How All City Art Club Took A Parking Lot And Created A New Street Art Gallery

by | Jun 26, 2024 | STREET ART

Recently, the All City Art Club worked with the city to create artwork for the parking lot in Carytown near the Byrd Theatre. This evolved into a full-fledged street art festival dubbed “Parking Lot Pieces,” spanning several days and featuring some of the best street art talent the city has ever had to offer.

The project has been well received by the public, the city, and the artists. The hope is that this leads to more cooperation between the local government and local creatives, representing a turning point in the relationship the city has with its street-level creative class. We want to encourage more of this and sent a few questions to Silly Genius, one of the founders of All City Art Club. 

ed. note: We reached out to the city but haven’t received any answers to our questions, so we are running with this. 


All City Art CLub Parking Lot Mural Festival 2024_photo by Jody Adams_RVA Magazine 2024
Art by Theodore Taylor III @tedikuma, photo by Jody Adams @artbyothers

R. Anthony Harris: How do you start something like this?

Silly Genius: We met with the Office of Strategic Communications back in December/January for another project, and they asked us if we had any ideas for something the office could help with. The parking deck project was the first thing that came to mind. It was low risk/high reward in terms of logistics and getting the city to support it.

RAH: As far as I can tell, this is one of the first times in a long time that the city government has actually been proactive in helping artists. Is that correct to say?

Silly Genius: I’d say so. I can’t remember the last time anything like this has happened with support from city hall.

RAH: What was that process like?

Silly Genius: Months of meetings, networking, and addressing concerns about what would happen after the project was completed. There’s a persistent misunderstanding of what graffiti can be if given the room to stretch its legs. Just a ton of conversations addressing those worries and about what the project would look like.

RAH: How did you get so many artists to participate?

Silly Genius: Honestly, we just threw it out there. We made a group chat and laid it all out. A lot of the artists in the city feel the same way we do. The murals and street art have become the face of Richmond’s art scene over the last 10 years, but there’s still no infrastructure to support what we do. The parking deck was too great of an opportunity to miss out on because who knows when something like this will happen again.

RAH: What was the vibe like during the creation of all that art?

Silly Genius: It was perfect. It felt like summer art camp. Just hanging out with the homies and painting all day. It doesn’t get much better than that.

RAH: What has the response been from the community?

Silly Genius: The response has been great. This is an art city, and the people love and appreciate when the artists get to do their thing. A lot of people expressed how happy they were that this hunk of concrete now looks colorful and inviting. Quite a few transplants from cities like NY, Philly, and Detroit told us how walking through the parking deck reminds them of home.

All City Art Club Parking Lot Mural Festival 2024 written by and photos by R Anthony Harris_RVA Magazine 2024
Art by BIG Blessed @bybigblessed

RAH: Any feel-good stories from hanging out with everyone making art or from the community around that area?

Silly Genius: The resident that lives directly next door to the parking deck, Jesse, was especially gracious to all the artists. Just the kindest, most supportive human being. Even going as far as buying all the artists lunch on the last day. And everyone fell in love with his cat, Hazel, @carytowncat on IG. She was fearless and cool and hung out around all the artists like she was one of the gang.

RAH: Any more parking lot festivals happening down the line?

Silly Genius: We briefly talked with Stephanie Lynch (5th District City Councilor) about painting the second parking deck. The energy is there, and there’s a great opportunity to improve on the relationship between the artists and the city. The way the city handles art and culture needs a complete overhaul, and this could be the seed it grows out of.

RAH: What’s next for All City Art Club?

Silly Genius: “Dreams That Dream Back.” We won the 2023 Abbey Mural Prize from The National Academy of Design, and that’s the name of our project. So, a whole new campaign of murals for the Southside and anywhere else we can find walls. Outside of that, we’re trying to find a space for All City to call home. We have a ton of ideas for creative events and classes. It would be awesome to have that space on Southside, since there’s little access to art out there. And just more of what we’ve already been doing. Trying to grow and push forward.

The Carytown parking lot festival not only beautified a mundane space but also symbolized the potential for greater collaboration between the city’s administration and its vibrant artist community. As the colors continue to brighten up Carytown, the hope is that more initiatives like this will flourish, enriching Richmond’s cultural landscape.

For more information on All City Art Club can be found at allcityartclub.com

Main image of a mural by Chris Visions @chrisvisions, photo by R. Anthony Harris

Full list of artists:

Silly Genius @sillygenius | Dathan Kane @_dkane | Chris Visions @chrisvisions| ENVYS @onedirty7 | Timmy Pay Checks @timmypaychecks | Erek Jones @stachesquatchdesign | Sam Skrimpz @friedskrimpz | Emily Herr @herrsuite | Humble @humblemakesart | Jamie Douglas @jamiedouglasx | Jerro @jerrofyx | Jesse Smith @jessesmithtattoos | Justice Dwight @justicedwight | Mike Kemetic @mikemetic | Nadd @naddthenomad | Polen Hunny @polenhunny | Profound79 @profound79 | Theodore Taylor III @tedikuma | Ron Stokes @viewsbystokes | Wing Chow @wing.chow | BIG Blessed @bybigblessed | Fredo @804.fr3do | M.E. @whos.mars_ | Meme @memersweets | MONOLITH @monolithdc | @tri__state__stone | Dfur @dfur2u | DICKO @_dick_one_ | @skwheatstraw | @fillz_and_tagz | Crud City @crudcity_ | Sage @sagetheartist | High Club @highclubproductions | Oura Sananikone @ourasananikone | Weston @prof_weston

More information on “Dreams That Dream Back”

All City Arts Club, Richmond, Virginia: All City Art Club will be creating a series of murals in Southside Richmond, in collaboration with local businesses and community groups. Each member of All City will paint a mural individually, and then assist a rising local artist with a smaller mural. These murals, created in an area with limited exposure to the arts, are meant to increase accessibility, promote civic engagement and participation, and inspire people to claim ownership of public space.

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work: www.majormajor.me




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