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%.
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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 crossroads of Brook, Marshall get parklet, street mural (Richmond BizSense, December 2, 2021)
Richmond cuts ribbon on new plaza mural, parklet in Jackson Ward (Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 19, 2021)
Venture Richmond cuts ribbon on new parklet in Jackson Ward (ABC 8 News, November 17, 2021)
Artist brings African art to Richmond’s Jackson Ward (CBS 6 News Richmond, November 17, 2021)
Art institutions, Richmond team up for painting project funded by grant (The Commonwealth Times, October 13, 2021