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Mural completed last week

April 4, 2011

It’s been my intention to paint a mural on this wall ever since opening the store, and it was clear from the beginning that it should directly contrast the perspective presented in the Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statue.  My neighbor and good friend Jay Kuhlmann just happens to be the Tandem School teacher who led a group of students in painting a mural on the Richmond Camera building last year.  A few months ago he agreed to put his team to the task of the mural at Random Row. The photos of Edward Curtis always circulated in my mind as the basis for a good mural.  Jay and I looked over a few in particular and with his photoshop skills we arrived at this design.  Thanks goes to he and his students, and the parents who paid for the paint.  Also, as a result of having painted a wall in a historic district without a permit, I was asked by the city to retroactively apply and pay the $100 application fee.  I will also have to appear before the BAR planning commission on April 19.  I’m hoping they’ll offer me my one hundred back and thank me for commissioning such a nice mural.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2011 8:17 pm

    Pretty good free publicity Ryan, considering you didn’t have to sacrifice anything. And, you used a Cheyenne chief, why am I not surprised at the modality of your exploitation?

    • Ryan permalink*
      April 7, 2011 2:33 pm

      I appreciate your comments. I was actually thinking of you when the Cheyenne image was chosen. And I would’ve preferred that you do the mural. It’s just that you are an artist that deserves considerable compensation for such a work, and I have no money. I definitely had to share the creative process with my friend Jay who was leading the group of students. I probably would’ve done a few things differently if it had been completely up to me. Nevertheless, the intent of the mural, down to the look on the Cheyenne Chief’s face, was to give a voice to the other side of Lewis and Clark’s story, which, as you know, is represented across the street. I never would’ve imagined the amount of publicity we received. That was certainly not the intent. I would’ve remained as anonymous as possible if it hadn’t been for the incredible amount of attention that my poor friend Jay had to deal with from his school’s administration and the media. I stepped in to take responsibility when it became an issue with the city. Also, had I had more time, I would’ve passed the image by you and a few other folks. It bothers me that none of you were directly involved. Jay finished the design the night before he and his kids had to start painting. It was “emphasis week” at the school and they were on schedule. I actually remember asking you to come up with something. I remember you being interested too. Ward Churchill was also supposed to come up with a design. I just had to run with the opportunity. How about offering suggestions for changes to make it more suitable, or respectful? I’m open to additions, changes, etc.

  2. Guy Lopez permalink
    April 8, 2011 9:38 am

    I find Chris Rowland’s comments to be unfair considering the fact that he and I discussed several months ago the idea that he paint the mural himself but he never acted on that opportunity. This was when Ryan was looking around for American Indian artists to paint the mural and he approached me with his idea. Not being much of an artist I talked to Chris about it. Maybe Chris somehow forgot this discussion that he and I had? Chris also had the opportunity to potentially host a gallery show of his paintings at Random Row Books but he failed to follow up and continue that discussion either. Note to Chris Rowland: if you have a problem with the mural now why did you fail to act when you had the opportunity to make a positive difference?

    Anyways, if this mural has anything at all to say about exploitation it is that the mural addresses an entire historic era of exploitation exemplified by the bronze statue honoring Lewis and Clark which is located directly across the street to the east of the mural in question. A few years ago a group of Charlottesville community folks along with American Indians from the Monacan Nation, the Dakota Sioux and the Lemhi Shoshone (relatives of Sacajawea) collaborated and arranged for a marker honoring Sacajawea to be placed at the base of the Lewis/Clark/Sacajawea Statue.

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