Engaged Art at the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC.

“Mark brings a strong belief that art is more than just about hanging an image on a wall or placing a sculpture in a public place,” says Bridge Director, Matthew Slaats. “Much like the Bridge, Mark sees art as a way of starting a conversation within and throughout the community.”

For further information about events surrounding this project and other programs hosted at the Bridge, you can go to our website at or visit us on Facebook at


June 7
Opening 6 – 9pm
Art and Incarceration – 6pm
Carolyn LeCroy –
Andy Kaufman – books behind bars
Mark- Some Other Places We’ve Missed
Letter Writing Workshop – ongoing throughout the day

June 8
Film Screening: Herman’s House
Letter Writing Workshop – ongoing throughout the day

June 14
Artist Talk- 7pm Mark Strandquist and Matthew Slaats

June 15th
Poetry in Prison with WTJU – 1 – 2pm
Panel Talk – 2pm – 3:30pm
More than A Witness – Photography as Social Engagement
David Levi Strauss – Critical Studies – SVA
Edgar Endress – Floating Lab Collective/GMU – Pedagogy
Matthew Slaats – The Bridge PAI- Curatorial/Practice
Yukiko Yamagata – Open Society Foundation

June 22
Cool Hand Luke

June 28th
Community Panel Talk – 6PM
Dorothy Tompkins – Georgia’s Friends
Ann Loper – Prisoners and their Families Project
Phyllis Bank – Albemarle County Jail

Details of some events:

June 7 | 6 – 9pm

Opening  Reception and Panel Talk

To celebrate the opening of “Some Other Places We’ve Missed,” the Bridge is hosting an opening reception and panel talk.  The panel talk is entitled – Art and Incarceration. This will bring together Carolyn LeCroy from The Messages Project, UVA faculty Andy Kaufman of the Books Behind Bars program, and artist Mark Strandquist to talk about art and culture in prisons. Check out our facebook event here.

June 8 – 5-7pm

Film Screening and Letter Writing Workshop

The injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art are explored in Herman’s House, a feature documentary that follows the unlikely friendship between a New York artist and one of America’s most famous inmates as they collaborate on an acclaimed art project. This will also include a letter-writing workshop to connect the audience with those in prisons. Check it out on Facebook.

June 14 | 7pm

Artist Talk

Join the Bridge as Executive Director Matthew Slaats and exhibiting artist Mark Strandquist talk about “Some Other Places We’ve Missed,” an exhibition of work produced with those incarcerated with those in local jails. Learn more on Facebook.

June 15 | 1 – 2pm

Poetry in Prison with WTJU
As a part of the “Some Other Places We’ve Missed” exhibition at the Bridge, Poetry in Prison will create a direct feed between a local jail and the gallery.  During this time Prisoners and the audience will engage in discussion and the reading of poetry.  This will be simulcast with WTJU. Find out more on Facebook.

June 15 |  2pm – 3:30pm

Panel Talk

More than A Witness – Photography as Social Engagement
During this hour and a half long talk, David Levi Strauss, Chair of Critical Studies at the School of Visual Arts, Edgar Endress of Floating Lab Collective, Yukiko Yamagata of the Open Society Foundation, and Matthew Slaats, Executive Director of the Bridge, will discuss how art facilitates dialogue, reaching out to engage broader audiences and subjects. Go to the Facebook page here.

June 28 | 6 – 7:30pm

Community Panel Talk - Efforts in the Community

Location – TBA
For this panel talk, members of the local community will come together to discuss their work to engage those affected by incarceration. This will include Dorothy Tompkins of Georgia’s Friends, Ann Loper of Prisoners and their Families Project, and Phyllis Bank from the Albemarle County Jails. More information to be announced on Facebook here.

May 18, 2013   Comments Off

El Trabajo – iConnect Program Students


May 3rd-25th | Opening Reception May 3rd 5-7PM

El Trabajo

Each summer, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Charlottesville, Virginia partners with the Albemarle County Public Schools’ Office of Community Engagement to offer the iConnect Photo and Writing Workshop. iConnect matches a diverse and talented group of students with volunteer working photographers and writers. They produce a book of images and poems, organized around a theme that the group explores in and around Charlottesville. This year’s theme is work: El Trabajo.

The middle of June is rush hour for volunteers from The Bridge– artists, photographers, writers– preparing for the opening of the summer iConnect writing workshop. The fresh, white paper of students’ writing journals gleams on a neat stack of clipboards on a table in the gallery; in the office, a photographer formats memory cards, an intern wrangles an appointment for the group to visit a local business the next week, and a poet sharpens pencil after pencil, thinking only of the ideas stored within each one.

