Potterfield will fulfill the role of contextual illuminator. “As I see it, I will speak of it,” he says. The “it” includes buildings and sites of historic or cultural import. And there’s no better way to cover this amount of territory than via the buses operated by Richmond Trolley.
Giles Harnsberger, manager of Storefront for Community Design, explains that there’ll be no stops. “We’ll keep rolling to go by the 22 sites that Storefront has worked on.”
She explains that Storefront is a workshop where anything goes. “It’s a place where people can come and work with a designer on a whole range of projects, which is what we’re showing with this tour.” Some of the projects are completed, while others are in the planning pipeline.
Some examples are the Wiliam Byrd Community House in Oregon Hill, where Storefront is assisting their plan for a nutrition center and a kitchen learning center.
At 119 N. 19th St., developer Josh Bilder is giving Storefront a blank wall on the former Eastern Steel Manufacturers warehouse to fill with a mural. “We’re doing a mural paying tribute to Richmond’s original neighborhood, “ Harnsberger says. Renowned Richmond-based muralist Ed Trask is consulting, while the work will be achieved by volunteers Llewellyn Hensley, Andrea Manrique, and Tyler King.
“Josh Bilder is interested in public art” Harnsberger says. "He approached Storefront and told us, ‘Have your way with the building.’ ”
Up the hill is the East Grace Street Overlook, next to the former WRVA building (designed by Philip Johnson), where an interpretive plaque once described the view. A standing frame remains, and Storefront is creating a small landscape design to set it apart, while replacing the informative plaque.
The 31st Street Baptist Church is consulting with the organization on the creation of a zen garden.
At Great Shiplock Park, Storefront helped create a wheelchair-access ramp to the bridge to Chappel Island in collaboration with the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission.
In Fulton in the city’s East End, Storefront is engaging with the neighborhood to complete a community memorial just south of Powhatan Hill Park. “But it’s threatened right now by the Route 5 widening proposal,” Harnsberger says.
The tour and included light refreshments are $50. Tickets are in short supply, and reservations are required. Call 322-9556.
In other news, Richmond is the nation’s “Next Hipster City” according to Lauren Modery, the “Hipstercrite” of CultureMap in Austin, Texas.
Modery explains, “With that being said, let me tell you what comes with that honor. Shepard Fairey street art, Californians, food trailers, 2 more additional American Apparels, pedicabs, more music festivals than you'll know what to do with, random Ryan Gosling sightings, a W Hotel and gluten-free, dairy-free air sandwiches.”
Richmond’s got a good start on some of these. There’s this ginormous international street-art event, the G40 Art Summit, coming down the pike. Here’s the list of artists; so far Mr. Fairey isn’t on it, but a slew of talented people from all over the world are.
We used to have the River City Rickshaw, but, alas, I’ve not seen one in some time. There’s a Westin in Short Pump, but I don’t think that’s what she means. It’s more like this. I suggested putting one of these kinds of places in Carytown, back during the Verizon Building fuss, but nobody listens to me.
Music festivals? We've got that covered, what with the Richmond Folk Festival, the RVA Music Festival and the latest addition to the menu of venues. Then there was the sweaty glory of Best Friends Day, described by Johnny Hugel as "driven by the concept that making a big deal out of nothing makes it funny," which is about as hipster as you can get. Sadly, the muddy majesty of bicycle-centric Slaughterama may have proved too much for Richmond's non-hipster PTB. As RVA magazine said in 2010, "It’s loud, it’s rowdy, and most of the time, it’s the kind of muddy, beer-soaked fun that you can only have in Richmond, VA."
We've also made great strides, gluten-free wise, and we've got some pockets of dairy-free existence, but I cannot attest to any Ryan Gosling sightings, as he's not in that Lincoln movie. Daniel Day-Lewis will have to do — for now.
Read the “Next Hipster City” piece here.