• Nico Cathcart to Paint Community-Inspired Mural “A New Dawn” in Downtown Hopewell

    April 26th, 2021
    Contact: Heather Lyne, heather@hopewelldowntown.com

    Nico Cathcart to Paint Community-Inspired Mural “A New Dawn” in Downtown Hopewell
    (Hopewell, VA) – On 5/04/21, accomplished visual artist, Nico Cathcart, will begin painting a three-story
    mural commissioned by the Hopewell Downtown Partnership (HDP) on the Butterworth Lofts building
    located at 245 E Broadway. The piece is titled “A New Dawn” and is inspired by the people, history, and
    natural environment of Hopewell. This mural is part of a larger community-based effort to bring public
    art to Downtown Hopewell and to revitalize the Downtown Historic District. Completion of the mural
    will take several weeks and the community is encouraged to stop by to witness the process.

    Nico Cathcart is a painter and muralist hailing from Toronto, Ontario, and currently living in Richmond,
    Virginia. She strives to discuss intersectional feminism and climate change in her highly-colorful realistic
    works which often include local flora and fauna, as well as the female form. The artist is in the process of
    going deaf, relying on hearing aids and lip reading to communicate. She often includes birds in her work
    as a nod to her disability. A veteran of the past 3 RVA Street Art Festivals, and International
    Invitational Wall/Therapy , she has murals across the country. Her work has been shown at the Virginia
    Museum of History and Culture, and the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk, as well as galleries across the
    continent. In 2020, Nico was honored as an Agent of Change for her use of activism in her art by the
    Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and was the recipient of the 1708 Gallery Space grant.

    In 2019, Nico applied to a national “Artist Call” developed by a special Mural Committee. The committee
    formed in response to Virginia Main Street (Department of Housing and Community Development)
    awarding HDP a grant to beautify Downtown Hopewell through art. This grant was also used to fund
    Austin Miles’ panel mural “Hopewell Proud” which was commissioned by Lamb Center for Arts and
    Healing, painted with community members at the Hopewell Arts Fest, and officially unveiled last week.
    The Artist Call asked applicants to focus on the themes of resilience, rebuilding, optimism, energy, the
    joys that nature can evoke, historical and contemporary Hopewell, and an inspiring future. Nico built on
    these themes by spending the last several months meeting with diverse community leaders, business
    owners, and naturalists in the Hopewell area to inform her design. The project experienced delays and
    changes due to COVID and a leadership transition at the Hopewell Downtown Partnership, however,
    Director Heather Lyne states that,

    “Hopewell ended up with the perfect artist for this project as Nico is adamant about engaging and
    reflecting the community through her work. We’ve cultivated a beautiful, genuine partnership
    over the past few months.”

    Two creatives from Hopewell, Nherie Tellado and Ari Calos, participated in a photo shoot to help Nico
    bring her design to life and two students, Rosie Bland and Manprit Kaur, from Hopewell Public Schools
    will be shadowing Nico during the prep stages of the mural. HDP would like to thank the original Mural
    Committee (Evan Kaufman, Danny Riddle, Iris Walker, Eliza Lamb, Chris Ward) for their hard work, all
    community members who met with Nico, and Legend Property Group for providing the canvas.

    Learn more about Nico Cathcart at nicocathcart.com. For Inquires email: nicocathcart@gmail.com.

    Artist’s Statement on “A New Dawn”
    April 26th, 2021

    Hopewell is situated in a unique place where the James River and Appomattox River merge. It was an
    advantageous spot for early industry, which used the rivers for easy transportation. In this design, two
    women from different backgrounds, dressed in glittering blue are symbols for the rivers. The merging of
    two different people echoes the river connection, but also operates as a metaphor for community. Both
    women have a silk shawl, also a lighter blue, which is a nod to the artificial Silk Factory that used to
    operate in Hopewell. Behind the women is a scene from the river, showing the industrial buildings of
    Dupont. The positioning of the factories, being behind the figures, is meant to note that the industry is
    part of the history of the town, in the past. The figures themselves look up and forward towards a newer
    Hopewell, which is a creative community working together. Their hair has a crown made up of
    wildflowers that are native to the area. There will also be plumeria included as a nod to Hopewell’s
    famous Hawaiian band. There is a swish of water towards the bottom, which solidifies the river
    connection at city point, and the tidal river, under the water there is a sturgeon and catfish, and also a
    manatee as a nod to the famous few that have braved the river. On the bottom are Virginia tidal botanicals
    that are local to the Hopewell area, Blue Flag Iris, Mayapple, Paw Paw, Magnolia, and a Jack-in-the
    Pulpit. To round out the botanicals are creeping Virginia Wisteria. To future celebrate the biodiversity of
    the piece, I have included two songbirds native to the river in the Hopewell Area, The Yellow Throated
    Warbler (yellow throat, black and white bird), and Summer tanager (red bird). They are flying upwards to
    assist in the feeling of hope. The coloration of the mural would be the bright colors of the flowers and
    birds themselves, and the river/sky coloration would echo the colors of sunrise with bright blues, oranges,
    and pinks.

    “Special Thanks” from the artist to the creative advisors on the project-
    Dr. Joanne Lucas
    Jean Langford and the staff at Appomattox Regional Library (Hopewell)
    Mark Battista
    Aaron Reidmiller
    Amy Feaver and Hopewell City Schools
    Heather Barrar and Friends of the Lower Appomattox River
    Betty Ware and the committee