Toll Shelter Art Contest Winner Announced

GeigerP web

For the past five years, the toll shelter situated next to South Norfolk Jordan Bridge’s Chesapeake entrance has featured a basic battleship grey exterior. But that entrance also marks the apex of a sidewalk that connects Elizabeth River Park to the bridge’s Pedestrian Walkway, making it a highly-visible “gateway” for walkers, joggers and more. As a result, bridge officials decided to reinvent the toll shelter to double as a public art installation and launched a contest to solicit designs for the unique site.

The contest was limited to Virginia artists age 16 and older, and welcomed more than a dozen unique and colorful designs vying for a $1,500 prize. The entries ranged from historical to futuristic, geometric to iconic, pastel to bold. To select the final design, a panel of judges reviewed each entry while considering the artist’s inspiration for their work. Judges included Allison Termine, Dickson Librarian at the Jean Outland Chrysler Library in Norfolk; Capt. Daniel M. Rossler, USN, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Executive Officer; and Tyson Dubbe, Associate at Retnauer Baynes Associates LLC and artist serving the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission.

“The judges had a difficult time selecting just one image from the collection of entries submitted by talented regional artists,” says General Manager Kevin Crum. “The design of the bridge is a work of art itself, and we believe in the powerful community connection provided by the infusion of public art."

After much deliberation, the judges selected an original work submitted by Norfolk artist Peter Geiger. His “fingers” design was crafted to mimic the columns of the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge while the three hands pictured also create a bridge when they touch. Where the fingers contact the surface of the water in the scene, it also symbolizes the closeness our communities have to the water, notably the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge and the Elizabeth River’s Southern Branch.

“The South Norfolk Jordan Bridge is a Hampton Roads icon with its impressive height and gracefully proportioned spans. I’m so glad to have my work displayed on this beautiful bridge. I tried to keep the work simple enough to be easily grasped, yet bold enough to leave an impression. I hope my art compliments the architecture of the bridge and leaves a positive impression on those traveling,” says Peter Geiger.

Geiger was born in Lubbock, TX, in 1973. He grew up an Air Force dependent, moving frequently stateside and also in Germany. In 1996, Geiger graduated from JMU with a degree in painting and drawing. From 2000—2001, he served in the Peace Corps teaching art in Ghana, Africa. He returned to Hampton Roads, earning an MFA in Visual Studies from ODU in 2007. Since that time, he has taught numerous art classes at local colleges while continuing to pursue a career as a professional artist.

Pictured above, Geiger’s design will be digitized into an 8’ x 12’ mural and installed on the north-facing wall of the bridge’s toll shelter to complement the bridge’s 5th anniversary celebrated on October 26th.