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Great Hopes


Former Gov. Gerald Baliles

As a Richmonder of over three decades now preparing to leave this spring for a new position at the University of Virginia, my best wishes for Richmond in 2006 are: First, on the global and national stage, Richmond is viewed as a region — in competition for business and investment and bright minds with other regions. For its long-term growth and economic vitality, Richmond must begin, in fact, to plan and act like a region. My wish is that 2006 will see local governments of the metropolitan area begin the process of making policy decisions regionally and delivering services locally.

Second, the Richmond region is a place of history. My wish is that as it builds for the future, it will preserve the best of its past, its distinctive culture and elegance.

Third, I wish that those in positions of responsibility at all levels of business and government will cultivate civility in their relationships. Civility holds together the fabric of our society. Passionate energy has the most power when harnessed with social grace. Kindness counts; good manners can move mountains.

LGov. Baliles will become director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia April 1.

Beverly Reynolds

The Reynolds Gallery

I wish for all peace, joy and laughter in the New Year. My wish for the arts in Richmond is also my dream which I have held for the past 10 years: I dream of a new Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University designed by a significant architect with a bold vision, to be located on Broad Street, the James River or the Monroe Campus. This museum would create excitement as it is being built (remember Guggenheim Bilbao), would be a visible statement that Richmond is grounded in the arts, and would bring national attention to our dynamic city. The current Anderson Gallery is unable to borrow important works from museums because the climate conditions do not meet museum standards; the building is not handicapped accessible (hard to believe) and the gallery spaces are limited. The Wexner Center at Ohio State University in Columbus attracts 200,000 to 250,000 yearly to its exhibitions and events. In a recent New York Times article it was reported that the Wexner "has helped turn Columbus into a cultural destination." Just think what a city that is home to the No. 1 ranked public art school in the country could mastermind! It is waiting to happen — all the ingredients are in place. And remember, dreams do come true!

Beverly Reynolds is director of The Reynolds Gallery.

Gregory Stallings

Teacher of the Year

First and foremost I wish for a spiritual healing across our city. Citizens of Richmond must understand that it is our differences that make our city unique and strong. However, if we can't find ways to appreciate that, we are doomed to struggle and find fault in everything that we do. We must stop being quick to judge each other because of situations and have more patience to understand circumstances. We must develop more meaningful partnerships that not only create policies but also are active and interactive.

Secondly, I wish that we would take a more proactive stance on issues and concerns of our youth today. One size doesn't fit all. We need to create more programs and activities that are gender specific so that we can teach and socialize our youth on specific needs, the realities of today's society. It is very difficult to achieve success and harmony when you struggle with knowing who you are and "whose" you are. Our youth are struggling with an identity crisis because of the fantasies that they are bombarded with every day. I wish that we could diversify our schools, classrooms and after-school programs more so that they can meet the needs of the clientele that we serve and not just program goals and objectives.

Thirdly, I wish for the seasoned citizens of our communities to step up to the front; share and pass on their wisdom and challenges.

Gregory Stallings, of Patrick Henry Elementary School, was recently named Teacher of the Year by Richmond Public Schools.

Cricket G. White

Hope in the Cities

My New Year's wish for Richmond in 2006 is that each of us would move toward that person or persons he or she finds the most difficult. If we read about someone who is different and holds a different point of view, if we hear about someone who we are sure would be difficult to work with, if we have a relative or neighbor with whom it has always been challenging for us to interact, that we would in 2006 make it a point to get to know that person — explore their points of view and build a new bridge to them. If every person in the Richmond region would do this, we would build new alliances, new relationships and new partnerships which would create endless possibilities for hope and change in this already great region of ours.

Cricket G. White is executive director of Richmond Hope in the Cities. S

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