Creative minds are being put to the test in Richmond by combining art with functionality for a $2,500 prize.
The initial Master Bicycle Plan by the City of Richmond to install more bike racks around the city has expanded into a bike rack design contest. Similar to the Go Fish! project, the winner of GoBike! will see their design located in areas throughout Richmond that experience high bike traffic. Chrystal Neal, vice president of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurism at the Greater Richmond Chamber, said she wanted this project to highlight the artistic side of the city.
“It would be a great branding opportunity for Richmond to further get the word out that we are such an artistic and creative community,” Neal said.
The project is for anyone in the community who has an idea what the shape of the bike rack should be. A private group of judges, including some VCU professors, will choose the final shape and design. Neal said 30 replicas of the winning design will be distributed to local artists for another layer of art.
“I will be disclosing all of (the judges’) names when we announce the winner,” Neal said. “I don’t want people soliciting the judges and trying to talk them into voting for their own submissions.”
While working for the Greater Richmond Chamber, Neal said she promotes art, music and food as it relates to Richmond. Last year, Outdoor Magazine voted Richmond the top river city in the U.S., and Neal said the GoBike! project emphasizes the city’s healthy lifestyle.
“We’re definitely promoting our active lifestyle here, in addition to promoting how artistic and creative we are,” Neal said.
Currently, there are nearly 50 submissions, but Neal said they are hoping for at least 100. One VCU design class has embedded the project into their curriculum. With the 2015 World Cycling Championships promising to bring nearly 450,000 tourists, Neal said she wants people will learn how active and artistic the city is.
“I’m hoping for people who live here, who don’t think about it everyday, will subliminally get the message too,” Neal said. “Richmond is a super artistic, healthy lifestyle, and active community.”
Neal said the contest is free to enter, and is not strictly for design students. She said the Greater Richmond Chamber encourages people from all across the community to come together and decide on a defining symbol for the racks.
Locations for the bike racks include the VCU Bookstore, 821 Cafe and the Quirk gallery in the arts district. The deadline for the contest is Sept. 28 at 11 p.m., and online applications are located at ie-rva.org.