“The world is but a canvas to our imagination,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, and in Virginia you’ll find cities where the buildings play canvas for talented, renown muralists.
— RICHMOND —
Richmond is Virginia’s capital city and home to a thriving arts and culture community. Murals are commonplace in Richmond, and becoming more so as the Richmond Mural Project, Arts in the Alley, RVA Street Art Festival, The Light of Human Kindness, and G40 Art Summit all play a part. Richmond Mural Project’s mission is to make Richmond “the top destination for Murals in the United States,” and as such, set a goal for their organization to create more than 100 murals in five years. They’ve knocked out nearly 70 in just three years, and that doesn’t account for the other organizations producing public street art.
For those not yet sold on city murals, rest assured that artists are selected based on their portfolios. Each has a signature style, and rarely are any of the artworks graffiti-esque. For example, Stormie Mills’ work (showcased in the video below) is monochromatic and his characters match the color scheme with their downtrodden presence. Like an Ansel Adams photograph, you know a muralist’s work without looking for his signature.
Head out on two wheels with Segway of Richmond for the Public Arts Tour. The tour showcases some of the best sites over a two-hour time slot. Tickets are $65 each.
– Buzzfeed ranked the duo Etam Cru’s “Moonshine” mural third on their list of “Best Street Art in the World 2013.”
– Mural Map courtesy of Richmond.com (doesn’t include Art in the Alley locations or others that may not be a part of the aforementioned initiatives).
Richmond isn’t the only place you’ll find amazing street art in Virginia.
— MARTINSVILLE —
– “Old Glory” is a 38′ x 18′ piece by Scott LoBaido in honor of Corporal JB Kerns, an Afghanistan veteran who lost three limbs during his third tour of duty.
– The Circus Mural is based on an advertisement of the circus coming to Martinsville in the 1920s.
– The Uptown Farmers Market Mural is a creation of Betty LaDuke.
– The MHC After 3 Mural was created by students and faces the YMCA playground.
— DANVILLE —
– A transportation mural and one of The Old 97 (both created by Wes Hardin) don buildings in Danville. The Old 97, in particular, holds a somber story. The Old 97 was a Southern Railway trail that derailed at the Stillhouse Trestle in Danville, never making it to Spencer, North Carolina on September 27, 1903. Eleven lives were lost.
— BLACKSBURG —
If you’re familiar with our LOVEworks initative, you know they’re three dimensional, standing letters. The LOVEwork in Blacksburg is the exception. See it as a 32′ x 12′ mural created by Denisse Bento, who looked to the area’s natural assets for inspiration.
Also in Blacksburg is the Market Square Park mural that commemorates the local farmers’ market.
— NORFOLK —
– Look for a mural by Hamilton Glass at Grace Street Grill. According to his website, it was his first public art work.
Side Note: Glass is a Richmond artist and his work appears predominately in DC and Virginia, though he also created an installation for StumbleUpon at their San Francisco headquarters. Glass was a part of The Light of Human Kindness project in Richmond. The pictured Jackson Ward Theatre Mural is his work. Find it on Broad Street.
– John Hickey is a muralist in Norfolk who has created pieces in a variety of Coastal Virginia locations. Look for the beautiful big sunflowers at 22nd and Colonial or the giant fish at A.W. Shucks (my favorite Norfolk restaurant).
— OTHER LOCATIONS —
Fredericksburg – The Community Mosaic Mural is 32′ x 8′ multimedia mural that reflects the area in which it resides, the Roxbury Mills Farm and Garden Center. Become a part of the mural when you gaze into one of the mirrors.
Luray – The White House Ferry mural depicts the 1800s ferry that crossed the Shenandoah River near Luray. It was created by Merle Hilscher. Additional murals throughout town were created by Jennifer Bradt, Judy Riggs, Janet Scott, and Paul Quigg. All together, they’re part of three art trail loops:
— YOU TELL US —
I led with Mr. Thoreau’s quote. With that in mind, you tell us where there are great murals in Virginia. Leave a comment to give a description and a location of your favorite mural.