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Youth advocate for further investments in schools, jobs, support in interactive art installation at Richmond City Hall

The installation features two, 160ft. tall portraits of Ta’Dreama McBride and Clyde Walker made in collaboration with artist and Performing Statistics creative director Mark Strandquist.

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Performing Statistics, in collaboration with youth leaders from RISE for Youth and across the country and with support from the City of Richmond, is unveiling the second installment of their Freedom Constellations project on July 1 at noon. This is the largest public art installation on a municipal building in the country that uses augmented reality.

The installation features two, 160ft. tall portraits of Ta’Dreama McBride and Clyde Walker made in collaboration with artist and Performing Statistics creative director Mark Strandquist. They will be installed on the north and west-facing sides of the City Hall building. McBride and Walker are both youth leaders from RISE for Youth, a state campaign that promotes the creation of healthy communities and community-based alternatives to youth incarceration.

Executive Director of RISE for Youth Valerie Slater says, “Ensuring young people live in thriving communities and receive the help they need rather than harsh punishment for their mistakes is what RISE for Youth is all about. And we will continue to provide collaborative opportunities for our youth to lead the work of shaping a bold new future full of hope and free of youth prisons.”

The portraits come alive using augmented reality when viewers hover their phones over the portraits from a distance.

Though the portraits will be visible for miles away, the augmented reality can be viewed on the northwest corner of 9th Street and Marshall Street, directly in front of the John Marshall House whose mission is to, “engage the public about the life and legacies of the Great Chief Justice, his Richmond home, and the enslaved people who labored here through historic preservation and education,” according to their website.

“We were immediately excited to host this project because this house is where Chief Justice John Marshall deliberated cases that would ultimately shape and codify the American judicial system, with its flaws and inequity steeped in racism,” says Director of Museum Operations and Education Jennifer Hurst-Wender. “We find common ground with this project as we embrace an unflinching examination of history and seek ways to work together towards a more just and equitable future.”

The installation will remain through November 30, 2021. Ongoing conversations hosted by the Mayor’s Office, Department of Human Services, and Performing Statistics will continue throughout the duration of the installation. The City of Richmond will continue this project each year for the next three years focusing on different populations–people with disabilities, immigrants, and the aging.

Performing Statistics is hosting a rally for the unveiling of the project at noon on Thursday, July 1 where the public will hear more about the project, learn about community and city efforts to engage youth, watch a demo of the augmented reality experience, and hear from youth leaders from RISE for Youth.

To learn more about Performing Statistics, please visit www.performingstatistics.org.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Arts & Entertainment

New murals add a splash of color to Willow Lawn

A mural project recently wrapped up at Willow Lawn, where several new murals painted by acclaimed Richmond-based muralist Ed Trask are on display throughout the shopping center.  

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A mural project recently wrapped up at Willow Lawn, where several new murals painted by acclaimed Richmond-based muralist Ed Trask are on display throughout the shopping center.

Richmond-based marketing agency Rocket Pop and Trask collaborated on the design of the murals, which represent Richmond, the history of Willow Lawn, and birds, a common element in Richmond’s populated mural scene.

The project incorporates Richmond skylines and the James River – acknowledging Richmond is known as the river city – and the Blue Ridge mountains.

“There is no better means to connect with people than through art,” said Deirdre Johnson, Vice President of Asset Management.  “This mural provides a unique photo opportunity by featuring elements of the community, environment, and history while engaging with customers as they enter the property from Monument Avenue.”

Willow Lawn, Richmond’s first shopping center, originally opened in 1956. “We incorporated the Willow Lawn arch signage from the 1960s as a nod to the long-standing history of the center,” says Cara Dickens, president of Rocket Pop. “For many Richmonders, Willow Lawn is a nostalgic landmark.”

The birds are meant to give a lighthearted, cheerful vibe. Trask often incorporates birds into his murals and specifically incorporated Virginia’s state bird, the cardinal, into the Willow Lawn project.

“Birds represent everything from environmental health to freedom to a sense of place, but in Richmond, they often convey the fact that Richmond is an urban city with a ton of green space, nature, parks, rivers – a connectedness to the nature around us,” says Trask. “I often use birds to convey a connection to nature, but also the direction the bird is facing is very purposeful in my work…they are looking toward what I want the viewer to look toward.”

Lighting elements were added to the mural to provide a three-dimensional component to the project. The mural design started in May of 2020 and was completed in June of 2021.

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Patrick Patrong named VMFA’s new Chief Diversity Officer

As Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Deputy Director for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and HR Strategic Initiatives, Patrong will assist in leading EDIA strategies defined in VMFA’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and co-lead the museum’s commitment to the ONE Virginia Plan recently launched by the Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) and Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM).

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has announced the appointment of Patrick Patrong to the position of Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Deputy Director for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and HR Strategic Initiatives. Patrong comes to VMFA with more than 25 years of experience as a public service leader.

Currently the lead facilitator for his consulting firm, Patrong Enterprises, Inc., he has also worked as Construction Training Manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation and Director of the Training, Education and Exercise Division for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. In addition, he led organizational diversity initiatives for seven professional schools of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, while serving as Director of Organization and Employee Development.

