Being one of the founders and still involved with BA, it amazes me every year at how much the event has grown and developed. The first year we threw the event, we had 9000 people on 3 blocks. This year, the event will cover 6 blocks and have well over 30,000 people. What started as an event to showcase Broad St and the local restaurant scene, it’s become one of the largest and most diverse food festivals in the region. To date, it has donated over 75,000.00 to Feedmore.
Created as a way to connect community and neighborhood partners directly with schools to help fix up the schools. For every sale we are giving 250.00 to BBRPS or RPS related events. Donated over 4500.00 last year, this year our goal is 10,000.00. To date, we have done over 250,000 of repairs and upgrades to almost every school in the RPS school district. Volunteers range from neighbors, corporate sponsors, high school students, VCU athletes and lots of parents.
My wife and I bought a commercial building on Broad St in 2003, when there was very little going on on Broad St. We gutted 1/2 of the first floor and realized there wasn’t a coffee Shop with a mile or more of the shop and decided to open Lift. It’s become a catalyst for other development, it’s become a meeting place for students, for business people to government officials, as well as serving many actors and actresses during the filming of Lincoln. It’s been an amazing experience to watch the Arts District grow and thrive.
5 years ago, we organized meetings with the Superintendent, school board and council members, teachers, the principle and community members. Our goal was to engage the community and neighborhood around the school to help get involved and help the school out. After months of meetings and discussions, Binford became an arts integrated middle school, the only one in the state at the time. Currently there are over 400 students in the school and last year there was a waiting list of over 200 kids. The school is a Turnaround Arts school, one of only 70 throughout the country and has been adopted by Jason Mraz who has shot a video at the school with the students. It shows how community/neighborhood involvement can make serious changes for the positive in our schools.