But on the third Monday in June, the apprehension is done: each volunteer has been trained, each ride arranged and contingency imagined, and each student files in through the sun-drenched door of The Bridge, ready to find the images and compose the poems to make this year’s iConnect workshop collection. The vibe in the room is ready and calm; everyone knows what we’re here to do, and everyone’s ready to play their role in the drama of a week of working artists and writers.

An iConnect week starts slowly: a primer and refresher on aperture and shutter speed, a lesson on metaphor and simile. In both the visual and the linguistic: detail, detail, detail. Composition. Narrative. When we make our way into the city to find material and people at work, each student is paired with an individual mentor; cameras around their necks, they look, ask, talk, and look again. The mentors answer, ask back, look, write. The week carries us through the city’s neighborhoods and places of business: a furniture shop in full swing, an automotive garage taking a breather over the lunch hour, a barber shop full of chatter, television, and the sound of clippers, a restaurant breaking down lamb carcasses for the grill, a bright-lit room redolent of every spice imaginable. The week is a feast for the senses, a creative hothouse, a reason to keep going.

El Trabajo is iConnect’s fifth iteration, following La Ciudad, El Barrio, La Finca, and El Rio. As lead instructor in photography and writing, it was my great pleasure to work with Greg Kelly from The Bridge and Gloria Rockhold from the Albemarle County Public Schools; Greg and Gloria’s vision for this program has made possible many productive and happy hours for a great many deserving young artists who’ll carry forward, for the rest of their lives, the sense of accomplishment and confidence embodied in this book. I’d also like to thank our volunteers: Anna Caritj, Nell Boeschenstein, Jason Keefer, Tammy Williams, Matthew Denton-Edmundson, Megan Bent, Peggy Harrison, Molly Woodriff, Laura Aimone, and Riley Duncan. A special thanks goes to Bridge intern Zaina Natour, whose support was constant and invaluable.

– John Casteen

April 28, 2013   Comments Off

Benjamin Jasnow | John Woodman

Front 1

Fishing With Foxes



April 5 – April 26, 2013

Opening on “First Friday,” April 5, 5:30-8 pm

**This Show Contains Images That May Not Be Appropriate for All Viewers.

Parental Discretion is Advised.

Ancient Songs, Modern Muses is a joint exhibition of art and poetry from London-based painter John Woodman and Charlottesville poet and classicist Ben Jasnow. Woodman and Jasnow illustrate and translate the Idylls of Theocritus. Each original verse translation is paired with several of Woodman’s contemporary, interpretive illustrations. A talk and poetry reading will accompany the unveiling of the exhibit, “First Friday,” April 5, 2013, 5:30-8 pm.

The Ancient Greek poet Theocritus, who lived in the 3rd century BC, was the father of pastoral poetry. His Idylls are intense works of erotic longing, idealized rustic scenes and mythical tales.

Theocritus was a poet with strong ties to his native Sicily, interested in popular traditions and local culture, yet the world in which he lived was one of rapid globalization. The questions posed by the Idylls resonate in our own time. How does local culture persist in the face of increasing cosmopolitanism? How can we adapt traditional culture to our own time? What is the nature of communication and artistic exchange in a world that is increasingly chaotic and confusing?

John Woodman is an English painter. He has exhibited across the United Kingdom and internationally, in such places as the Mall Galleries and Royal Scottish Academy. In 2010 he was an artist in residence in the McGuffey Art Centre in Virginia, USA, and his work has been chosen for the Discerning Eye Prize. He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2006 with a sell-out degree show.

Ben Jasnow is a poet and PhD candidate in the Department of Classics at the University of Virginia, where he has taught classes on ancient languages and literature. His dissertation, entitled What the Shepherds Sing: Popular Culture and Local Identity in the Bucolic Idylls of Theocritus, investigates the relation of the poet to the culture of his native Sicily. Jasnow’s poetry has been published by journals in the US and overseas.

March 23, 2013   Comments Off

Man v/s Nurture


Man v/s Nurture
February 1st – 28th at The Bridge PAI

Spriggan creates a pro-feminist celebration of Charlottesville men that have chosen career and/or public services that value nurturing qualities with his detailed pencil portraits.  The exhibit will feature twelve drawings of Charlottesville men that have chosen careers or social roles that are nurturing, or encouraging empathy and cooperation as opposed to hierarchy and anger-selective emotional expression.   The show functions as a positive reinforcement and celebration of the ways that men are already encouraged to be emotionally available and empathetic, redefining masculine norms.

January 15, 2013   Comments Off