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Rumors of War

Now that the dust has settled a few thoughts on the latest monument unveiling.

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“People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them”
-James Baldwin

I’ve been having trouble putting into words what was seen on the afternoon of December 10th. Every outlet had a word, RTD, Style, VPM, Washington Post, the BBC!?!? What more could be said? What more could be shown?

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
– James Baldwin

On the way to speak at the Arthur Ashe Boulevard dedication ceremony, Representative John Lewis (Alabama) encountered a familiar foe. Traffic. He would be late for the ceremony for his late friend. State Police would be needed to extract him from the gridlock and guide him down to Richmond.

“Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by those doing it”
-James Baldwin

When Representative Lewis spoke, I found myself on Arthur Ashe Boulevard hearing the words echo. He spoke of a man who showed up at his office, the same man who nearly beat him to death many decades ago. He spoke of forgiveness, how he embraced the man from love. He spoke of how only progress can come from love and understanding. Echoes of words, ripples of change

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
-James Baldwin

December 10th was chilly, rainy, and glum. Around 1 PM, the shrouded Collousus rested, a soft glaze of rain glazed on the silver tarp, beading droplets that ran down to the base. Purple lights encircled, giving the covered Rumors an ethereal glow. The electricity was beginning to build.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”
– James Baldwin

“I’ve heard word of protesters” whispers, from a friend… Nothing that I know of but that’s not something I follow. The crowd outside builds along the barriers created. Curiosity and the hungry gather to see a new history be made.

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
-James Baldwin

After all the confusion and disorganization, everyone is in their place at 320, awaiting the speakers and the reveal. The VIPs settle in with ponchos and umbrellas yet the rain has stopped. The speakers trickle in. The fog of magic settles in. Looking behind, there are rows and rows and rows of the enrapt going past Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

“What I love in art is that it takes known combinations and reorders them in a way that sheds light on something that they have never seen before or allows to consider the world in a slightly different way.”
-Kehinde Wiley

The marching band of ALL Richmond public schools made their presence known. This is the generation that is on that horse!

Governor Northram spoke, as well as Mayor Stoney and many others. Nothing stood more proud than the ALL Richmond marching band! Kehinde speaks! Time to unveil! A hitch. The tarp is caught. Kehinde smiles

“Life’s messy, it’s perfect”
-Kehinde Wiley

The Fire Department had to come cut it down.

Representative John Lewis bows his head in laughter.

Unforced error. Point Progress.

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Arts & Entertainment

Explore Virginia’s natural beauty with new exhibition at Virginia Museum of History & Culture

Celebrate the efforts in preservation and horticulture made by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV) during its 100-year history with a new exhibition at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, “A Landscape Saved: The Garden Club of Virginia at 100.”

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Celebrate the efforts in preservation and horticulture made by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV) during its 100-year history with a new exhibition at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, “A Landscape Saved: The Garden Club of Virginia at 100.”

Featuring photographs and objects from the past century of the organization’s history, this exhibition highlights the work of the GCV and its dedicated members in advancing the appreciation of horticulture and the advocacy for land preservation, particularly regarding the formation of the state parks system.

“As the first conservation organization in Virginia, the achievements of GCV have bettered the lives of all who live in or travel through the Commonwealth,” the VMHC said in a release.

The Garden Club of Virginia is now a partnership of 3,400 community and civic leaders active in 48 garden clubs across the state.

Learn more about the exhibition here.

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Arts & Entertainment

The Byrd Theatre hires first ever Executive Director amid COVID-19 pandemic

Stacy Shaw, the new Executive Director, as of July 1, 2020, comes to the Byrd Theatre with 30 years experience as an arts administrator having worked for 2 other historic theaters in her past, The Wells Theatre in Norfolk, VA and The National Theatre in DC.

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Closure due to COVID-19 isn’t stopping the Byrd Theatre from continuing to focus on the strategic plan and its long-term future. When closure happened in Mid-March, the Byrd Theatre Foundation was already well into a national search for the first Executive Director to lead the non-profit theatre as part of the Phase 2 Strategic Plan. Thanks to the more than $1,100,000 raised in early lead gifts toward a second phase of the Strategic Plan, funds have been earmarked for both capital improvements and restorations as well as opportunity funds to finance this leadership position at the theatre.

