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The groundbreaking public art project Mending Walls RVA aims to establish empathy and connection through art. Created by Hamilton Glass in Spring 2020, in response to the community unrest following the death of George Floyd. Inspired by an eye-opening conversation he had with friend and frequent artistic collaborator Matt Lively, the project paired together 30 artists from different backgrounds, ethnicities and perspectives to have conversations about their lived experiences and to create 16 murals across the city with hope their art would ultimately spark deeper conversations within our community and promote healing.
Using real-time footage and testimonial, Mending Walls: The Documentary shows this healing journey through art. It shows how the artists got to know each other through uncomfortable conversations about race, status and their personal experiences, how they created their mural concepts to reflect those conversations and how working together ultimately opened their eyes and their hearts to the differences, as well as commonalities among all of us. It also shows how our community responded to their efforts by engaging with the spaces the murals provided, volunteering to be a part of this community-wide effort and inspiring others to put aside their discomfort and fear to talk to each other about often difficult topics.
It's a story of recognizing our collective frustration and confusion, of understanding our different experiences, of practicing empathy, and of healing a community through art. We need to talk, and we need to listen, to move our community forward.
Partners in the Arts (PIA) at the University of Richmond joined with VPM and Mending Walls RVA to create a virtual workshop in September 2021, introducing the Mending Walls processes of building empathy through conversations, and collaborating to create art.
Videos from the workshop are now available, free with registration, through a StoryMap that features artist discussions, and a participant’s guide with questions, prompts, and activities for educators to use with their students.
Register here for access to the workshop videos and all the resources that provide any learning community a framework for how to connect as people and how to connect as artists.
Producer Pam Hervey and Director of Photography Todd Hervey are multiple Emmy winners for their broadcast work on public television. They are the creative team behind the 13-episode series The Art Scene which aired on VPM PBS from September 2019 – May 2020 and earned four Emmy nominations for the first seven episodes of the season. The Art Scene celebrated the people and organizations who create art that changes lives in Central Virginia.
They have also produced and directed two one-hour documentaries for public television — Blackbird: Legacy of Innovation which airs across the country via American Public Television and daily in the theater at the Science Museum of Virginia, and Aged Out: Finding Home, which aired across Virginia in January 2020 with additional support from the Governor's office. Outside of their original productions, Todd and Pam Hervey have both won awards for video projects in partnership with nonprofits, agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Co-producer Hamilton Glass is a painter and public artist living in Richmond, and the creator and founder of Mending Walls RVA. His work focuses around using public art to build up communities, and create spaces in which the community members feel they have a stake in their surroundings.
To him, it is vital that he uses his work in ways that serve the public and engage people through art. He believes in the power of art, which can hold communities together, and increasing equity around access to the arts.