Annual exhibition changes locations each year, presents new aspect of Richmond’s history

'Nonhumanities' art collective consisting of Conrad Cheung, Anna Hogg and Katie Schetlick presented at InLight. Photo by Julia Garrett.

Emily McCauley, Contributing writer

Attendees observing glowing artwork and meeting artists filled the streets and alleys on Broad Street for InLight 2023. Attendees trailed in and out of the outdoor exhibitions and various art galleries. 

InLight 2023 was located along the 200 to 400 blocks of West Broad Street in Richmond’s downtown art district on Nov. 3 and 4 and featured various art forms that utilized light-based platforms, according to the InLight website.

This year’s theme was “Reflection and Refraction” and strived to embrace Broad Street’s history in Jackson Ward and Monroe Ward, according to Emily Smith, the director of the 1708 Gallery.

“I hope that people use the experiences and the artworks presented to think a little bit more about Broad Street as the artery that it is and how important of a street it is in terms of connecting different parts of the community,” Smith said. 

1708 Gallery first started InLight as an annual light-based art exhibition in 2008, but it has evolved over the years into an annual event that moves locations, according to Smith.

Every year the event location changes around Richmond to incorporate different aspects of the city’s history into the artwork, according to Smith.

“What we have learned through having InLight at different sights is that every year is different — every year has a different vibe and a different flavor,” Smith said. 

The event is a celebration of lights as well as a great opportunity for artists, according to InLight artist Mauricio Vargas.

The exhibition changes locations annually so artists can pull inspiration from the immediate geography in order to portray a better, holistic view of Richmond as a whole, Vargas said. 

Creating his piece for InLight helped Vargas learn more about the history of Jackson Ward and challenged him in a healthy way, he said.

“That is part of the fun — learning new things as an artist and always being curious and just persisting,” Vargas said. 

InLight 2023 artist Kelley-Ann Lindo first attended the event in 2019 and has been going ever since, she said. This is her first year featured as an artist. 

Lindo felt thrilled to be a part of InLight and enjoyed seeing the response to the exhibition, she said. 

Lindo presented a multimedia sculpture at InLight that reflected grief and mourning in the Black community as well as a celebration of life, she said. 

“I was thinking about the history of Broad Street and thinking about the history of slavery and Virginia being one of the biggest slave ports,” Lindo said.

Lindo’s piece focuses on community and gathering, she said. 

“The work being present within that space adds to the entire experience and this idea about reflecting on Black presence and the history within the space,” Lindo said. 

InLight always has sculptures and interactive artwork, according to Morgan Carey, a fifth-year InLight attendee. 

“It’s always my favorite art event to go to in Richmond,” Carey said. 

Events like InLight bring attention to Richmond’s Arts District and show that it has a lot of creativity to offer, whether through galleries, vendors or live performances, Carey said.

“I feel like this shows how public space can be activated and how art can be brought into different parts of the community, whether it be a park or a neighborhood, so it is really nice to see a space be used in a different way than you would normally see it,” Carey said. 

Carey felt impressed with how the various mediums exhibited at the event incorporated light, she said. 

“I’m like a moth to a flame,” Carey said.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply