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Not all art lasts centuries; owners paint over GRTC bus depot murals

Posted at 12:52 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 13:08:51-04

RICHMOND, Va. — In September 2013, thousands flocked to the abandoned GRTC Bus Depot to participate in the second RVA Street Art Festival, which beautified buildings on the former 7-acre GRTC bus depot at Cary St. and Robinson. But few had a chance to say goodbye when the art was recently painted over.

Local and national artists, over three days, helped rejuvenate the industrial, time-worn acres of walls and buildings on the 113-year-old property.The festival had many working parts; there was public art, mural sessions, sculpture, and mixed-media exhibits, in addition to stories and ideas about the history and future of transportation in Richmond.

Additionally, the depot’s long W. Cary Street wall was transformed into an interactive, fluid mural made up of stories about acts of kindness, portions of it lit by 1,000 LED light pods representing individual stories. It was called the “Light of Human Kindness” and the project was spearheaded by local writer and photographer Patience Salgado.

“We collected stories about light and dark, and an act of kindness that kind of made the difference for someone,” explained Salgado, in a previous interview.

That interactive mural was activated ahead of the festival and has shown up in countless pictures in the three years since its creation.

The bus barn was purchased in September 2015, by DKJ Richmond LLC, a joint venture between Chris Johnson and Tom Dickey of Monument Cos., and Howard Kellman of The Edison Co.

The developers have always said the murals would be erased as part of the construction on their mixed-use project, but no date was ever set.

Construction was underway on Tuesday, May 31.

Construction was underway on Tuesday, May 31.

Recently the organizers behind the RVA Street Art Festival were invited to photograph the art, which they said they appreciated the chance to do. One organizer said they will be meeting soon to discuss making the prints available online, and perhaps for sale.

The organizer said that they went in a couple of times to take photos.

On Tuesday, Salgado posted a picture taken in front of the Light of Human Kindness mural, and wrote:

Came to say goodbye....I learned more than I ever could have imagined at that wall, it broke my heart a little bit too in the process...everyone has a dark story, everyone holds a light, everyone needs kindness.
The Light of Human Kindness
Thank you all for being part of a million different ways.

The art may be gone, but its imprint remains and continues to be remixed in the always evolving creation of Richmond's cultural scene.