Richmond artist creates mural with message in Church Hill

Richmond artist creates mural with message in Church Hill
Updated: Jun. 29, 2018 at 1:33 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's fair to say Richmond is a city of murals, and you can find one of the newest ones in Church Hill.

Popular Richmond artist Hamilton Glass decided to create his latest masterpiece outside of a particular building after being inspired by what is happening inside of it.

At the corner of Fairmount Avenue and North 22nd, in 90-degree heat, Glass paints.

"Everyone has kind of honked and said, "Good job," said Glass.

He shakes, he steadies himself, then he sprays, adding bold splashes of color to an otherwise ordinary Church Hill corner.

"Murals can kind of be change agents in communities. There are things that can speak about a community," said Glass.

What's happening inside this building spoke to Glass. It houses the Richmond Cycling Corps, which uses cycling to help change the lives of young people, particularly African-American boys, who live in Richmond's public housing developments. However, the organization provides so much more.

"They actually moved to this neighborhood because they love the kids of this neighborhood, and they wanted to reach them beyond the bicycles," said Glass.

So, knowing the purpose of this building, Glass wanted the outside to reflect what was happening inside. Hence, the images of young men with rich brown skin, staring intently while at times in deep thought.

"I wanted to paint something that was highly representative of the kids that go in and out of this building," said Glass. "And with the crown and the hand sketch putting a crown on this kid. I also wanted to kind of convey the special message of 'you guys are kings. You guys can do anything you want. You guys should be looking at yourself in high regard.'"

It is a mural with a message of "thinking highly," not only for children in the program but for anyone who sees it.

As for the messenger who diligently braves the heat and the height?

"It's honestly just a labor of love," said Glass. "It's something I love doing. I love connecting communities. It's something that really, I think, is an asset to a community beyond just a pretty picture."

Glass's work should look familiar. He has created more than 80 murals in Richmond area.

This summer, he is working with children of the Pine Camp to create a mural along the MLK Bridge on Leigh Street.

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