Freeman High School students at work on the mural (photo courtesy Regency Square mall).
Starting Thursday, Regency Square mall will have its first indoor mural available for public viewing. The shopping complex continues its year-long 40th anniversary celebration with the unveiling of a new mural created by 216 Douglas S. Freeman High School art students. Local artists Hamilton Glass and Matt Lively are assisting in the creation along with three Douglas Freeman art teachers, Mary Taylor Baker-Neal, Rebecca Field and Elizabeth Jones.
The mural comprises a mesh of painted canvas squares that were pieced together to create an image of the Richmond skyline and surrounding neighborhoods. Ninth through 12th grade students created the artwork in their individual classrooms. Hamilton and Lively began working with the students on Sept. 30, with supplies donated by Regency Square. While the finished product will be one uniform image, students put their individual creative touches on their piece of canvas. In a news release, Baker-Neal says, “We are excited and honored to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. By creating this mural, students will understand that everyone’s participation is vital in creating unity within a community.”
Hamilton and Lively also created an outdoor mural on the side of the mall using images from throughout the mall’s history. These latest art projects harken back to when the mall contained four Stanley Bleifeld bronze statues (today there’s only one left in public view). The Rebkee Co. and Thalhimer Realty Partners took over ownership of the mall in January. Julie Gordon, the marketing director at Regency, says of the owners, “They live in Richmond and they are passionate about revitalization and they are really passionate about Regency … restoring its former glory.”
Family and friends of the students will get the first look at the new mural in an unveiling ceremony tonight in front of J.C. Penney and Regency Square will retain the artwork as a permanent installment in tribute to the local community.
Regency Square mall is at 1420 N. Parham Road; 740-7467 or shopregencysqmall.com.