Even though stay-at-home guidelines are still in place, artists Hamilton Glass and Matt Lively have found an innovative way to collaborate and create murals around Richmond.
“I always crave collaborating,” says Glass, who has a variety of public art/murals around Richmond. “I’m always excited to work with Matt. We have collaborated numerous times.”
Their project, All In Together, allows the public to creatively come together while still physically apart and aid in the healing of the community by providing a creative outlet for self-expression.
The project includes a series of coloring pages that people can download from AllinTogetherRVA.com and color at their convenience. These coloring pages will be collected and assembled by Lively and Glass to create 8×8 installations all over Virginia.
The inspiration for the project came from the coloring sheets Lively put out for families to download and color. Glass saw the sheets and started thinking about the project he and Lively worked on for Douglas Freeman High School in 2015 when they created a mural with 216 art students.
Students painted their portion of the mural from a small postage-stamp size piece of an enlarged photograph that had been cut into 216 pieces. The new project was birthed when Glass melded that concept with the idea of creating artwork that comes together in the same way people would come together after the end of social distancing.
He and Lively hope the project will have a positive effect on people. “Some people suffer from the fear of change or they have sadness around being at home,” says Lively, who has a varied art portfolio that also includes murals. “We are thinking of them.”
The project will provide something tangible for them to see not only now but also in the future, he adds. “This collaborative project will be out in the world” for all to see.
The art created for the project will be a time stamp of “when we were in quarantine. It will be a reminder of what we are going through now,” says Glass. “It will become a symbol of the time when we still stayed together while we were apart.”
The site, which has been live since May 1, has been getting in twenty to fifty coloring sheets a day – there is no deadline to stop producing the coloring pages. “People enjoy doing them,” says Glass.
He and Lively have also partnered with Community Foundation for Greater Richmond to help them reach out to organizations such as the Salvation Army, YMCA, Sacred Heart Catholic School, St. Joseph’s Villa, and Virginia Home for Boys and Girls.
“We have also partnered with Richmond Public Schools and Community in Schools of Chesterfield. We physically distributed coloring sheets to them,” Glass says. “We have volunteers who go pick up the sheets from those organizations.”
Glass and Lively are additionally partnering with the Virginia Museum of History and Culture and creating six large banners showing different installations of the project. They are looking for people to financially support the assembly of the murals and transport to community centers, organizations, and schools and will be starting a crowd-funding campaign that will allow people to provide that support.
“We have two schools lined up – Bellwood Elementary and Falling Creek Elementary in Chesterfield,” Lively says. “Once those murals are up and installed and photos are taken, we expect we will have more interested parties. I think we will get another wave of interest at that point.”
Glass’ motivation for the project is to show that collaboration is possible even in the worst of times, he says. “Knowing these murals are like mini-monuments to what we are going through now gets my batteries charged.”
To follow the progress of the project, go to All_in_Together_Va on Instagram.
To help fund murals for Community in Schools of Chesterfield and Richmond Public Schools, go here.