A series of essays written by VCUarts Art History students for the class Social Practice in the Museum, Fall 2014

Why is this exhibition featured in the Valentine’s new Community Galleries?

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.

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How did Made In Church Hill come together?

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.

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What was the process of making Made in Church Hill like?


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.

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What is Church Hill, and how has it changed over time?

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.

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What is Church Hill Activities and Tutoring?

house roof

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.

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How were CHAT’s entreprenuerial programs involved in this project?

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.

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