New mural the first step in Diversity Richmond exterior rebranding
A long-time symbol for the most LGBTQ-friendly spot in Richmond has begun re-painting and a recently finished piece by a famed local muralist is the first step.
Repainting the exterior is part of Diversity Richmond’s (Formerly the Gay Community Center of Richmond) broader rebranding plan. Earlier this year the non-profit LGBTQ center took steps to drop the “gay” specific title, and it’s Executive Director, Bill Harrison, said the visual overhaul is also part of the push for change.
“We’ve been talking about changes here for a very long time,” said Harrison, who had been in talks about a mural for the building with local muralist Mickeal Broth. Broth, famous for his cartoon-ish murals which adorn several buildings around RVA, put Diversity in touch with local muralist Hamilton glass.
“It’s exciting,” said Harrison who called Glass one of the city’s “most renown” muralists. ”We have been planning and planning and this week it’s happening,”
The mural (top image), features blossoming flowers and Glass’s trademark geometric designs. It was started a few weeks ago with the help from about 25 volunteers from several corporations and organizations around the city.
“It’s pretty new (style-wise). It’s something I’m trying out, using longer swoops and things like that,” said Glass about his recently finished work. “This is kind of an evolution, same kind of aesthetic with the line word, but broader swoops and a little bit looser.”
But Glass and Harrison soon found out not everyone was so excited about the new paint work – the iconic rainbow that stood along side I-95 for decades, proving to be (at least for this writer) a constant reminder that LGBTQ people existed in the city and we weren’t afraid to show it.
But Harrison said, much like broader rebranding strategy, any kind of change is hard.
“I know some people have a problem with change, I have problems with change,” he said. “But once they see the building they’re gonna love it.”
Glass said he too was surprised by the number of folks concerned with removing the rainbow stripes.
“The people that have come and talk to me about it changing, they were kind of sad it was changing,” said Glass, but he said his design, and the use of the blossoming flowers, aimed to show “a new life,” for Diversity.
“The flower is kind of perfect symbol for new life,” the muralist said. “Hopefully this is something that can resemble a break in life. New beginnings are always scary, but it can mean growth.”
As I sit in my office and type, I am listening to the beautiful music of the choir of a community of faith that meets in our building on Sundays. I am reminded once again of the strength and gentleness of our community. We can overcome anything. We have often proven that. We need to [...]September 27, 2016
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