The RVA Street Art Festival is set to return in April at Richmond’s floodwall on Dock Street.

“This canvas is kind of like the Holy Grail in Richmond,” artist and festival founder Ed Trask said in a statement announcing the festival.

The 2020 RVA Street Art Festival will bring muralists from Richmond and all over the world to paint murals on the floodwall.

The area of the floodwall chosen for the festival is located on Dock Street between 18th and 22nd streets near Bottom’s Up Pizza.

The first RVA Street Art Festival was held within walking distance at the Haxall Canal Hydro Plant in 2012.

Murals created at that festival, such as Jeff Soto’s giant colorful owl and Hamilton Glass’ Victorian lady, are still in place and are a popular attraction for joggers, walkers and tourists.

The floodwall is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers but maintained by the city of Richmond.

At the first RVA Street Art Festival, banners were hung on parts of the floodwall, but the Army Corps of Engineers didn’t allow murals. That will change at the 2020 festival, where murals will be painted onto the floodwall.

Artists interested in participating can apply through the RVA Street Art Festival website. Finalists will have their ideas presented to the city’s Public Art Commission, in a similar process that was used for the giant mural painted for the UCI Road World Championships on Belvidere Street in 2015.

After the festival, the Street Art Festival Board will enter into an agreement with the city to maintain and refresh the murals in the future.

“We always try to find places in Richmond that are in need of color and creativity,” said Jon Baliles, co-creator of the festival.

“It’s amazing how much staying power the first festival has had in becoming a destination. This will certainly do the same. If you’re biking or walking down Capital Trail or driving down Dock Street, you won’t be able to miss it,” Baliles said.

The festival will be held April 16-19 with food trucks and festivities.

More details on the events will be released later this year on the RVA Street Art Festival’s Facebook page at

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Twitter: @collcurran

Colleen Curran covers arts and entertainment for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She writes the weekly column Top Five Weekend Events.

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