Richmond’s Street Art Festival

We’ve had a bunch of beautiful weekends lately so we’ve been eating up as many summer-ish activities as possible before the weather turns. One such activity was Richmond’s 2013 Street Art Festival. We’d been to the inaugural festival last year, but this one certainly took it up a notch.

The site was an old bus depot that was once a repair station for Richmond’s 19th-century electric street car system (which was the first in the country, preceding the now famous San Francisco system). There were tons of old buildings not being used, so bravo to whomever thought up the idea of allowing local artists to cheer them up with a little paint.

It’s just another reason we love this city.

There was plenty of eye candy, like an appearance by our favorite wheeled bees by painter Matt Lively.

There was lots of interactive stuff that got people involved in the art taking place. This drip art mural invited kids to ride up in the lift to help drip paint down the wall. Had the line been a bit shorter and had Clara been a smidge older, we totally would’ve been up there.

They also debuted a mural called The Light of Human Kindness that was inspired by acts of kindness that people submitted online. It’s laced with LED lights that illuminate when people continue to post kind acts online (you can see more of the mural and read or submit stories here).

And as if this giant woodcut map wasn’t enough to get me excited…

It was actually a giant print that Studio Two Three was using to create a huge piece of art… using a STEAMROLLER. We were all pretty mesmerized by the process. Clara especially liked the “digger” (which is what she tends to call every piece of construction equipment these days).

Clara was also very much into any art that featured animals in it. Word.

Sherry was particularly fond of this small Escher-ish painting.

And I like just about anything with a president on it.

A president or bikes, I guess.

And beyond just being able to watch the artists at work, there was a pretty festive vibe this year. There were TONS of people and everywhere you looked there was something going on – usually with some bright paint involved, like this cheerful half pipe.

There were also a bunch of food trucks lined up (like most cities these days, food trucks are EVERYWHERE in Richmond). We skipped the traditional lunch and just got donuts instead. We’d heard awesome things about Mrs. Yoder’s and they did not disappoint. It’s like the biggest meltiest Krispy Kreme you ever did taste.

It’s events like this that make us feel very lucky to live in a city where there’s always something interesting and fun (not to mention 100% free) to help Clara experience the world. So thanks RVA!

Of course it begs the question. How are they going to top this next year?

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Let’s Go Out To The Movies

At the very start of summer we decided we were going to take Clara to see her first movie at the theater. We felt like she was old enough to pay attention through the whole thing and the sequel to her favorite movie at home, Despicable Me, came out in July. Well… it took us ’til September to actually make it happen.

It was the last Friday before school started the following week, so we figured it was a nice exciting event to close Clara’s summer. By some miracle Despicable Me 2 was still playing, so we figured the chances were good that we’d have some little theater all to ourselves (i.e. no other people to disturb). Well, we did have the theater all to ourselves. Only it wasn’t little. How a movie that had been out for so long ended up getting assigned to this giant theater, we’ll never know – but we loved it.

Even though we had full reign of the stadium theater we still thought it would be good practice for Clara to learn not to scream out “I love Gru” everytime he walked on screen. So we employed some of the techniques that our mom-friends had suggested, which mostly boiled down to “keep them busy with food.”

Before we even entered the theater, Clara was already thoroughly enjoying the movie-going experience thanks to this talking display.

It was fun seeing how novel the experience was through her eyes. Everything was exciting. Walking up the stairs to our seats. Chowing down on some movie popcorn. Sitting in the folding seats that were determined to fold her up.

And of course the big screen. There was lots of pointing and marveling at the big screen for a while. Sherry was in mom-mode. Intent on documenting everything, she even hopped up to get some photos from the row behind us. #momsandtheircameras

Even though there was no one around us to disturb, we still practiced being quiet. I won’t say Clara completely succeeded in that throughout the movie. She might have a future career as a film narrator.

Despite being a bit vocal in some parts, she did really well. She sat in her seat nearly the entire time (she got up once to dance with the characters) and we didn’t even have to dig into any snacks other than the popcorn. Our only rough patch was when we had to convince her to take a potty break even though we couldn’t pause the movie. But overall, we’re quite proud of our freshly minted cinephile.

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