“As I traveled around the city this week, I noticed crowds of Richmonders viewing, photographing, and discussing the new art on display. I heard those conversations pivot from artist and murals to conversations about music, hobbies, and neighborhoods. I believe that the vibe surrounding the sudden growth of public art in Richmond has some parallels to those early days of hip hop culture in New York City. Of course, these aforementioned art projects aren’t as rebellious, but the early days of hip hop weren’t about breaking the law, they were about expression and finding an identity. It was about creativity and pride in where one comes from.1
I have lived in Richmond all my life. I take great pride in the city and the progress that it has made, particularly in the last 15 years, with the reduction in violent crime and a growing city population. I am truly excited about the renaissance of art and culture that is starting to take place this summer. Richmond has a real opportunity to rebrand itself as a hotspot for art, music, and culture. But the fact remains that Richmond’s history still cast a huge shadow over progressive progress, and forging any type of new identity will be met with old-time opposition.
I believe the latest controversy on Monument Avenue is a strong example of the challenges that face RVA moving forward.”
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