So sorry for the absence, friends, but the day job has been exceedingly busy and I had a few freelance projects to finish up as well. I’d be bored if I weren’t busy though. I did have time to get down to the RVA Street Art Festival to spend a little more time taking photos of finished, or nearly finished, paintings the other weekend. Further photos on flickr, including one artist hopefully one of you can identify for me.
Pics below, but I wanted to make a comment that this is a great and interesting step in Richmond realizing its vision for what it wants to be as an arts hub on the East Coast. I’m thrilled the festival took place, the weather was amazing and the crowds were large. I think this brings a modern idea of what public art is, beyond bronze statues, to the City. I also think it portrays a softer side of street art and what is an acceptable form of self-expression. The festival drew many people from around the area who may not normally head out to see graffiti arts or less curated pieces – maybe symbolizing a bridging of the gap between decision-makers and guerilla artists? Maybe that’s reading too far into it! At any rate, hopefully the young kids that came to see the art with their folks will carry that with them to adulthood and be reminded that art doesn’t have to be what people tell you art us. Art is everywhere.
I feel compelled to make a comment on the Street Art Festival in comparison to the G40, since they happened nearly back to back, though technically unrelated. I think the sentiment was similar for each in some ways – bringing a public (often illegal) art form to the attention of a City that is craving more art of high quality. Maybe that’s not the formal vision statement, but that’s what I’ve garnered from all the buzz around town. Personally, I preferred the less “look at me” approach of the G40 projects. I don’t need all the fan fair and vendors and booze to be encouraged to see the new exhibit in town. I think the subtlety of how the murals just slipped in without months of self-promotion says a lot about the kind of attention the organizers were hoping to attract. The murals have naturally generated their own buzz and will continue to do so. Finding a hidden gem around the corner of your local pub will continue to be an Instagram hit for awhile. And obviously local merchants are into the idea of Richmond making its way into the art scene, or they wouldn’t have involved their buildings in the enterprise. The RVA Street Art Fest, I predict, will be a bit more of a fad, as the venue is still a bit out of plain sight and the folks involved can’t promote forever. But I do think it speaks loudly of what’s to come, since the City was so eagerly involved in the Festival, and I sincerely hope that this was the First Annual. I would be curious to see any ideas from other cities if you all have had any similar street art happenings like our Festival. How did your cities react, and do they keep the art contained at a site off the beaten path or more in your face? Anyone from Atlanta out there? I hear you guys recently had a big outdoor arts thing like this too.