RVA’s kindness stories to power street art installation

Originally published August 9, 2013 on RVAnews.com.

In a new kind of art that combines storytelling, human connection, and light, the Light of Human Kindness mural and campaign in Richmond will use stories of kindness to light an interactive mural going up at the RVA Street Art Festival this month.

The project will be completed in a series of stages beginning August 17th. Stories about kindness that are shared via the project’s website will be painted onto a wall at the old GRTC bus depot at 101 S. Davis Ave during the community-wide Stories of HumanKIND event. Later, artist Hamilton Glass will paint an 80 foot wide mural over the stories, using inspiration from both the light and dark in the stories. Technicians will then install 1,000 LED lights into the side of the wall. As people share their stories on the project’s website or touch conductive paint on the mural, the lights will turn on for an illuminative display that will be powered from September 13th – December 31st.

The project collects stories about dark moments in people’s lives that were changed by someone else’s kind intervention. The anonymous stories can come from all over the world–the first day saw over 60 submitted.

Salgado, who is known for her work in guerrilla goodness was inspired to share her passion for kindness through something more visual and interactive for the city. “One of the things I learned was the difference between being nice and being kind,” she said. “Nice is polite and obligatory, kind is empathy and compassion…kindness makes us part of a human family.”

The project molds up-and-coming technology with art and social change, Salgado said, which she believes Richmond is now striving to be known for.

“I think that we’re deciding right now who we want to be and I think it’s a really pivotal time for our city,” she said. “We are a city of kindness…and I think this is the moment to really dig in…Richmond has always embraced creativity…it feels like we are doing this together,” said organizer Patience Salgado.

The project is organized in part by creative marketing firm The Martin Agency, who helped mold Salgado’s’ original idea and provided the technology to connect the website with the lights.

— ∮∮∮ —

“This isn’t just about a good looking mural,” said artist Hamilton Glass.

The Richmond based muralist was approached by Salgado in January about her idea for the wall. Most of Glass’s murals are community based, but he says this one will break ground for interactive murals across the world.

“I feel like my murals do the same thing but not to the depth that this could,” Glass said. “It’s supposed to be beautiful but it also means so much more because the public has a stake in lighting the lights…It’s something that goes beyond the realm of visual satisfaction.”

The 2013 festival begins September 11th at the retired GRTC bus depot. The festival will feature dozens of street artists, muralists, and sculptors both locally and from around the nation for the four day event. Proceeds from the festival will benefit theArt 180. Contribute to the fest through their newly launched Indiegogo campaign.

Timeline

  • Now – 8/17 • Stories collected
  • 8/17 • Stories of HumanKIND community art event to transfer stories to the wall
  • 8/19 • Hamilton Glass starts painting the mural
  • 9/2 • Lights are installed
  • 9/9 • Kindness lights/website launch
  • 9/11 • RVA Street Art Festival
  • 9/15 – 12/31 • The Light of Human Kindness exhibit
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