May 21, 2012

Murals in Richmond- G40 Summit

 The  Richmond, VA April kick-off of the G40 art initiative was extreme, and the efforts colossal: to create many large-scale murals throughout the downtown area in just one month. The town was painted by 18 of the world's leading "muralistas", or professional street art muralists. Breath-taking, accessible, and thought-provoking for an entire family to tour in one day, as we did on Mother's Day. The adventure became a huge treasure hunt from Carytown to Shockoe Bottom, infusing with the VCU campus, welcoming visitors and locals at several corridors to the city, and readily visible while driving through the heart of town.  No two murals are alike, yet each artist's style is recognizable and inspirational. The mission statement of all great mural programs throughout the world involve the words Community, Expression, and Revitalize.  The RAMP, or Roanoke Area Mural Project, is one example of  a great collaborative effort of local artists, business owners, and the Visitors Center-Roanoke Arts Commission.  The world's largest mural project is also in reach- Philadelphia is home to over 3,000 murals and even offers trolley tours to boost tourism. I am sold on murals- for their amazing scale, ability to reach thousands of people every day, and beautification of an urban area. I encourage everyone to tour some of these cities and go on mural treasure hunts!
My students have thoroughly enjoyed these images, most voting for the giant panda-like "woebots" and the bees on unicycles.  My favorite is the Pixel Pancho- the image of a Captain America head on it's side, which we enjoyed viewing from the deck of the best pizzeria in Richmond- Bottoms Up Pizza.   It remains a staple of the landscape, as these murals are now.

 And finally, our end-of-the year field trip to Chatham coincided with the Virginia Painters Society
working while we toured the grounds! We also met up with our guest artist of the year, Troy Howell

and sketched by the river. We had a great day, and had to end our journey with memories in our sketchbooks. Happy Summer, Fredericksburg Academy!

Stay tuned for more mural ideas for our lovely town!

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