Stacy Shaw, the new Executive Director, as of July 1, 2020, comes to the Byrd Theatre with 30 years experience as an arts administrator having worked for 2 other historic theaters in her past, The Wells Theatre in Norfolk, VA and The National Theatre in DC. She spent the last 6 years at The National Theatre as the Director of Institutional Advancement establishing corporate, capital, endowment, and major donor campaigns while expanding foundation and government support. She lives in Petersburg, VA with her wife who teaches at Virginia State University.

“We are so thrilled to have someone with Stacy’s experience and expertise join the Byrd. We are confident in her ability to lead the organization through the current times and into a successful future.” Said, Ted Haynes, Byrd Theatre Foundation President.

“In my experience, Stacy Shaw is a talented arts administrator who brings an amazing amount of knowledge, passion, and heart to everything she undertakes.  I have no doubt that she will bring that same energy to the Byrd Theatre and its mission.“ Sarah Chaplin, former Executive Director of The National Theatre and current President and CEO of The State Theatre of New Jersey.

While the Governor’s Phase 3 opening date is July 1st, the Byrd Theatre will remain closed for now. Shaw has worked with the Board of Directors to make the decision to remain closed and focus internally on updating cleaning and seating protocols to meet COVID-19 standards. This is a difficult financial decision, continued closure means operating funds are slim, but the increased cost to open and operate the theatre under the COVID-19 standards make the margins challenging. The Theatre was fortunate to get a PPP loan early on that allowed the Theatre to continue paying the primarily part-time staff until mid-June when the funds ran out.

Stacy Shaw said, “We have already reached out to our wonderful patrons for their input to make sure they feel confident about their attendance at the Byrd as well as following updates on cleaning protocols. We are particularly fortunate that the Byrd has a large seating area that social distancing is easily accomplished when compared to the movie theatres of today. Meanwhile, we are utilizing this time to do as much cleaning, updating, and capital improvements as possible. One of the most exciting projects has been the completion of a total renovation of the Wurlitzer Piano in the upper left balcony!”

There are capital funds earmarked for Phase Two capital improvements that will begin to happen late summer and into 2021.

Planned Phase Two Capital Improvements include, but are not limited to:

  • Renovation of the women’s restroom
  • Concession area improvements
  • Replacement of the carpet and expansion of the seat replacements
  • A range of replacements of various systems: lighting, mechanicals, PA system
  • Replacement of rear doors
  • A range of front of stage improvements
  • Further care of the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ and Wurlitizer Piano

Stacy Shaw said, “I am excited to be part of the organization and to be joining at such a pivotal moment in time.” With Phase Two fundraising underway, Shaw also said, “We looking forward to the next multi-year phase of restoration and growth. The Foundation will be expanding its philanthropic efforts to meet the estimated goal of $2.4 million and to offer donors a range of unique naming and commemorative options.”

Phase One projects replaced the roof as well as heating and cooling systems; installed a digital server and state-of-the-art 4K projector; organ repairs; restored historic plasterwork and center seats; and created a wheelchair accessible seating area and ADA family restroom.

While closed, the Byrd Theatre is not bringing in operating funds, therefore, the theatre is actively looking for creative ways to bring film out into the community. Look for the Byrd Theatre to partner with different organizations and spaces for drive-in and other movie night type events throughout the summer and fall. The Virtual Screening Room will remain up and active as well, bringing new films not able to be seen on the big screen to your living room. Renting a film from the Byrd Theatre Virtual Screening Room supports the theatre while you enjoy a film!

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Carytown Watermelon Festival Officially Canceled for this Year

The yearly event that brought crowds and piles of watermelon to Carytown is canceled this year due to Covid-19.

RVAHub Staff

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From Carytown Facebook:

Hello Watermelon Lovers! It is with tremendous sadness that we are writing today that the 37th Carytown Watermelon Festival is being postponed. Local and State Covid-19 regulations in our current Phase of re-opening are limiting any open-air events to a maximum of 250 people. Obviously, this event is much larger than that. In addition, it will always be our first priority to ensure the safety of our guests, vendors, sponsors and Carytown merchants. Although this decision is a difficult one, it is in all our best interest to remain healthy, safe and cognizant of those around us who may be affected by having such a festival. If a fall option becomes available to us, we will post accordingly. Thanks for your 37 years of support and we truly look forward to the next Carytown event.

**Please note that pages and events titled Carytown Watermelon Festival 2020 (that 2020 is the key word) keep popping up. We have tried to get this removed, these are SCAM pages and events, please do not share or add yourself as a co-host**

 

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