Art of the State 

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Streets of Fire

Eventually, all things come back to Michael Jackson. Remember the video for "Bilie Jean," in which our hero prances over panels that light up as he denies his paternity? There's no telling if that moment was an inspiration for Scott Kyle, but I'd sure like to think so.

Kyle, whose firm Full Scale Architecture runs toward the green end of the spectrum, is currently tearing up a stretch of sidewalk in front of 1708 Gallery. He'll be replacing eight of the 2-by-2-foot panels with ones imbedded with fiber-optic lights. So when you prance down the street on First Friday, you too can deny your paternity with thousands of points of light at your feet.

The lights are powered by photovoltaic cells that charge during the day and run the lights at night. It's Kyle's gesture toward greening up Richmond a bit.

"This is symbolic, this isn't going to solve any great problems," he says.

The Light Walk is Kyle's entry into the InLight Richmond event, a juried art exhibition sponsored by 1708 Gallery — for its 30th birthday — in which designs that play with light are hung along Broad Street during the Sept. 5 Art Walk. It's an exhibition designed to wake us up to possibilities for public art here.

Other projects include a light drawing of a house that people can enter, sound and image projections and tiny illuminated pieces by local artist Diana Cavanaugh and Worn Gallery installed on people walking around the gallery.

Most of the InLight pieces are one-night-only, but Kyle wanted something more permanent. He hopes to extend the illuminated sidewalks toward downtown, "and really define the arts district with these sidewalks." www.1708inlight.org. — Brandon Reynolds

A Different Kind of “Painting the Walls” for that Particular Alley

Amid the constant changes that surround the 17th Street Farmers' Market, singer Jeanine Guidry and her friends are joining in, brandishing paintbrushes and guitars.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, and Sunday, Aug. 24, Arts in the Alley will bring local artists to Walnut Alley, home to music venue and beer hut Alley Katz. Saturday will be spent cleaning and weeding in order to prepare for Sunday's festivities, which include live music, group painting and an antiques show — so, yes, you can say to a stranger, “Wanna see a nice china tea service? Come on down this alley. …”

Adults and children are encouraged to help with the four murals that will adorn Walnut Alley. Organizer Guidry hopes that art will make Shockoe safer and more enjoyable.
“The presence of art is something that can really build community,” she says. “Whether it's a gallery, live music, a mural — everything adds to the community.” — Anne Larimer Hart


A Duck for All Seasons

It's like watching that last trot around the bases by a great player who's retiring. Except he's a duck. Yes, when the Richmond Braves take their last swings Sept. 1, the lumpy figure of Diamond Duck  will pass into legend. After our baseball team decamps to southern climes, much of the Braves memorabilia, including the mascot's costume, will come into the possession of the Valentine Richmond History Center, where we can look upon the bird with a sense of nostalgia, perhaps residual heartburn.

And while it was never clear what the connection between the duck and a Brave actually was, it's fitting that in a city as torn in its identity as Richmond, we'll still be able to look upon this figure as a symbol of perseverance. Because Diamond Duck continued to run those bases even when chased by kids; he continued to shoot T-shirts into crowds that dwindled. He was, in a very real way, each of us. And now that the ceremonial handoff was made in a ceremony Aug. 17 at the Diamond, we can visit him.

It makes me wonder, though — will this new addition make the Valentine some kind of pilgrimage site for the furry community (see page 21)? www.richmondhistorycenter.com — B.R.


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