Front Royal group helps community connect through art

Virginia

The United ShenValley artist group started the Bridge Project to combat division and forge relationships among people in the Shenandoah valley using all forms of art.

“There’s a lot of words thrown out around, about each other, labels boxes that we’re all getting put in, but at the end of the day we are more alike than we’re not,” said Tammy Ruggiero of United ShenValley.

Tammy Ruggiero and Heather Davis said that with the help of a heated political climate, people tend to focus on each others differences before realizing the things they have in common.

“Our hopes for our children, wanting clean environment, wanting to be respected, we all share those,”  Heather Davis of United ShenValley artist said.

The project invites community members to submit artwork and writing, which will be on 5×7 postcards.

The cards will feature, quotes, drawings, and collages with a goal of promoting connections, and beautifying parts of Front Royal with images and messages of positivity and acceptance.

“This is a country that’s changing. We are a country of many cultures and we’re always going to be, and a country where we’ve learned that we have to respect people of all sexualities, all genders, all religions, and that not going to change, we are only going to get more diverse,” Davis said.

The group has a goal off collecting 200 pieces that will cover a traveling bridge that will eventually be displayed in public spaces in Front Royal. 

“Maybe it gives you a better picture and understanding of where they’re coming from, so we thought the arts was a way to transform our relationships with each other,” Ruggiero said.

Tammy said she has high hopes that the project will help bridge people together.

“I think there’s going to be some surprises, I think people are going to look closely and look at those cards and receive different perspectives that they have maybe never considered,” Ruggiero said.

The deadline for the artwork to be submitted is February 15th and organizers expect the bridge project to be complete by May of this year.

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