Community gathers for “Face to Face” art exhibition to showcase community diversity

Part of the Charlottesville community is using the art of portraiture to come together.
Updated: Feb. 7, 2020 at 8:41 PM EST

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Part of the Charlottesville community is using the art of portraiture to come together.

A group of area artists is taking part in the “Face to Face” portrait exhibition to start a dialogue and showcase people of all different backgrounds in the community.

The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative started the annual exhibit three years ago to share the diversity of the community. Each of the participating artists were selected by a committee of judges and then paired randomly with subjects

“One of the things that we love about this program is that it increases visibility of the sort of Charlottesville as we see it and as artists in our community see it,” said Alan Goffinski, the executive director of The Bridge.

Kori Price is one of the artists taking part in the exhibition; photography has been her passion for about six years.

“Part of it is just wanting to get connected to other people and to learn new things and to learn from new people,” Price said. “and the other part of it is that there's somebody's story that I can help tell then I want to be able to help them tell it”

Her photograph tells the story of a Guatemalan woman named Maria Chalavan Sut. Sut is living in sanctuary in a Charlottesville church while seeking asylum in the United States.

“I wanted to really just encapsulate what it's like to both be sort of isolated in this place where she's full of faith and faith is surrounding her as well,” Price said.

Price spent two days with Sut to capture the photo, communicating mostly through a translator.

“We have this incredible opportunity to connect artists of different backgrounds to community members of different backgrounds, different lived experiences to create this sort of authentic opportunity,” Goffinski said.

The exhibit also serves as a community reminder of the area's diversity, he added.

“We like to see this incredible kind of growing gallery over the years of what Charlottesville looks like through the eyes of Charlottesville's artists,” Goffinski said.

After Friday’s opening reception, the portraits will be on display until the end of February before going home with each of the respective subjects.

“After the show, I'll be able to go back and visit Maria and give this to her, present this to her as well as a few copies that she could send to her children,” Price said.

This project was also made possible through thousands of dollars in donations from the Bama Works Fund, Goffinski added.

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