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She was moved by violence in Richmond. So she turned to art

She was moved by violence in Richmond. So she turned to art
Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 10:47:48-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- It's an idea that was triggered by violence a few years ago.

Paris Allen turned on the news to see a girl her daughter's age was shot to death during a gunfight at a local park.

It was then that the self-taught artist set out to change Richmond with the stroke of a brush.

At just three years old, Shamar Hill Jr. was hit by a stray bullet after a carjacking in Hillside Court.

"His parents call him the heaven weight champion," Allen said.

The murder was a gut-wrenching blow to his family, who has grieved for nearly two years with no arrests or closure in the case.

"As an artist, you never feel like you're really finished but this past weekend, there was a child that didn't get to open gifts and I really wanted to make it my business to complete this," Allen said.

Allen is an artist with a mission.

"I started this when I saw the story of Marika Dickson. She was my daughter's age," Allen said.

With a palette of paint and strokes of a brush, she creates art in memory of children who were murdered.

"Did my first one almost three years ago. If it's something, that touches my heart, I do it!"

Shamar Hill was one of the 66 killed in Richmond in 2020. Now with 90 homicides in 2021, Richmond is on its way to matching staggering violence.

Many are now painting the city with a broad brush of somewhere you don't want to go. With 2022 right around the corner, this artist is doing her best to clear the canvas and start over.

"The message is to bring awareness and try to change the narrative to a more positive light and to show that there are other talents in Richmond, that light should shine on as opposed to all the negativity," Allen said.

Allen will install Shamar Hill Jr.'s mural at the corner of Lone and Harwood Streets on Tuesday and will also do some touch-ups on site.

Allen does the work using her own money. If you would like to donate paints or supplies to Allen, you can find her Instagram here.