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Posted In: James River

Art on the James

Justin Doyle

February 18, 2016 10:10pm

2016 is shaping up to be a banner year for art on the James River. Numerous creative endeavors are anticipated on Richmond’s riverfront and beyond. Why not enhance our public riverfront spaces with art while making them more accessible?

The Lynchburg Bluffwalk. Credit: Lynchburg News and Advance

The Lynchburg Bluffwalk. Credit: Lynchburg News and Advance

The City of Richmond recently announced it commissioned sculptor Joshua Weiner to create the first public art project associated with the Richmond Riverfront Plan. The $200,000 project will complement the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge currently under construction. Both the bridge and art installation are anticipated to be complete in 2016. Richmond’s Public Art Commission is holding a public meeting to introduce the artist and gather public feedback at 10:30 am February 27th at SunTrust Mortgage located at 901 Semmes Avenue. Future riverfront projects will feature public art installations so Richmonders can look forward to a more accessible riverfront complemented by new art installations.

The RVA Street Art Festival is also expected to bring art to Richmond’s riverfront this year. Organizers are planning to incorporate the iconic Southern States silos (lead news photo is credit Richmond.com), located at the southern end of the 14th Street Bridge in Manchester, into the festival sometime in April. The festival was originally scheduled for last fall, just before the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships, but was postponed in July to allow for more planning.

According to a July 17, 2015 media release from festival organizers: “The Southern States silos are so iconic to Richmond, and there is a lot of energy in Manchester right now. Our goal is for this festival to build on the enormous success of the previous ones — and to create an amazing and unforgettable experience for the City. To make this happen, however, we recognized that we needed more time and resources to bring it all together,” said festival co-founder Jon Baliles.

Street art in Richmond.

Street art in Richmond.

While specific dates for this year’s event have not been announced, I have heard rumors indicating the third edition of the festival will be exceptional. Stay tuned for details!

Our neighbors 140 miles upriver in Lynchburg recently opened Winter Lights 2016, a light-based installation on the City’s new scenic Bluffwalk. The temporary installation organized by the James River Council for the Arts & Humanities aims to attract visitors downtown during the winter months. Winter Lights 2016 is illuminated until 10 p.m. every night through March 5th. By the way, if you have not visited the Bluffwalk, I encourage you to visit it and the new restaurants along it including El Jéfe Taqueria Garaje and Kegney Brothers.

About Justin Doyle

Justin's passion for conservation began at a young age. He grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., where he witnessed the rapid conversion of fields and forests to sprawling residential and commercial development. He pursued a career in conservation to protect precious natural resources like the James River and joined the James River Association in April 2013. Before joining the JRA he received a BaA degree in Geography from the University of Mary Washington, a Master of Urban & Regional Planning degree from Virginia Commonwealth, and spent five years working as a planner in Henrico County. He is a 2015 Fellow of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute, serves on the Falls of the James Scenic Advisory Committee, and represents the JRA on the James River Advisory Council. He currently resides in Richmond with his wife and dog, Henry. In his spare time Justin enjoys exploring the James River on his kayak, traveling, gardening, hiking, cycling, and snow skiing.