By Ted Elmore
On Sunday night, muralist Hamilton Glass, better known as Ham?, completed a striking 100-foot mural in the recess yard of Binford Middle School in Richmond’s Fan District.
The artist–best known for his mural next to Crossroads Coffee, on the building that housed S@mple until recently, and his elegant Virginia which was part of the recent RVA Street Art Festival–painted at the school his largest, and arguably, most striking work to date.
Hands That Blossom graces the gritty city playground and looms large over the school’s blooming urban garden. The mural depicts a pair of powerful hands holding delicate flowers over a bold block of the artist’s characteristic line work. Petals of the flowers seem to float away from the grip of the fists in a light breeze. As they flow from the flowers to the bed of geometric lines, they gradually transform into the same shapes that fill the mural’s base, where they land and multiply into a massive colection.
Ham! was specially chosen by the school for the work. A long-time volunteer at Binford Middle, Ham? has a heart for the community which made him a natural fit for this project. For some time, he had envisioned a large scale mural on that wall, and Hands on Greater Richmond funded the project, turning his vision into a reality. The muralist is also leading a team of artists painting two large murals inside the school, including one of a festive collection of food that adds much needed life to the school’s cafeteria.
Ham? designed the mural to meld into both the action of the playground and the beauty of the garden. A firm believer in the ability of art to transform lives, he tells me he hopes the mural’s color and content will engage and inspire Richmond’s young people. While serving the City’s students, the art also enlivens Main Street, where the mural’s electric colors can be seen between Vine Street and Allen Avenue.