Today’s blog post is written by Alex Pagano, Documentation Manager, PatronManager.
Growing up near Richmond, VA, I had no idea that my little hometown would grow up to become known as “home of the world’s best street art.” At the time, the graffiti scene in Richmond was active, but underground, earning more ire than awe from the populace. Even the city’s most famous and beloved muralist frequently found his commissioned work the ire of Richmond’s zoning board. The city’s artistic energy was bubbling, palpable, edgy — just not yet tangible.
Fast-forward to when I came back from college; things had changed. Suddenly, those same graffiti “bombers” were getting commissioned to create beautiful, permanent art — and the city loved it. So, what happened?
Two things: Shane Pomajambo, owner of Art Whino art gallery in Washington, D.C., made a trip down to Richmond to start the Richmond Mural Project in 2012. Though he originally planned to hold an “Art of the Mural” large-scale exhibition in D.C., after talking with a couple community leaders in Richmond, they found a different opportunity; he and the business owners of Richmond could mutually help each other. Shane could use their empty wall spaces to hold a new street art festival, and the business owners would get a much-needed boost in foot traffic.
Meanwhile, that famous-and-loved muralist Ed Trask took commissions from bigger and bigger clients with ready approval from the government he once butt heads with. He worked with city council members to organize their own annual festival, RVA Street Art Festival, to celebrate and showcase local artists in big ways — larger than life ways, public ways.
Now, Richmond’s street art is a major part of its tourism packaging, and it drives enough interest to continue to hold the annual festival mentioned above. Home to over 100 murals by artists from all over the world, it’s a legitimate mural-lovers destination.
So why am I telling you this story?Read the Article