‘Richmond is ready for this’: City moves forward with Black Lives Matter street mural

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The words “Black Lives Matter” will soon be painted in yellow on East Grace Street in downtown Richmond.

Richmond joins New York City, Washington D.C., and Charlotte, North Carolina, as sites for the social justice art mural. Anedra Bourne, Deputy Executive Director of Venture Richmond, a local non-profit who spearheaded the campaign, told 8News they wanted the painting to reside near City Hall and the Capitol where state and local laws are made.

Bourne goes on to say, East Grace was historically a street where KKK marches and emancipation parades once took place and now in 2020, the street is lined with churches who are showing their support of the social justice movement and mural project.

“There’s a change in attitude in Richmond,” said Ben Campbell, Reverend of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Grace Street. “We are putting it down on the pavement and it’s pointing right at Jefferson’s Capitol so that everybody can know that this is who Richmond is going to be.”

In addition to Venture Richmond, artists Hamilton Glass and Ed Trask and several other community groups pushed for the project for nearly two months, according to a release Monday, announcing the approval.

“Richmond is ready for this,” said Councilwoman Ellen Roberston, who told 8News she is proud to have the mural in her district.

A rendering of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural.

“To have it at the footsteps of the legislative house of the state of Virginia and to be in the 6th district is fabulous,” Councilwoman Robertson said.

The project received unanimous approval from the Public Art Commission on Friday, Aug. 14, and unanimous approval from the City Planning Commission on Monday, Aug. 17. Councilwoman Robertson confirmed with 8News that the street mural did not need to be voted on by the council.

Robertson says she is considering turning the area into a closed-off plaza in the future so it can serve as a space for open dialogue and reflection.

Bourne shared with 8News that once the original mural is complete, the organization will push to add more creative touches to it, similar to the street art in Charlotte.

As for when the painting of the mural begins, the 800 and 900 block of East Grace Street will be blocked off for about five days, while the street is power washed and painted. Venture Richmond told 8News they hope to have the mural complete by mid-September.

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