Local Art Project Celebrates Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon
Richmond, VA - CultureWorks Tri-Cities Program Manager, Daniel Jones, is bringing to life a conservation effort started years ago in the Hopewell-Prince George area of Virginia. The effort was to bring back a healthy population of Atlantic sturgeon to the James and Appomattox Rivers by improving the spawning grounds and water quality. Today, the James River Association provides river excursions where people can see these magnificent creatures when they breach.
CultureWorks’ goal for this project is to create public art for the enjoyment and pride of the local community as well as to raise awareness of local non-profit organization, Friends of the Lower Appomattox River’s (FOLAR) mission, “to conserve and protect the Appomattox River for all to enjoy.”
CultureWorks seeks funding for each art installation. The locations of the installations have already been chosen along prominent, high-traffic areas on the Appomattox River Trail at the Hopewell Riverwalk, Roslyn Landing in Colonial Heights, and the University Boulevard Trailhead in Petersburg. Installation of this project is expected in Spring 2023 with a public unveiling.
Three artists have been chosen by a panel to create Atlantic sturgeon sculptures, including Keith Ramsey (Richmond), Nancy Sunderson (Petersburg), and Kirk Thore (Hopewell). Kirk Thore’s piece, which has already been generously funded by the Hopewell Downtown Partnership, will be installed at the Hopewell Riverwalk.
If you are interested in sponsoring Keith Ramsey’s piece at Roslyn Landing or Nancy Saunderson’s piece at University Boulevard, please contact Daniel Jones by phone at (804) 536-3025 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsors will be recognized in future media releases, as well as on signage accompanying the art installation.
The Sturgeon project is based on similar successful public art projects, such as in Chicago (cows), Richmond (fish) and Norfolk (mermaids). Each sculpture will be accompanied by an interpretive sign with information about the sturgeon, the Appomattox River Trail, FOLAR, and the artist.
Formed in 2009, CultureWorks was created as a champion for local arts and culture in the Richmond and Tri-Cities region (Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg), along with the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan, and the town of Ashland. CultureWorks’ mission is to strengthen artists and nonprofit arts and culture organizations to elevate their impact in the Richmond and Tri-Cities region. This includes not only furthering economic and educational impacts but also the societal impacts that arts and culture provide to create meaningful connections that are a cornerstone of a healthy, vibrant community. CultureWorks values diversity and inclusivity and believes everyone in our community should have access to arts and culture, as well as the opportunity to express their culture through the arts. The organization accomplishes its mission by providing grant opportunities, deepening access to communities with barriers, increasing the capacity of small and medium-sized organizations and individual artists, and the promotion of events to the public.
About the Atlantic sturgeon:
The Atlantic sturgeon is a member of the family Acipenseridae and along with other sturgeon it is sometimes considered a living fossil. Atlantic sturgeon live in rivers and coastal waters from Canada to Florida. Hatched in the freshwater of rivers, Atlantic sturgeon head out to sea as sub-adults, and return to their birthplace to spawn, or lay eggs, when they reach adulthood. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/atlantic-sturgeon
About the Appomattox River Trail:
The Appomattox River Trail winds through six communities in South Central Virginia: Chesterfield County, Dinwiddie County, Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Prince George County, and Hopewell, from the Brasfield Dam at Lake Chesdin to the confluence of the James River. This blueway-greenway includes a network of bicycle-pedestrian paths, 16 riverside parks, 11 historical sites, eight boat access points, and three marinas. FOLAR’s to unify the region with coordinated wayfinding signage on water and land as we develop each section of the river trail.