RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The coronavirus outbreak has left many Richmond artists without work and struggling to make ends meet.

“I’m a muralist by trade and when the curtain kind of fell with the COVID-19 thing all of us lost a ton of money right away. A lot of festivals canceled, a lot of businesses we work for closed,” said local muralist, Nico Cathcart.

“Within 72 hours I basically saw what was the entirety of my income until June disappear.”

Not wanting to sit idly by, Cathcart helped start the t-shirt fundraising campaign, RVA Together, which is raising money for Feed More and other area artists.

To start this program, Cathcart brought back the experience she gained from her past life as a graphic designer.

“I proposed to do this initiative called RVA Together to create a website where people could go purchase a t-shirt with an original design by myself or one of our prominent mural artists in Richmond and have all of that benefit Feed More,” Cathcart said.

To make sure more than just a few artists benefit from this program, Cathcart said they will rotate artists every two weeks. This week’s artists are Cathcart, Nils Westergard, Matt Lively, Hamilton Glass, Austin Miles, and an RVA Magazine, who’s shirt benefits the publication’s staff.

Cathcart said t-shirts cost $25: $10 goes to K2 Custom Tees, who are making the shirts, $10 goes to the artist, and $5 to Feed More.

“Not only can our community support our local artists who beautify Richmond, but for every shirt sold (Feed More) gets $5, and for those $5 we can distribute 20 meals,” said Jessica Howe Hicky, a spokeswoman with Feed More. “So every t-shirt can make a pretty big impact which is nice.

Hicky said the program and its agency network serve about 52,000 meals a day to people in 34 counties and cities across Central Virginia. 

“I think it’s really important to talk about Feed More, which is at the heart of this,” she said. “They are going out into food deserts and making sure those kids who are food insecure because of those schools closing have food, and they’re also running the meals on wheels program. It’s incredibly important that they continue to be funded .. to make sure that no one in our city goes hungry.”

Cathcart said she will keep the program going as long as people were interested in supporting Feed More and the local artists.

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