Southside teens create street art to alert drivers to slow down

Positively Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A group of Southside teenagers gathered to paint a street art display at a busy intersection Wednesday morning.

The ‘traffic-calming’ street art display is located at 12th and Bainbridge Streets in Manchester.

The display is a capstone project for ARCA, a community-led response to the need for youth programs and improved pedestrian and bicycle safety in neighborhoods along Richmond’s Jefferson Davis Corridor. ARCA stands for Art, Reconciliation, and Civic Advocacy.

ARCA said young people from different backgrounds, schools, and upbringings have been meeting weekly to learn about the history of Southside. The group has been expressing their vision for their community through art at these meetings.

With guidance from two local artists, Alfonso Perez and Hamilton Glass, the teenagers designed a street art display and presented their ideas to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, the Department of Public Works and the Art Commission.

“What we’re trying to do is just to get a group of kids a little bit more focused and familiar with what you need to do to have an intervention,” Perez said, “A street art intervention.”

The teenagers involved say this project is about making a difference in their community.

“A lot of people don’t know about issues that are going on and a lot of people don’t take part in things like this,” youth artist Lily Karwin said. “It’s usually just professionals. But the fact that it’s just a group of kids doing this, I think it’s a pretty good achievement.”

Photo: Shannon Secrist Macaulay

The project is meant for a big push towards youth programs and improved bicycle safety.

“The ARCA program is a powerful testament to how creative expression can strengthen community, give voice to issues of concern and serve as a vehicle to advocate for safety in neighborhoods,” Kendra Jones, director for health equity, arts and culture, with Richmond Memorial Health Foundation said.

To find out more information about ARCA, click HERE.

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