Along an entire block on Cary Street, University of Richmond art students will cover a wall with original murals.
As part of the University of Richmond Arts Initiative, UR Downtown and the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) collaborated with local art organizations to garner this mural and exhibition space between Davis Avenue and Robinson Street, which will be the feature attraction of the university’s exhibition at the Richmond Street Art Festival this week.
“After an invitation from the RVA Street Art Festival, we teamed with the Valentine Richmond History Center to showcase historical images of the Richmond streetcar system to connect the beginning of Richmond’s transportation system to the future of the system, the [Greater Richmond Transit Company],” said Alexandra Byrum, the educational programming coordinator of UR Downtown.
“Richmond really was the first city to introduce streetcar or trolley lines, Areflect on history and transportation as part of this unique opportunity in city history,” she said.
Former and current Richmond students, as well as local and national artists, will paint murals for the festival and in recurring periods thereafter, Byrum said.
“In the gaps between and around the historical vinyls, Richmond art students will be able to paint murals, starting in October,” Byrum said. “Dee Glazer, who graduated this year and was a leader in the art club, will also have work displayed at the festival, and she has already done a lot of mural work around the city. We will also have a spotlight on a mural by art students and local artists’ submitted sketches for murals.”
Byrum said one of the first forays into urban artwork for the university had been at UR Downtown, where ART 180 students and Richmond professors had painted murals for the walls of the multipurpose room for the opening of Richmond on Broad Cafe last year. Byrum said it had been important for students to have such opportunities to engage in the city with their talents and passions and a goal of UR Downtown.
Before either the project within UR Downtown or the Cary Street murals could take place, though, Richmond students had to work with community volunteers to whitewash the walls that would ultimately become their canvases, Byrum said.
“UR Downtown coordinators, art club members and local volunteers had to repaint the wall last Friday to prepare it for the murals and vinyls,” Byrum said. “University of Richmond Art Club members and community volunteers actually requested the opportunity from HandsOn Greater Richmond and helped to come up with the design concept and the sepia colors. The idea was to develop it from a dilapidated area to a destination that will bring students and other people back to Richmond.”
As part of an ongoing university project titled “Look Up: Murals Across Richmond,” art students might have the opportunity to repaint the space, perhaps as often as twice per year, Byrum said. Photos of the murals throughout the process and a map plotting the locations of Richmond murals, created by 2013 graduate Andrew Pericak, will be on the UR Downtown Facebook page, Byrum said.
Adrienne Piazza, the CCE’s manager of educational initiatives and leadership development, said UR Downtown shuttles for students would leave from the transportation hub of Tyler Haynes Commons at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. this Saturday. The shuttles would then leave the arts festival to return students to campus at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Festival officials declared the event open to the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Wednesday, Sept. 11, to Sunday, Sept. 15.
Contact Collegian Reporter Zak Kerr at firstname.lastname@example.org