New interactive augmented reality banners debut at Richmond City Hall

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 9:59 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Thursday was a historic day for youth in the city of Richmond. Two large portraits featuring youth leaders were unveiled at Richmond’s City Hall during a rally.

“It’s amazing it’s never done before. My mind is all over the place,” said Ta’Dreama McBride, one of the youth advocates featured. “This isn’t like any other art project, this is part of a vision for the youth and the city.”

The 160-foot portraits are part of Performing Statistics collaborations with RISE for Youth titled, Freedom Constellations. Based in Richmond, Performing Statistics is a national cultural organizing project that uses art to advocate for alternatives to youth incarceration and works with youth impacted by the juvenile justice system.

It’s the largest public art installation on a municipal building in the country that uses augmented reality.

“We have young people’s faces on the side of City Hall, where we are literally saying this change is larger than life. These young people are refusing to be denied,” said Valerie Slater with RISE for Youth.

The portraits will feature Ta’Dreama McBride and Clyde Walker, who are youth leaders from RISE. RISE for Youth is a state campaign that encourages the creation of healthy communities and community-based alternatives to youth incarceration.

“There’s so many people going through incarceration issues. There’s kids, father, uncles, people all over the world are going dealing with this issue,” said McBride. “When you look at this, I hope it connects to you. I hope this makes you want to change, inspire and do different things.”

This project symbolizes a new monument that asks young people to create a road map towards freedom for all, as old monuments are taken down in Richmond that symbolized the legacy of the Confederacy and slavery.

Valerie Slater, with RISE for Youth, says this art display gives young people the space to dream.

“Young people are seen as the advocate and the agents of change, and we will stand with them and behind them,” said Slater.

She hopes that when adults walk past this reality banner then people recognize the power within the next generation.

“They have the potential to do larger than life things,” said Slater.

”The youth of Richmond - you can do anything, anything, anything, we’re fighting for you,” said McBride. “We’re fighting for you to get the opportunity to do huge things like this or even bigger.”

The City of Richmond’s Mayoral Office and the Department of Human Services invited Performing Statistics to install their work at City Hall.

“We must build a future where every young person feels unlimited in potential and unimpeded by the burdens of systemic racism and poverty,” said Mayor Stoney at the press conference announcing the project. “Freedom Constellations is a beacon shining brightly from City Hall in support of that vision.”

The west-facing side of Richmond’s City Hall and will be displayed until Nov. 30, 2021.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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