RICHMOND – The Valentine Museum and Reclaiming the Monument are the recipients of a $670,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Monuments Project. The Monuments Project is an unprecedented $250 million commitment by the Mellon Foundation to transform the nation’s commemorative landscape by supporting public projects that more completely and accurately represent the multiplicity and complexity of American stories.
The Valentine has collaborated with Reclaiming the Monument founders and artists Dustin Klein (Technical Director) and Alex Criqui (Creative Director) to support the “Recontextualizing Richmond” public art project. This project, which will take place in 2022, will focus on the creation of a series of temporary light-based artworks addressing issues of historical, racial, and social justice in Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding capital region.
“The Richmond story is America’s story. This project will bring new stories to light and encourage us to take a fresh look at our City’s history,” said Bill Martin, Director of the Valentine Museum. “We are excited to support the work of Reclaiming the Monument over the coming year. Richmond’s history has national significance and this grant from the Mellon Foundation recognizes the important opportunity we have to elevate it.”
Both organizations look forward to bringing visuals, conversations, and dialogue to the Richmond community, using primary source materials from the Valentine’s collection and other historical resources. For the Valentine, this is a unique opportunity to gather community feedback and support future projects at the museum.
The light installations, are intended to raise awareness about the neglected histories in our community as it continues to grapple with the complicated legacies of our past and how its telling has been used to shape and influence our present and future.
The collaborative nature of the project will create greater dialogue between grassroots organizations, artists, historical institutions, and the general public that will lay a foundation for how public art involving historical memory can be created in a way which is inclusive and community driven.
“It is our hope that by providing an opportunity for our community to engage with a more complete telling of our history through the power of public art that we will be able to help our city heal and move towards a future rooted in peace, justice, and equality,” said Alex Criqui, Creative Director for Reclaiming the Monument.
Recontextualizing Richmond will also produce educational resources that will be accessible to educators and students.
Additional information and details related to Reclaiming the Monument installations will be made available in early 2022. The Valentine and Reclaiming the Monument are committed to ensuring a safe and engaging event series for the Richmond community.
The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond’s 400-year history for over a century. Located in the heart of historic downtown, the Valentine is a place for residents and tourists to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of this important region. https://thevalentine.wpenginepowered.com
Reclaiming the Monument is a Richmond, Virginia based grassroots public art project founded by artists Dustin Klein and Alex Criqui. Their work arose out of the city of Richmond’s racial justice movement in the summer of 2020 by taking a key role in community efforts to recontextualize and address the city’s long standing Confederate monuments through works of light based collaborative protest art. Reclaiming the Monument’s work has been widely featured in media and publications around the globe, notably appearing on the cover of National Geographic’s first ever “Year in Pictures” issue, and being called one of the “Most Influential Works of American Protest Art Since World War II” by the New York Times. https://www.reclaimingthemonument.com
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. https://mellon.org