VCU ICA Building Updates -“Soft Opening For Weekend Postponed”

VCU officials held a small press conference yesterday to give local media a few updates on their new Institute for Contemporary Art building, which is very close to finishing construction.

While work has been going a furious pace, a planned “soft opening” and “media walk through” for this weekend was sadly postponed at the last moment.
“The building’s exterior and interior are almost done, but there is still a lot of dangerous equipment and scaffolding around, and therefore still not safe for visitation”, stated one of the smiling, new ICA directors, “We are really looking forward to showing people what we are so excited about, but we need to wait a just little bit longer.” Previews of the ICA have already been featured quite a bit in various area publications.

While the building and site remain strictly off-limits for now, students and interested members of the public can attempt to reserve tickets for some of the future opening events. A student art exhibit on ‘The Potholes of RVA’ as well as a new student documentary about car crashes will be available for viewing. For VIP visitors and donors, there will be a special basement tour and outdoor movie, Artplace (the highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s Workplace).

When asked about the current fundraising situation for the Institute, officials would only state that there is a ‘spring break hiatus’ right now for the campaign as fundraisers tour basketball facilities at the University of Hawaii. When pressed about the promised green building details of the construction, a spokesperson said that while the ICA will not be ‘Platinum LEED’ as initially promised, it should be able to secure ‘Lead LEED’ status without problems, as long as a certain amount of the natural granite from the site can be recycled for planned, new basketball facilities.

Old Penitentiary Site to Get It’s Own Historic Marker

In a Friday article in the Times Dispatch, Mark Holmberg reports that the old Virginia Penitentiary site will be getting an official Virginia state historic marker on Spring Street near S. Belvidere.

“I can’t believe it,” said RVA author Dale Brumfield. “Why hasn’t someone done this before?”
On Thursday, his plan for a marker commemorating the Virginia State Penitentiary was approved unanimously by the state Department of Historic Resources

Brumfield, who is writing a book about the old state pen, became fascinated while researching one of the countless legends about the place.
“Four prisoners went into the penitentiary but never came out,” he said. Legend had it they ran up gambling debts or otherwise ran afoul of other inmates and were ground up or incinerated.
“It just blossomed,” he said of the wealth of history that opened up as he peered back at the huge masonry monster that loomed over the shoulder of Oregon Hill from 1800 — when the first 21 prisoners were marched in — until it was razed in 1992.
“What else in Richmond lasts that long?” Brumfield said.

Here are some earlier posts about the old penitentiary:

It’s worth noting that Oregon Hill as a neighborhood will also be getting a historic marker, probably near the Idlewood roundabout whenever that project is finished. And the James River and Kanawha Canal west of the Lee Bridge should also receive a historic marker at some point in the future.

Pedestrian Struck By Car and Killed On Belvidere Street Early This Morning

From WTVR News

Update from Richmond Police Department:

April 23, 2016

Pedestrian in Fatal South Belvidere Collision Identified

A pedestrian involved in a fatal collision with a vehicle this morning on South Belvidere Street has died.

At approximately 1:03 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, Wilson I. Herrarte-Barahona, 19, of the 4800 block of Wheatstone Drive, Fairfax, Va. was attempting to cross the South Belvidere Street crosswalk when he was struck and killed. The incident occurred in the intersection of South Belvidere Street and Cumberland Street.

The vehicle that struck him, a Volkswagen Jetta, was travelling southbound in the center lane on South Belvidere Street when a group of pedestrians crossed the street despite a red traffic signal. A vehicle ahead of the Jetta slowed and came to a stop to avoid striking the group of pedestrians. The driver of the Jetta then changed lanes in an attempt to go around the stopped vehicle.

As the Jetta approached the intersection at Cumberland Street, the group of pedestrians emerged from the front of the stopped vehicle. As the driver of the Jetta attempted to avoid striking the group, the right front of vehicle collided into the decedent. The pedestrian, Herrarte-Barahona, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The RPD Crash Team responded to the scene, where they took measurements and interviewed witnesses. The investigation is still on going.

Detectives ask anyone with any information to call Detective Larry Walker at 646-1709 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. Citizens can also submit a tip online at or text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by your tip. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.