Nils Westergard, Girl with Phone, Richmond

There was a great atmosphere at Belmont and Patterson, Richmond, Virginia yesterday. With the DJ mixing the painting skills of Nilsønåg Westergård against some chilled out tunes by Nico Doreste… to produce another stunning mural by our good friend Nils.

The subject of the mural was a young girl, caught up with her mobile phone, the iconic logo changed to Nils signature of the Butterfly. An intimate yet public gesture that we are all familiar with.

Nils Westergard paid for the project himself to bring art to the streets of Richmond, even though the RVA public art commission in Richmond has $3.2 million to invest in public art but will not give artists any money for murals… For real?!

Nils speaks of his frustration…

“We did this piece for little over $100 which came out of my pocket. The RVA Public Art Commission has several million dollars which their advisor has told me they are not interested in putting toward murals. Instead leaving it up to us to find funds, or to Art Whino to bring in international painters, and bear the costs themselves or worse, farm it out to sponsors. Do we really want our public art funded by Phillip Morris? I don’t.

Ed Trask and his Street Art Festival (separate from the RMP) which has majority local artists and has previously painted the bus depot and near the pipeline, has to have an Indiegogo up to get the money it needs for this year’s festival. With this year’s was already delayed from last year due to lack of funds. That is ridiculous!

Imagine how many vacant properties in Richmond we could paint with $5,000, $10,000, even $50,000 of the city’s $3.2 million. Imagine how that would change our city and impact our community, especially in the pockets of RVA that need it most.

Currently our master plan on how to spend that $3.2 Million is being led by two advisors the city hired from out-of-town. And thus far on the books we have a monument of Maggie Walker, and a riverside sculpture from an artist in CO.

Do me a favour, and email the head of the commission, and tell her you would like some of that money to support local murals and muralists. We have great talent here that is being overshadowed by artists from overseas, and while I love and actively partake in the RMP, its leaving the locals behind. A small chunk of this money could make such a dramatic and immediate impact on your environment.”



Check out Nils video of his beautiful new wall below, and support Nils plight…grab your phone and make that call/text/email to the Richmond Art Commission to use some of their millions to support the street artists to beautify Richmond with art for all to see.



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