It is only May 3rd and 2012 has already been one of the best years ever for music, art, and culture in RVA. In my opinion, the main reason has been the: G40 Art Summit and the RVA Street Art Festival. Though both events were organized independently – combined they have already transformed Richmond into a major destination for street art in 2012.

I covered both events intensively on The Cheats Movement Blog and was granted amazing access by the organizers of the festivals: Tony Harris and Shane Pomajambo (G40) and Ed Trask and Jon Baliles (RVA Street Art Festival). I am so proud of these men for what they have done for this city. EVERYONE WINS because of these two great events.

RVA Faces of Change: Tony Harris and Ed Trask.

With that said, I believe I’m in a unique position to write some of my thoughts about both festivals. I would love to hear your opinions as well. The first two areas that I will write about in these review post are: Star Power and Location. I plan to write more on different categories as well – in due time.

STAR POWER: No doubt, G40 brought the international star power. ROA is basically the Lil Wayne of Street Art. He is at the top of the game and considered one of the best street artist in the world. You can’t talk murals right now without talking ROA.  Aryz is also right there as well – he is a international power house. Both ROA and Aryz completed two walls for G40 before heading out of the country.  In addition, the legendary photographer Martha Cooper was in town to check out the G40 murals. Cooper is a legend and gave G40 event more credibility. Angry Woebots, Jaz, Lelo, 2501, Pixel Pancho…and more were all in RVA for G40. There is no way around it, Art Whino and RVA Mag brought major international star power to RVA – it was a great look for the city!

Photo by Martha Cooper (posted at 12OzProphet.com)

The RVA Street Art Festival brought some MAJOR – MAJOR players as well: POSE is the man – and has earned an amazing reputation in the art world.  HENSE, VIZIE, Mark Jenkins and of course, Ed Trask himself are stars in the art community as well. I was very excited to meet Dalek – he was mad cool – but I was slightly disappointed that he wasn’t in town long enough to really get down on the festival wall.  The absolute best part of the RVA Street Art Festival was seeing the merging of RVA artist with the national group: Art 180, Hamilton Glass, Chris Milk Hulburt, El Kamino, Mike Broth, Heide Trepanier, and all of the local volunteers gave the Fest a real community feel.

Amazing group photo from the last day of the RVA Street Art Festival. Ed’s arms up in victory – like Ali, he shook up the world!


Here is the thing – it all depends on what you prefer. G40 is throughout the entire city…let’s be real – Pixel’s amazing mural on 12th and Hull is not close to his first mural on 1 Grace BUT with G40 you can plan 2 or 3 hours, get a map, grab a camera, grab some friends, and have a great time visiting all the murals in the city. Trust me – I’ve done it and it’s a rad day. Being spread out doesn’t really solidify an “Art District” but traveling to visit the murals is a fun experience. G40 will take you from the Fan, to VCU, to Shockoe Bottom…etc.

The G40 murals are not close together…but a fun trip!

On the other hand, the RVA Street Art Festival is pretty much all in one spot: The Power Plant – Flood Wall (right by BlackFinn). The visual is stunning, VIZIE’s piece right beside POSE – Jeff Soto’s piece is right beside HAM? – it’s awesome. You can walk the area in about 5 minutes if you want. It’s a fairly small piece of real estate all things considered. What made it work so well is that it allowed for spectators (like me) to post up and watch all of the work being done in one place. I’ve never seen anything like it before in RVA. Along with the food, beer, and music, it was a real festival vibe.

Having the Festival close together allowed for huge crowds and a real festival feel. (photo courtesy of Jeff Soto’s Blog)

Honestly, I really don’t have preference – location is key but there are positives in both festivals. What do you think?

I am very interested to learn how we can keep great events like G40 and the Street Arts Festival in RVA. Are there suggestion that would make these events even better? You tell me.

This concludes part 1 of Everyone Wins.

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