MADE IN CHURCH HILL REFLECTIONS:
A series of essays written by VCUarts Art History students for the class Social Practice in the Museum, Fall 2014
By Micaela Gore | Photograph by Atysheyona Nash
Our partnership with the Valentine is an integral part of Made in Church Hill. The Community Galleries, in which the exhibition is located, allows an incredible space for the exhibition to hang and for conversation to take place. The Valentine is rich in history in and of itself, and the community galleries are just another layer of history to be added.
By Jennifer Bade | Photograph by NeeCee Kittrell
Made in Church Hill developed out of the spirit of several earlier collaborations. In 2013, Michael Lease and Laura Browder worked together on a community-based project entitled Driving Richmond that was exhibited at the RVA Street Art Festival. Driving Richmond consisted of several elements that served as models for Made in Church Hill, including the formal photographic portraits, accompanying text excerpted from oral history interviews, and a sound component.
By Maggie O’Connor | Photograph by Na’Jir Dipasalegne
In order to develop Made in Church Hill successfully, we needed to reach out to the community– the people who live, worship and work there. Students and professors from Virginia Commonwealth University, The University of Richmond, and Church Hill Academy banded together to reach out and learn more about the Church Hill neighborhood, its residents, and history.
By Jessica Evans | Photograph by Dezhane Lurk
The Church Hill community slowly grew up around St. John’s Episcopal Church, where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech at the 1775 Virginia Convention. While the origins of Church Hill are relatively well-known, the boundaries are still in dispute. Mary Wingfield Scott, a Richmond historian from the 1950’s, defined Church Hill proper as bounded by 20th Street, Jefferson Avenue, and Franklin Street, or the area immediately surrounding St. John’s Church Hill, but it has come to encompass a much larger area with less definitive boundaries.
By Emily Driver | Photograph by NeeCee Kittrell
What began with a few kids hanging out on a porch in Church Hill has evolved into the multifaceted community service organization known today as Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT). The porch mentioned belongs to founder, Percy Strickland, who describes his founding of CHAT as a happy accident rather than a strategic mission.
By Faith Witherspoon | Photograph by Michael Lease
Church Hill Academy’s entrepreneur program grew out of Nehemiah’s Workshop, a class that teaches woodworking and other life skills to students and other Church Hill community residents. The entrepreneur program has now expanded to include the Urban Farming program and their Screen Printing Shop.