Art does make a difference. Last week Thursday was the Art In Windows Spring 2016 opening in Richmond, California. While this current economy continues to favor a select few, volunteers and organizations try their best to keep the arts alive in forgotten areas. It might seem like a small gesture but to my community it’s something to hold on to and be proud of.
Richmond Main Street and Richmond Arts & Culture Commission have partnered together to activate the city with art. From the website: “The Richmond Main Street Initiative, Inc. is a community-based nonprofit corporation dedicated to revitalizing historic Downtown Richmond as a pedestrian-friendly urban village, offering products, services, arts, and entertainment that reflect the community’s rich and diverse heritage.” As a Richmond Arts & Culture Commissioner, our official purpose is to promote and encourage the development of and interest in the fine and performing arts, and to act in an advisory capacity to the City concerning its artistic and cultural development and the preservation of Richmond’s heritage.
Two organizations working together on limited budgets to do some good- is good!
The evening started with a mixer at the Richmond Main Street Office then an Art Walk through the downtown. With homemade brownies and banana bread in hand, my goal was to feed artistic superheroes. Art unites and strengthens our community!
Featured local photographers included Josue Hernandez, Saida Hogan Nassirruddin, Marni Temple, Carnell Rogers, and Robert Ellison. Mr. Hernandez is a young artist who received a neighborhood public min-grant in 2015 and 2016. When the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission first met Josue, he was reserved and quiet. Standing proud with his photographs of Richmond bicycle culture, he has matured into an outgoing and confident soul. A transformation made possible by offering opportunities to individuals like Josue. This small financial investment with priceless rewards provided hope, encouragement, and a positive push forward.
Saida Hogan Nassirruddin’s photographs were displayed at St. Raphael’s Liberal Catholic Church and Pharos Book Nook. Saida’s vibrant photographs showcase her love of the natural world and floral portraits. They were heavenly located in a place of worship allergic to discrimination.
Photographers Marni Temple and Carnell Rogers, part of the Elders Learning Community, attended the reception. From Temple’s biography, she hopes when viewing her photographs that “…how much people see regardless of how old they are, or how young.” At 100 years old, Carnell Rogers is an example of having no fear of learning or exploring something new at any age. Her photographs provide an insight that only time can provide. Recently, President Obama sent Rogers a Birthday greeting. Each day Marni and Carnell celebrate creativity and the best of humanity.
Art in Windows united generations and brought together my community. With such little we can do so much. Imagine what we could do with more investment and support. For now, we will continue on. Carnell in her biography discusses her journey as an artist: “…it is like I tell my kids, we Rogers can do anything.”
Richmond can do anything.