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Live Arts & The Bridge partner on new artist awards

February 2, 2023 – In partnership with The Bridge Progressive Art Initiative, Live Arts is pleased to present the 2023 WATERWORKS Artist Awards! A celebration of collaboration in the spirit of community connection and artistic solidarity, the awards pair theater and visual artists in the development of new work as part of Live Arts’ first annual WATERWORKS festival of new work. 

About the Collaboration

WATERWORKS by The Bridge, is a partnership co-founded by Live Arts New Works Director Adrienne Oliver and The Bridge PAI Executive Director Jay Simple to support local artists by investing in their emergent practices as performers, educators, and collaborators. 

We are committed to cultivating new work, supporting artists in the development of their artistic practice, and galvanizing shared space, both literal and social. As a new partnership within predominantly white fields, we seek to champion programming representative of the abundant talent and craftsmanship across our dynamic community.

Jay Simple
Jay Simple, Executive Director of The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative. Photo by K. Finn.

2023 Artist Awards

Charlottesville-area residents are invited to complete nomination forms in one of two awards categories, wall murals or performing arts. 

With each award, we champion artistic distinction and emergent practices, intending to stoke collaborations between early-career artists across mediums and to disrupt access inequities in our community

As a part of the awards, WATERWORKS x The Bridge will support one performance artist’s conception and facilitation of a four-session, public-facing workshop, occurring weekly during WATERWORKS, culminating in a public performance. The partners will also support a visual artist in the creation of a mural in collaboration with the performance artist through public-facing workshops and mentorship through the Charlottesville Mural Project. Each resident will receive a $1500 stipend and access to The Bridge’s Center for Creative Collaboration, where they will receive a year-long membership to their co-working space.

Established to recognize the creative capacity, power, and beauty of public art, the visual art award recognizes the potential of emerging artists to amplify silenced narratives and brighten our community’s landscape. By providing a stipend and all materials, we hope to develop the artist’s vision and execution of a new mural to be unveiled at Live Arts in June, 2023.

Designed to recognize the creative capacity, power, and stamina of solo performers, performance artists, and conceptual creators, the performance award recognizes the potential for one voice, one story, to transform. The $1500 award is intended to honor and encourage the artist’s development and experimentation.

The Bridge PAI will sponsor both awardees with access to their new creative center located at 306 E. Main Street on the Downtown Mall. The Bridge PAI offers innovative studios for artists across mediums through co-working space, private studios, and access to tools and equipment. 

Distinguished project proposals will demonstrate innovative and thought-provoking themes, strong concept, evidence of planning and consideration, and relevant personal, artistic, and biographical information. We are especially interested in artists and proposals from historically erased artists and writers and proposals. 

The deadline for nominations is Monday, March 6. Questions may be sent to

About the Partners

Live Arts is a welcoming home for all stories and storytellers. Its engagement in local communities runs deep, and it happily attracts participants and audiences from across Central Virginia. Live Arts is known for exceptionally high-caliber productions that reflect the remarkable talent of its volunteer actors and production teams. For more than three decades, Live Arts has dedicated itself to the mission of “forging theater and community” in Charlottesville, Virginia.  

The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative builds, strengthens, and supports creative connections by providing financial resources, workspaces, and collaborative opportunities to empower the greater Charlottesville community. By placing creatives at the forefront of conversations, we use the creative process to educate, empower, energize, and engage Charlottesville and beyond. We envision a vibrant, accessible arts community that improves cultural, social, environmental, and economic possibilities for our creative world.

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