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Hundreds gather for Richmond’s fifth Fan Arts Stroll

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Highs both Friday and Saturday in the middle 90s. Heat backs off to start next week.

Hundreds gathered for Richmond’s fifth Fan Arts Stroll as artists, musicians and vendors displayed their work along the Fan District’s sidewalks.

The festival, held on the 1900-2600 blocks of Hanover and Grove avenues, began on a balmy Thursday evening, featuring more than 100 participating vendors for passersby to meet on their 2-mile walk.

“What I think is most exciting about this is that a lot of these exhibitors are emerging artists and musicians who don’t have the opportunity to exhibit in front of the public,” organizer Sally Holzgrefe said, “so this is a really lovely forum for them to be able to exhibit their work — some of them for the first time.

Holzgrefe, 63, started the Fan Arts Stroll in spring 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic first swept through the country. Her husband, Greg, had been making art with steel scraps since 2013 and wanted to show his pieces on their front porch. The couple used to host parties where he showed his art, but the pandemic drove them to a halt.

In June 2020, she contacted some neighbors through the Nextdoor app to see if they wanted to hold an art exhibit for the Fan. That year, approximately 10 to 15 artists put their work on display.

On Thursday, home hosts — people living throughout the Fan — had more than 100 exhibitors present their work to the community.

“That’s what is so incredible,” Holzgrefe said. “It’s that Richmond residents are meeting emerging artists and you never know where that’s going to lead.”

The proceeds from the Fan Arts Stroll will go to William Fox Elementary School in Richmond after a three-alarm fire engulfed sections of the building in flames in February. Holzgrefe said she had started the theater program there, and wanted to give back to the program through the proceeds from the festival.

Through registration fees and sponsors, Holzgrefe said they’re hoping to give the school $10,000.

Photographer Carl Patow, a second-year attendee of the Fan Arts Stroll, said he loved all the people that came by and their interest in the arts. He also enjoyed hearing the impressions that onlookers got from his work, he said.

“It’s a chance for me to meet with other artists,” Patow said. “I live right here in the neighborhood, so it just feels like it’s a wonderful community thing to do.”

The Fan District is a community-focused area, said Rebecca Keller, president of the Fan District Association, and they’re all about building community. In addition to the Fan Arts Stroll, which will be held annually in the spring going forward, they also hold a holiday house tour each year on the second weekend of December.

“The FDA wants to build community, support our local artists and give people an opportunity to just enjoy the talent in the neighborhood,” she said.

For some, it can be hard to get their artwork out into the community, modern contemporary artist David Anthony Moir Jr. said. He said he began painting about two years ago and stood next to a display of custom shoes he had done.

“Having an event like this is a good platform for new and emerging artists like myself,” he said. “I just hope that we can continue to do this.”

Richmond residents can see more artwork on display Friday from 4-8 p.m.

mfitzgerald@timesdispatch.com Twitter: @MaddyFitzWrites

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