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East End News

The Water Tower and Street Art in Church Hill

Our neighbor Paul finished documenting the removal of the water tower. Thank you!

William Robinette also shot a short video of the tear down of the old water tank. Nice work William!

Church Hill Water Tank 1-24-18


So what now?

Some of our readers like to discuss the appropriateness of certain types of art and/or embellishments in a historic neighborhood. For example, the dentil moulding at the top of the structure is not a favorite (“ironic” it was called). As for art, some of you want murals others just can’t stand it. If you haven’t been following the conversation from the last few posts about the water tower, street art or murals and their place in our neighborhood have come up a few times.

There are centuries old cities, like Barcelona, where both beautiful murals and disruptive graffiti decorate the streets. The murals are curated in the more prominent historic neighborhoods. The works of Banksy in L.A and the Crono projects in Lisbon showed that when some dilapidated neighborhoods embrace art, they can become centers of tourism. The National Trust for Historic Preservation authored a really interesting article about the powerful effect of murals as an artistic medium.

Richmond, VABanksy in LA

Nevertheless, street art has also in many ways been a controversial and undesired form of expression,

Street art has long had a strained relationship with the public, with illegal graffiti and tags considered symbols of urban decay. But that relationship has become more complicated as a new generation of street artists teams up with officials and businesses on legally sanctioned projects to revitalize public space.

To be clear, there is no commissioned artist or any potential bid to do any murals on this new water tower, so all of this debate is purely for fun. In fact,  what could be even more fun is to schedule some time with family and friends and take a ride around the city to view all that RVA has to offer! Here’s a printable map of Richmond’s murals.

Related posts

TBT: The Water Tower



John M


Marcos 01/31/2018 at 8:46 AM

This is fun. I would add that in Buenos Aires, street artists can tag any building with the owner’s consent. It’s produced some cool stuff.

Jacob Coots 01/31/2018 at 9:49 AM

I think a lot of the art is absolutely beautiful. When guests see some of the pictures I’ve taken of the street art around Richmond they will often ask to see it in person. It’s unique and adds to the uniqueness and charm that is Richmond IMO.

broad neighbor 01/31/2018 at 10:52 AM

Please no. Everything does not need to be covered in public art. RVA could use a little more quality and a lot less quantity in the mural department.

Gustavo S. 01/31/2018 at 12:23 PM

@Broad Can’t argue against quality! I hope it didn’t sound like I was saying that “everything” needs to be covered in public art. In the end, a genuine, beautiful thought provoking mural is a lot better than inane, boring ones. Plus there’s something to be said for our beautiful Church Hill just being allowed to shine on its own.

Jon Tuttle 01/31/2018 at 1:47 PM

Kayla ironic dental moulding

SA Chaplin 01/31/2018 at 4:24 PM

Modern Greek architecture + water tower dental moulding = Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan . . . and Ironic.

Kayla Runion 01/31/2018 at 4:26 PM

can the city afford to be flossing all these ironic adornments?

Travis Henschel 01/31/2018 at 6:56 PM

Would love for it to be covered in street art!

Elaine Odell 02/01/2018 at 2:45 PM

The water tower is a canvas waiting to be painted! What a great opportunity for a nature, water-oriented themed mural. Subject matter could remind us of where our potable water comes from: the venerable James River.


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