Monthly Archives: March 2016

Meet Mike Murphy, Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy, the Assistant City Manager for the City of Charlottesville, is a member of Friendship Court’s redevelopment advisory committee, which was formed in February 2016. The committee will provide guidance to the Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life. The active involvement of City staff in the planning process is an essential element of grant support, provided to Piedmont Housing by the City, for the project.   

Mike has worked as a counselor, program manager, agency director, and department head for local government for over twenty years. He has extensive experience in the areas of residential and community-based programs, workplace readiness, housing, child welfare, and fostering personal and economic growth in low-income communities. 

Mike is excited to have the opportunity to work with residents on the redevelopment of Friendship Court. He believes this project presents a tremendous opportunity to preserve critically important affordable housing resources within the City, while also developing a vibrant local community through engagement.

Mike received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Counselor Education degrees from the University of Virginia. 

Diverse Stakeholders Continue Engagement with Second Design Team Visit

Second Trip Postcard

We are excited to share with you our progress in planning for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. Our design team was here in February to work with many of you, including Friendship Court residents, City councilors and staff, and others in the community. The highlight of the trip was the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Friendship Court Advisory Committee, a group made up of fourteen members, including seven resident members elected by their fellow residents.

For those who met with us, thank you for your time, your ideas and your support have been so generously given. We are so fortunate to have you with us, helping to develop a plan for the future of Friendship Court. The design team will be back again on April 6, 7 and 8, so stay tuned for more updates!

Frank K. Grosch, CEO

Meet Sheri Hopper, Friendship Court Advisory Committee member

Sheri Hopper

Sheri Hopper is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the neighborhood’s redevelopment advisory committee.

The committee, which meets regularly with the project’s design team, will be providing guidance to Piedmont Housing in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life. As Piedmont Housing’s CEO, Frank Grosch has said of the project, “If it doesn’t work for the current residents, it doesn’t work for us.”

Sheri, who has lived at Friendship Court for sixteen years, has two children and one grandson. She has been helping Piedmont Housing with community outreach since April 2015. Sheri is excited about all that she will learn, and the opportunity to get to know even more people — those working on the project, and more her neighbors — through her role on the advisory committee.

Registration for Spring Break Academies through PVCC Now Open

PVCC Spring Break Academies are coming right up! Friendship Court kids are encouraged to apply through next Wednesday, March 23rd.

The scholarship application can be found here. There is also a $5.00 fee.


Kodu Game Lab
You will design the game, rules and how to win! Kodu lets you create your own game using its visual programming language. To create your game, you will use basic computer, math, problem-solving and storytelling skills. After your game is finished, you will test it out with other students and play their games as well. John Haverkamp has a background in artisanal crafts and computer software instruction for youth and adults in university and community settings.

Create Your World – Hip Hop, Poetry and You
Open your minds and play with words in new ways! You can try freestyle rap, poetry and brainstorming techniques to express what’s unique to you. Use performance poetry and word play to develop your own “word art” piece. You will learn about stage presence, projection and how to connect with your audience. Bernard Hankins is a spoken word poet, videographer, musician and TEDx Charlottesville Open Mic winner.

April 4-8 (Monday-Friday)

1:30-4:30 pm

PVCC Stultz Center

3th-6th graders
All students receive certificate of
completion and a PVCC Student ID

All are invited to student presentations on Friday, April 8, 4:00 p.m.

QUESTIONS OR TO REGISTER: Email Dom Morse at or call him at the Friendship Court Community Center at 434-295-9794.

Help spread the word with this flyer.

Parent registration and permission required. Supported by the Freas Foundation and the Rotary Club.

Friendship Court Residents Involved in Jennifer Tidwell’s Multimedia Performance Called NO WAKE Opening this Thursday

NO WAKE is a large scale site-specific multimedia performance and film project developed by artist Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell as a part of her 2015/2016 Public Artist Residency at The Bridge.


Jennifer is a Charlottesville performance artist best known for her collaborative work with theatre company Performers Exchange Project (PEP), which co-produced the 2006 A Charlottesville Wunderkammer and 2007’s SHENTAI at the IX Building. In 2008 she co-founded the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW). In addition, Jennifer is an accomplished playwright, and the instigator of a host of other creative projects. Jennifer says, “This is an amazingly unique opportunity and something that is desperately needed here in Charlottesville as artists are fleeing town for lack of space to work and affordable housing options…”. Jennifer has been working with as many community groups and schools that she can to try to integrate all the different worlds of these middle- school aged children so that they can meet each other and also help engage them with their community.

Referencing Homer’s Odyssey, NO WAKE is a mythic story of a widow whose grief is so enormous that she tries to abandon her child, and ends up causing a storm that tears their house from shore. As mother and child are cast adrift, they are faced with a series of challenges in order to survive. The play engages themes of responsibility, the paralysis of grief, the extent of denial, the challenge of empathy, creation & destruction, and our relationships with the other.


In addition, NO WAKE includes a dance installation piece that showcases a brigade of young dancers known as the Water Bearers, comprising over 30 middle-school aged girls, and created in collaboration with residents of Friendship Court. The Water Bearers will perform from roughly 7 to 8pm as part of each NO WAKE performance.

 The Public Artist program is The Bridge’s annual artist-in-residence program. The program provides financial, logistical, and organizational support for an artist to make a piece that directly impacts the Charlottesville community through its production and presentation.

NO WAKE opens March 17th, 2016, and runs 7pm to 9:30pm at the IX Building Upper Platform on March 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, & 31 and April 1, 2, 14, 15, & 16. Reserved tickets are available at, and free tickets are available at the door on a first-come basis.


Local Media Reports on the Jessie Ball duPont Grant which will Benefit Piedmont Housing Alliance

The University of Virginia has received funding from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in support of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s efforts in the redevelopment of Friendship Court Apartments. The University of Virginia applied for the grant, which awards $100,000 over two years, to support community engagement at Friendship Court and to involve teens in the planning for the future of that community.

The Daily Progress article highlights that the grant will go toward facilitating a program that combines the efforts of UVa School of Architecture students and teenagers who live in Friendship Court. The program will include lessons about sustainable, equitable land-use and urban planning.

NBC29 reported that the grant will help support community engagement and allow UVa students to be a part of the community’s new future.

UVa’s Center for Cultural Landscapes expanded that under the direction of Barbara Brown Wilson, Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the UVa School of Architecture, UVa students will help craft and implement a curriculum to train a team of resident youth in the basics of sustainable, equitable land use. “The School of Architecture is very excited to be a partner in this two-year leadership development program, and see the experience as one that will positively inform the lives of students at both Friendship Court and at UVa,” said Wilson. “Faculty and students from across UVa are eager to support these young leaders as they work side-by-side with other members of the design team to ensure that resident voice is woven into every facet of the redevelopment process.”

Charlottesville Tomorrow also reported on the receipt of the Jessie Ball duPont grant and reiterated that in 2018, Piedmont Housing Alliance  intends to acquire and redevelop the 150-unit subsidized apartment complex.

“What we do at Friendship Court has to work for the people who live there.  Friendship Court is home to 150 families and more than 250 children,” said Piedmont Housing’s CEO, Frank Grosch. “It’s those young people who are the future of that community, and who must be engaged in the process.”