Mending Walls uses public art to start conversations

"Say Their Names" by Silly Genius and Nils Westergard | Photo by RICtoday

You’ve probably seen the work of Mending Walls RVA around Richmond. The public art project was formed in 2020 to bring artists from different cultures + backgrounds together to create murals around the city. 

Founded by Richmond artist Hamilton Glass, the organization embraces Richmond’s proclivity for painting and creates works of art which will inspire conversations + empathy for others. Artists are paired together to tell a collaborative story and provide a space for healing through public art. 

The latest collaboration is at 2601 W. Cary St., where Hamilton + artist Courtney Lebow worked together with RISE for Youth, a social justice organization. The wall features quotes from teens involved with the organization, in response to the prompt “When I see myself, I see …” 

More than 16 murals have been completed around the city, from Scott’s Addition to Northside to Manchester, with more coming soon. Richmonders can also learn about the murals through Bike And Brunch Tours, which hosts tours on Wednesdays + select Saturdays through October. 

The project also has a podcast where Hamilton sits down with the artists to discuss their inspiration and process in creating the mural. The upcoming second season of the podcast will focus on murals concerning mental health, incarceration, housing + food justice. 

A documentary about Mending Walls will premiere at the Richmond International Film Festival on Sept. 7. “Mending Walls: The Documentary” will also air on VPM PBS on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.