Eighth Grade Boys Experience “Mending WallsRVA”

Middle School students in EngageRVA visit a public art project aimed at building bridges between Richmond communities.
Boys in EngageRVA’s eighth grade class visited different murals around downtown Richmond today to learn about Mending Walls RVA, a public art project aimed at building connections between different communities throughout the city. To learn how art can bring people together, the group stopped at different locations to observe the work, reflect and write about the experience. “Seeing these murals in person versus looking at them on a screen gives the boys time to really process them,” said Middle School School Life Director Christie Wilson. “It makes it very personal.”

The initiative pairs artists from a variety of backgrounds to create murals with an emphasis on race, cooperation and leaning into difficult conversations. Following a year of national and local protests, Mending Walls RVA is focused on using art to inspire constructive dialogue and learn more about our neighbors. “These boys are at an age where they’re starting to learn more about Richmond and how it’s important,” said Middle School History Teacher Jon Piper. “These murals being painted were a response to what happened last year, so we want to get them out there to think about and process that.”

The goal of today’s visit, and the EngageRVA elective, is to encourage the boys to broaden their horizons and learn more about different areas of their city. “I hope that the boys see that the artists came together to help the city heal in a way that moves us forward,” said Wilson. “This is who Richmond is. I hope that this opens their eyes to the city in a positive way.”