Monday, January 09, 2012

Fun in Richmond

"Richmond is toilet," or so I told my children last summer when we moved Brigid there for school.  Calm down, I meant "toilet" in the nicest possible way, and anyway, I was being facetious.  I'm actually very fond of Richmond.  It's the closest real city to Charlottesville.  It's relatively big and impersonal, unlike Charlottesville, and nobody gives a shit about what you are doing or how you are dressed.

I like Richmond because it reminds me of Buffalo, NY.  Both cities had a grand past but are past their primes.  We were on Broad St. near VCU, in Richmond the other day, and the juxtaposition of trendy little shops and empty store fronts gives the impression that Richmond is a skinny old lady wearing a dress that is ten sizes too big.  It's a little sad, but it still has beauty.  And I like the Swedish crosswalk buttons at the corner of Broad and Belvidere.  It's jolly to find a Swedish system installed in such an unlikely place as Richmond, Virginia.  The buttons tick like a metronome, and when it's time for you to cross, they increase their tempo to a frantic pace.  So much more fun than Charlottesville's talking crosswalk buttons that alternately scold and exhort.

But I digress.  What's awesome about Richmond right now is that it is the first city to show Brigid's art.  She's had her art in Charlottesville galleries, but always in shows that were featuring the local public schools.  This is the first time she was invited to make a piece for an exhibit based purely on contacts she made independently which I think is pretty awesome for a first-year art student.  Even if I am her mother.

Brigid's final assignment for her space research class was to make six identical three-dimensional objects and give them to six different people--they had to be strangers--and record how the giving went.  Brigid made six stuffed people and walked into six random businesses and gave them to whoever happened to be working at the counter.  The recipients had varying reactions.  One person was deeply suspicious of the object, another--the owner of a little gift shop--promptly put it for sale in his window and asked her to make more.  A man in a coffee shop erroneously believed Brigid had made the gift for him, personally.  And one person, at the shop Quirk on Broad St, happened to be the owner of an art gallery that was putting on an exhibit of stuffed items.

The exhibit name is Grab It!  Each artist was given a vintage suitcase and told to fill it with soft objects that you would take if you were a child escaping from the apocalypse.

The artists' reception and opening night were last Thursday and the gallery opened to the public the next day for First Friday.  It was exciting to see Brigid's pillar.

She had less time than anyone else to get her pieces together and sewing is not her specialty.  She made her creatures from thrifted clothes and scraps.

So I'm sorry I ever called Richmond a toilet.  And the Quirk gallery is lots of fun, by the way.  It's also a shop, of the sort that people drive to the downtown mall in Charlottesville to see.


  1. Dude. How did you come to our town but not hang out? Next time, please. :)

  2. That is so cool!

    We've always said Richmond has all the things you think you need to be cool, but somehow falls short.

  3. How wonderful for Brigid! You must be so proud.

  4. I loved Richmond when I visited friends at Univ. of Richmond and attended a wedding there. I love Brigid's case and the creativity of the assignment.


  5. I want a small suitcase full of soft cuddly objects when the apocalypse comes. I like Brigid's interpretation.
    My daughter-in-law went to VCU and studied art.
    And I've been told that I would have been named Brigit (with a t not the d version) if not Barbara. At the time there was Bridgitte Bardot and I think that was too close for my parents' comfort. Still kind of eerie to see the name.
    Barbara B.....

  6. Congratulations to Miss Brigid!

  7. Well done Brigid.
    Please post more examples of her work.

    I like stuffed animals, except this one:

  8. Brava, Brigid! What a cool assignment--and what a neat take she had on it.