HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) - The City of Hopewell won’t celebrate their second annual ArtsFest this year due to COVID-19, but local artwork will still be displayed - on city billboards.
The Lamb Center for Arts and Healing says the installation of the art will begin on the morning of October 1st. Each piece is by an artist who has ties to the city, giving the entire community the chance to admire their work.
“'Hopewell Proud' is a piece about celebrating what life is here in Hopewell. It shares a lot of the nature that is here: the bald eagles and the river, but also the demographics," said Austin ‘Aus’ Miles, describing her piece that will be displayed along Route 156 by Cavalier Square.
According to Eliza Lamb, Executive Director of the Lamb Center for Arts and Healing, almost 1,000 people attended the multi-day event in 2019. It took place downtown by the Beacon Theater, Hopewell Library, and the new Hopewell River Walk.
Unfortunately, Artsfest was canceled for 2020, but the idea will live on, through seven billboards. Most of which sit along route 156 - or Winston Churchill Drive - and were donated to the Center to display art for at least one month, according to Lamb.
“Each of these artists, in the last four years that we’ve been in Hopewell, have been really using their creative energy to try to make a positive change in the community," she said.
Miles, who spent parts of her childhood in the city, still has family here:
″I feel proud to be able to get back to my roots; so much that has become who I am. I’m so thankful to now come back to the city and give that back and do something that can be uplifting to so many people here," she said.
Lamb says that this new, grander display could actually help expand the reach of the city’s art scene beyond the crowd that would have just attended Artsfest:
“This could be even more influential. This could really impact the entire community - not just the people who have come downtown," she said.
More information, billboard locations, and profiles on the seven artists and their works can be found here.
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