It was one of StyleWeekly.com’s most popular blog posts of the year, by far. When well-known local artist Mickael Broth painted a towering, cartoonish version of Bernie Sanders slam dancing — or as readers quickly alerted us, “skanking” was the more accurate term — people went nuts. Some Bernie fans drove from hours away to have their photo taken in front of the mural at 3300 W. Broad St., across the street from CBS-6.
Soon the image and story was being shared nationally. The design was based on a popular early ’80s punk-rock image originally made popular by the group the Circle Jerks. Some media commenters noted that the mural was appropriate, considering that during Sanders’ time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in the 1980s, he empowered the youth of that area to create an all-ages music venue called 242 Main St.
But even though there was no local controversy to speak of, outlets like the Blaze ran with such headlines as “’Odd to See People Worshipping Him Like a God: Bernie Sanders Murals Cause Controversy in Richmond.” Not exactly.
The mural may be there for quite a while as a reminder of the wildest political race in memory. But one thing that makes it special for Richmond: Here among the Confederate heroes enshrined in monuments, we have yet to embrace the political mural as they have in cities such as Philadelphia or New York. Maybe that’s changing.