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The annual Cultural Crawl RVA moves to Carytown 

click to enlarge A decorated water drain in Carytown hopes to bring awareness to keeping the James River clean.

Scott Elmquist

A decorated water drain in Carytown hopes to bring awareness to keeping the James River clean.

When the founders of Cultural Crawl went looking for art-driven cities, the list was pretty predictable: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington.
Add Richmond.

Cultural Crawl was founded by Adanna Mbanugo and two friends, Samantha Marie and Rashad Leftwich, creatives who live in Washington and wanted to devise an event supporting local art scenes. Their goal as the CC Collective was to encourage people to get up, get out and explore their neighborhoods and the street art in them. The first Cultural Crawl took place in Brooklyn in April 2017 and attracted more than 300 people.

The group looks for places that are somewhat art-driven or have some kind of arts district, even if it's not necessarily referred to that way, which is why so many crawls have been in major cities. Because she's a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate, Mbanugo pushed to add Richmond because she knew its art game was strong.

This year's Cultural Crawl RVA will be the city's third.

"It's smaller compared to our other cities, so I felt there was a need for something fun like this to do," she explains. "And even though Richmond's one of the smaller cities on our list, it's in the top five for biggest turnout."  

With a tag line, "Booze, food, street art," the bar crawl is self-guided, with eight to 10 restaurants participating by offering food and drink specials to wrist-banded revelers. At registration, each attendee gets a printed map of nearby street art, meaning participants are free to enjoy whichever part of the crawl suits them and can linger at venues or admire art for as long as they please. This year, the crawl takes place in Carytown at venues including the Broken Tulip, Greek on Cary and Burger Bach.

Featured on the map are all kinds of street art, not just murals. After hearing about the RVA H2O project in which local artists paint water drains to bring awareness to keeping the James River clean, some of those drains will be featured, along with murals done by the Richmond Mural Project.

Mbanugo says it has ratcheted the bar crawl concept up a notch so it's not just a drinking event, but an experience. "We've seen people from ages 21 up to 90. No joke, we had an adorable couple in their 90s attend our crawl on the Lower East Side of New York last year. So everyone's a good candidate to attend." S

Cultural Crawl RVA is held Aug. 25 from 2-10 p.m. in Carytown, tickets at culturalcrawl.com.

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