Thursday, June 4, 2015

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I)

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot | Yeti Crafts

I saw the bus depot in all of its street art splendor last year when I moved back from Kentucky and discovered that an artistic renaissance was happening in my home town.  The site had already been locked up for a little over eight months at that point and I was bummed about missing out on the opportunity to go inside.  I took two different trips downtown and walked all the way around the property, taking photos through the chain link fence, gazing longingly inside, and sighing dramatically.


RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
Daniel Johnson
When I started documenting and sharing as much of the street art in Richmond as I could find, I knew I wanted to include the bus depot.  I mean, c'mon. It's seven acres of abandoned industrial complex covered in murals.  What's not to love?  Plus, as the site of the second Street Art Festival (2013), it's a pretty integral part of the story.
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I)
Joshua Mays
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

My original plan was to do what I'd done before and skulk around the fence like a creep, but I decided to contact the GRTC and ask if I could go inside.  I honestly didn't expect to even hear back from the busy people in charge of public transit for the entire city, but they got back to me in a super timely fashion and they were so nice!  Within a day or two, there were concrete plans to photograph the bus depot in its entirety.  I was giddy with excitement. The lesson here is that it never hurts to ask.

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
Stephen McNally
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

On a bright, chilly Saturday morning, my home-girl Marie, Chris, and I rolled up to the Grayland Ave. entrance to the site and met with Stephen McNally, the Construction Manager and Project Administrator for the GRTC, who had taken time out of his Memorial Day vacation to unlock the gates.  He walked around with us for a little while and talked about the history of the property (which I'll be talking about in Part II, I promise!) Richmond is such an interesting city with so much weird history.  I love it.  

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
Matt Lively
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
Chris Milk Hulburt
We spent about an hour and a half wandering around the empty former-art-park taking pictures.  I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. Mr. McNally informed us that as of that very morning the GRTC had announced that the site was for sale, so who knows how long this unique place will look like this.  But as I've mentioned before, the impermanence of this kind of art is one of the things I love about it.
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
Omens
RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts

RVA Street Art: The GRTC Bus Depot (Part I) | Yeti Crafts
 I'd love to be able to match these murals up with their artists.  Some of them are signed, but most of them aren't.  If you know the artist responsible for one of these murals, please let me know!

Next week, I'll share another batch of photos and talk about the history of this magnificent property, so stay tuned! You can see the rest of my RVA Street Art series here.

3 comments:

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  2. Love this. My hometown of Sacto (yes, also a state capital) has been promoting street art : wide open walls! http://www.wow916.com/
    Yes the impermanence of it is part of the joy I believe. Fantastic stuff. I have heard about this art but not seen it yet. Great documentation showing the complex collaborations of history, space, and art.

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  3. I flew into Sacramento when my friend graduated from the doctoral program at UC Davis, but I didn’t get to see much of it. It looks like a couple of the artists I ran into in Richmond are doing work there, too!

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