If you’re near Chimborazo Park on Saturday, May 21, you may want to look up.
That Saturday at 3 p.m. in Chimborazo Park, artist Sandy Williams IV is presenting a skywriting performance, “40 ACRES: Chimborazo Park” during which “a skywriter will trace the dimensions of a 40-acre plot above Chimborazo Park to place a sharp focus on the Freedman community that existed in this area,” according to a press release from 1708 Gallery. The performance is part of an upcoming exhibition with 1708 and its long-term work, “The 40 Acres Archive.”
At the Saturday performance, which is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m., visitors should expect a DJ set, light refreshments, and a brief presentation of the project by Williams, who teaches at the University of Richmond in the sculpture department. The project is being supported by Reynolds Gallery, Oakwood Arts, where Williams is an artist-in-residence through support from CultureWorks, Afrikana Film Festival, and Arts & Letters Creative Co.
More from the press release: “The poetics of the skywriting serve as a reminder of that unfulfilled promise of reparations. It is a public acknowledgment that will be briefly visible for miles and a physical metaphor for the ways in which the legend of reparations, ‘40 Acres and a Mule,’ still holds an invisible presence in our atmosphere. The visual presence of things might disappear, but the memory is kept alive in the stories that we remember and pass down.”
If you'd like to read more about the history of the Freedmen’s Bureau School in the area, "a federal agency [which took over the Chimborazo Hospital] to assist freed slaves' education and employment, among other duties" read this interesting story from the Church Hill People's News.
Also, here's an interview with Williams IV at the Reynolds Gallery site about his various past work.
The Saturday event is free and open to the public. There are reserved rain dates of Friday, May 20 (5 to 7 p.m.) and Sunday, May 22 (2 to 4 p.m.). Chimborazo Park is located at 3215 E Broad St.