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Richmond, VA

Making a gateway to a neighborhood

The Project

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the historically black Jackson Ward neighborhood, the City of Richmond has created a gateway to a redeveloping downtown through a new three-part installation: a pedestrian plaza, an intersection mural, and a parklet. The mural and plaza artwork was designed by artist Chris Visions and draws on the Adinkra symbolism of Ghana; the Sankofa bird design represents reflection, paying tribute to the neighborhood’s legacy as the city’s African American cultural and economic center. Nine students from Art 180, a youth-focused arts group located at the intersection, worked with the artist throughout the design and installation phases of the mural. The parklet was installed in the parking space in front of Art 180, and offers a new public space for residents to gather. The project has inspired a sense of community pride and cohesion and has activated the space as a new gateway to Jackson Ward.

  • Potentially dangerous conflicts between drivers and pedestrians crossing the street  decreased by 56%.

Use the slider to see the transformation


Best Practice Highlight: Combining project elements

This project combines multiple elements to create a holistic public space. The artistic mural, pedestrianized lanes, newly striped crosswalks, wooden parklet and street furniture, brick plaza, and painted curb extensions all work in unison to effectively accomplish their goal of placemaking. Various partners collaborated to piece each distinct element into one cohesive installation.

“By working together and bringing everything we have to offer to the table, we have created a sense of place through lasting infrastructure change that everyone in the neighborhood can enjoy.” 

Max Hepp-Buchanan, Venture Richmond


Jackson Ward/Arts District

Number of Intersections


Installation Dates

September 25-26, October 25-29, and November 12, 2021

Lead Partners

Venture Richmond

Public Art Commission, City of Richmond

Department of Planning & Development, City of Richmond

ART 180

Walter Parks Architects

Lead Artist

Chris Visions


Valspar Wood and Concrete Paint with Anti-Skid Finish

Pressure treated wood

Pexco flexible delineator posts

Dero bike racks


Square Footage of Artwork



Design: $3,000
Labor: $14,500
Materials: $3,030

Intersection mural:
Design: $7,200
Student stipends: $1,530
Supplies: $1,475
Street closure: $1,800

Design: in kind
Labor: in kind
Materials: $10,000






Header image by: David Parrish

For inspiration and tips for the creation of art on roadways and public places, download the Bloomberg Associates Asphalt Art Guide which features successful plaza and roadway art activations around the world, as well as key steps for developing such projects.

Asphalt Art Guide