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Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Community

Rezoning Request for a Mixed Use Building at Dunston and Westover Hill Boulevard

The rezoning – Planning Meeting (virtual) is scheduled for May 17th at 1:30pm and the request is to change from R-5 Residential.

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Spotted on Forest View Neighborhood Facebook posted by Ashley

The rezoning signs have gone up for the Old Christmas Tree Lot that’s across from the Valero. The developer is applying for a Special Use Permit (R-63). It’s currently a R-5 Residential.
The rezoning – Planning Meeting (virtual) is scheduled for May 17th at 1:30pm. https://richmondva.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx I understand that you can submit comments ahead of the meeting.
The developer (whom I have no association with- just sharing what I know) is planning on building a mix use building.
– 3 Story Building
– The third floor will be SIX Apartments ( Four 1 bedroom apartments and Two 2 bedroom apartments).
– The second floor will be office space
– And the first floor will be retail
– Trash service will be a dumpster with a privacy screen
– UPDATED: 9 spots parking spots + 1 handicapped parking spot = 10 parking spots behind the building but expected street parking will be used
– At least a year lease for the apartments / targeting young professionals

The images were distributed at a Forest Hill Neighborhood Association Meeting.

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South of the James Community Festival Morphing into Mile of Music at Forest Hill Park

On Saturday, June 12th you’ll be able to walk around Forest Hill Park and enjoy some sweet sounds.

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In previous years the Richmond Symphony would set up their really big tent and host music. This year they’re still playing music but it’s a little different. On Saturday, June 12th you’ll be able to walk around Forest Hill Park and enjoy some sweet sounds.

South of the James Community Festival

While we are encouraged by the progress being made in the state of Virginia, the Richmond Symphony has decided to take a different direction with the South of the James Community Festival this year, primarily due to COVID and still needing to maintain social distancing protocols, etc. With that in mind, we are moving forward with an alternative approach.

Please join us at the new event, Mile for Music: https://fb.me/e/1eT2qOcJt

Over the course of two hours, Mile of Music will have several performing groups set-up along an approximate 1-mile route within Forest Hill Park – you can take your time to enjoy music in the park from 2-4pm! Hope to see you there!

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Richmond BizSense Reporting: Nonprofit Little Hands that Clothes Babies Moves Into Stratford Hills

The nonprofit takes donated clothes and other items and distributes them to children.

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From Richmond BizSense.com:

Little Hands opened a new office at 7101-L Forest Hill Ave. in the Shops at Stratford Hills in early April. The nonprofit collects donated new and like-new clothing, diapers, soap and other items for children up to 3 years old and then distributes the donations to children referred by its partner network.

“We provide essentials to young children in need in the greater Richmond area,” founder and executive director Taylor Keeney said. “That (age range) is in particular a time when kids are growing and constantly needing new clothing and gear.”

Little Hands launched out of Keeney’s garage in 2019, and by the fall of that year moved into a classroom at Second Baptist Church in Henrico. After heightened demand spurred by the pandemic, the nonprofit relocated again.

Details from Little Hands Instagram on how you can make a donation.

We are opening the doors to our new office on Wednesday! Come see us this week!

Our new office is located at 7101 Forest Hill Ave., Suite L, Richmond, VA 23225. It is in the Shops at Stratford Hills, right in between Publix and Target.

All donations must be brought to the back door. When you pull into the shopping center, drive around to the back (either around the Publix or Target). There is a sign on the Little Hands door! Ring the doorbell and a volunteer will meet you at the door.

For a refersher on the items we accept, and what must be new versus gently used, visit www.littlehandsva.org/how-to-help.

We will be posting our regular hours for the spring later this week, including some Saturday hours coming up in April. See you soon!

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