News & Resources

Our Mural Story

Jun 5, 2023

Jay Burkhardt
 “What else do you need done?” asked Danée Hudson of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

“Well, this might sound crazy, but I’ve always wanted a mural on our building,” responded Heather Turbyne-Pollard, CEO, Circle Center.

“No problem.”

Fast forward to a beautiful day in November 2022 when 100 volunteers from Altria and their partners, guided by The Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, descended on Circle Center for an outside refresh. In addition to raking and weeding, painting benches and building picnic tables, several volunteers started doing something really big, literally, under the direction of nationally-recognized, RVA-based muralist Nico Cathcart.

“Age and Grace” was born.

For nearly three weeks, Nico kept returning to Circle Center, climbing into her lift, to paint a 75’x20’ mural featuring four Circle Center participants. Nico painted Mike, Elizabeth, Banoo, and Winston from photographs that her collaborator on this project, Caroline Shelnut, took weeks prior. When asked about their costumes, Caroline explains, “I chose Renaissance as the theme because people of all ages were represented in paintings back then. Artists saw beauty in aging and had a desire to capture it.”

Nico and Caroline infused this mural masterpiece with a shared love and respect for the power of growing older. “Together, Mike, Elizabeth, Banoo, and Winston represent the beauty and value of our elder community. They have so much to give,” says Nico.

We couldn’t agree more.

We officially unveiled “Age and Grace” with a special ceremony that included the four models and their families on a rainy, but very joy-filled, December day. “It’s simply breathtaking in its size and in how well Nico captured their personalities and the hopeful spirit of Circle Center,” says Heather Turbyne-Pollard, Circle Center’s CEO, every time she gives a tour.

“Once I learned about Circle Center and witnessed the dignity and respect with which the staff treat everyone who attends their programs, I was inspired,” says Nico.

Now, in addition to our work with our participants, we have something else to inspire us, and hopefully, the community-at-large — “Age and Grace.”

For more on Nico, visit nicocathcart.com