The Unknown, Underrated Street Art of Richmond, Virginia (Photo Essay)
Ah, my home. My heart. My city. Richmond, Virginia.
Aside from just being the capitol of the state, Richmond (RVA) is a quirky, urban town right off I-95’s exit 76B. It’s also where I happen to call home, as I’ve lived here since August of 2013 to go to university (Go VCU!) and where I really did most of my developing as a person.
Richmond is well-known historically for being the capitol of the Confederates during the Civil War, while just being 100 miles away from Washington D.C., the Union’s capitol.
In more modern times, RVA was named America’s 3rd Most Tattooed City in 2011, or recently being named as one of the ten locations in “Where to Eat in 2016”, by National Geographic.
However, from what I’ve seen it is not widely recognized by it’s most memorable aspect. Yeah, sure, the city is filled with tattoos. But the fact that is that Richmond is also tattooed itself, by huge, elaborate murals!
This is due to a community project implemented by Shane Pomajambo, an avid art collector who is infatuated with large scale mural arts.
Popular destinations for street art include cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Pittsburgh—but there’s something about Richmond and it’s murals that have a completely different aesthetic. Here, the murals are as common as windows and doors, adorning every available surface possible and make the city feel welcoming and energized.
Straight from their website, the Richmond Mural Project‘s mission statement is as follows:
The Richmond Mural Project is a yearly event with the goal of creating over 100 murals by world renown talent in the first 5 years alone. The recurrence and solidification of the project throughout this time will establish Richmond as a landmark destination for internationally recognized murals and will create exposure for the city, establishing it as a premier art destination.
By concentrating a large number of murals throughout the city the project will increase tourism and will bring the much needed “Feet on the Street” which will help local business thrive.
But to me, a young college student and a simple local resident with no in depth knowledge of the fine arts, this street art mean something different.
They mean beautiful startle of color whenever I’m biking to Carytown during the summer. They mean a day of exploration for my friends and I as we waste time downtown wandering through the Canal Walk and try to take pictures of every mural possible.
They are something to be proud of, and to show off to friends and family when they come visit my little city. They’re the backdrops to most of the photos that my friends and I take after going out to lunch together or visiting the VMFA.
These huge murals are on the sides of restaurants, shops, and university buildings, and they’re in all sects of Richmond from Church Hill to Downtown, and from Jackson Ward to the Museum District. They’re the unique stamp on this mix-matched city that say, “Yep, you’re still in Richmond!“.
These murals helped paint my college experience, and I know they paint the lives of all of Richmond’s residents!
Again, you can find out more about the location and artist of these murals by checking out the Richmond Mural Project’s home page for a complete album of all of the amazing murals of Richmond, VA! These murals truly paint Richmond, Virginia to as the spirited, fun place that it is.
And that’s why I want them to become famous! Next time you’re driving on I-95 and you pass a sign that says Richmond, Virginia, I want you to pause and think about this post, and hopefully take the time to visit this little city yourself and be charmed into falling in love with it just like I was!
So SHARE this post with your friends and family, so that Richmond, Virginia and it’s artists can get the recognition they deserve!