Explore →

The Artist Behind 2019’s Folk Festival Poster

Noah Scalin interacts with his mural for the Richmond Folk Festival
Noah Scalin interacts with his mural for the Richmond Folk Festival.

The Richmond Folk Festival is celebrating 15 years of music, food, and fun with a different kind of poster. Artist and designer, Noah Scalin said in an interview with VPM, “I wanted to come up with something new that would do a similar job of representing the sort of diversity of creativity and music the Folk Festival brings to our community.” 

As Scalin considered how he would achieve this goal through the Folk Festival poster, Richmond city acted as his inspiration. “Richmond is a great incubator,” said Scalin. “We have got a perfect balance here. We’ve got big-city stuff, we’ve got that small-town feeling and you can make things happen here.” One of the things Scalin finds most inspiring about Richmond is our murals. “I started thinking about the wonderful murals that we have now in Richmond, all this great street art,” said Scalin. “And that sort of popped into my head that a great way to go big would be to go literally big and create a mural as the heart for the poster.” 

Richmond Folk Festival mural
Zinn Scalin in the 2019 Folk Festival Poster.

Creating a mural is exactly what he did. On the side of the Broadberry, Folk Festival fans and art enthusiasts alike can not only enjoy the mural in person but be a part of it. “I designed it specifically to be interactive,” said Scalin. “The idea was instead of just a poster that you see, there's a real mural right on the side of the Broadberry that you can go up to and take a photo to make your own version.” The mural depicts Scalin’s version of the goddess of music - who was inspired by several performers including Cesária Évora, Angélique Kidjo, and Ma Rainey. The goddess is depicted projecting her positive energy down over whoever stands in her light. Scalin said he hoped this image would, “bring the same great energy to the city the way the festival does.” Scalin said on his website that he created the goddess of music mural so the public could, “Stand in her rays and show how they are transformed by the experience.”

After the mural was painted, all Scalin needed to complete the 2019 Folk Festival poster was a model to stand in the goddess of music’s light. “I wanted somebody interacting with it,” said Scalin. The Folk Festival and Scalin brought in models of all shapes and sizes to pose with the mural, in hopes of finding the perfect model to complete the poster. The model they chose came as a surprise to everyone involved. “The one we settled on is actually my own daughter,” said Scalin. “So that's who's leaping in the photo that's on the poster.”

Besides designing the poster for Richmond’s 15th Folk Festival, Scalin offers his artistic expertise to VPM’s newest program, The Art Scene. “I’m a big enthusiast and supporter of our community,” said Scalin. “As somebody who travels the world, speaking about creativity and art, I love talking about Richmond and what a great place it is.”

The Folk Festival begins October 11th and runs through October 13th. The Art Scene begins on October 10th on VPM.

Steam the Folk Festival live here.

Follow The Art Scene here.