“Patrick has a solid background in implementing and managing diversity programs at several agencies in the public sector. We are delighted to have someone with his extensive experience joining the museum’s human resources team,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Patrick will play a leading role taking VMFA’s EDIA initiatives to the next level and ensuring that the values of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility are fully integrated into everything the museum does and shared with all VMFA employees.”

As Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Deputy Director for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and HR Strategic Initiatives, Patrong will assist in leading EDIA strategies defined in VMFA’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and co-lead the museum’s commitment to the ONE Virginia Plan recently launched by the Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) and Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM).

For more than a decade, VMFA has actively worked to diversify its collection, exhibitions, staff and audience. Building on the success of its previous strategic plan, the museum strives to become a more vibrant, inclusive cultural leader. The museum’s current strategic plan demonstrates its commitment to the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. VMFA’s vision is to be an institution that empowers all Virginians — through art and creativity — to reflect and connect to each other, their communities and the wider world.

“I am excited to join the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts team, to work with employees and the museum’s community on expanding the institutional EDIA initiatives. VMFA’s diverse organizational culture already has unique advantages when it comes to attracting diverse staff and visitors and developing museum exhibitions, art collections and programs that appeal to diverse communities,” said Patrong. “Communication, idea generation, creativity and connectivity are all enhanced through engagement with the museum’s representative communities.”

“Patrick’s knowledge and experience will help VMFA continue to advance towards instilling EDIA values and practices, becoming a more valuable and relevant community resource, and providing even greater access to the arts for all people in the Commonwealth,” said Kimberly Wilson, VMFA’s Chief Operating Officer and CHRO/Deputy Director for Human Resource Services, Museum Operations and Volunteers.

Patrong will begin his position at VMFA on July 26. For more information about VMFA’s strategic plan and EDIA initiatives visit www.VMFA.museum.

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Weekend Radar: Kicking, Barding, Ice Cream, Summerween, Forbidden, and Reptiles

Our picks for what to do on what promises to be a steamy weekend.

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On The Radar

Kickers vs Ft. Lauderdale – The Kickers had a week of rest after an exciting 3-2 victory two weeks ago. The boys are fighting for to climb up the table. This game is against the worst team in the league so this has the potential of being another high-scorer. Ft. Lauderdale is the affiliate team of Inter Miami of the MLS which is owned by David Beckham. Maybe he’ll make the trip up to check on his youngsters. The odds of this happening currently sit at 0.00001%, so there is a chance.

  • City Stadium | 3201 Maplewood Ave. | Gates Open 5 PM Kickoff 6:30 PM Saturday, July 17th | $9 – $18 | Tickets

Richmond Shakespeare Festival – Bond with the Bard in a pretty nice location. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and join us on Agecroft Hall’s magnificent back lawn where you can sit as close to (or as far from) other patrons as you like! You’ll have a great view of the James River, the summer sky, the stage and, of course, Agecroft Hall’s beautiful facade. You can check out the sorta well-known Twelfth Night but I’m intrigued by the description of The Bottom Show. The latter comes with this warning: This show is devoid of anything vaguely intellectual, serious or romantic. Contains low-brow humor and semi-popular music.

  • Quill Theater | 4305 Sulgrave Rd | 7:30 – 10:00 PM Thursday thru Sunday, July 8th – August 15th | $33 Adults, $28 Seniors and Groups (10+) $20 Students | Tickets

Under The Radar

Free Ice Cream – Gelati Celesti will be celebrating National Ice Cream Day this year with a promotion called, ‘Midnight Madness’, offering free ice cream at midnight. “We love celebrating America’s favorite sweet treat on National Ice Cream Day,” Steve Rosser, Owner and President, said. “As Saturday night turns into Sunday morning, we want to get the party started with free ice cream.”

All locations will be offering free toddler scoops from 12:01 a.m. to 1 a.m. on July 18, then they will reopen at 12 p.m. for periodic giveaways during the day such as treats, Gelati Celesti shirts, hats and gift cards.

Summerween Family Fun Weekend – OddBalls is my favorite antique shop in town. This weekend they’re getting in the Halloween spirit. The store will be decorated for Halloween, and we will be playing Halloween music throughout the store. Kids (and pets) are encouraged to dress up and participate in our indoor Halloween trick-or-treat!!

  • Oddballs | 7580 W Broad St | Sat-Sun, July 17th-18th | Free | Website

Forbidden Broadway – You can talk about it, it’s not that forbidden. A musical revue parodying Broadway’s biggest smash hits. I hear from an insider that it’s a can’t miss.

  • Dogwood Dell | 600 S. Arthur Ashe Blvd | 8:30 PM, Thurs July 15th – Sun, July 24th | Free | Website

Reptile Expo – Not my cup of cold-blooded fun but for some this issssss a good time. Reptiles, feeders, supplies, everything under one roof.

  • Richmond Raceway | 600 E. Laburnum | 9 AM – 3 PM, Saturday July 17th | $8 per person , children under 5 FREE, ages 6-9 $3 | Website

 

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