Got something to say? Contribute to Richmond Civic Center art project

Phrases by local residents will become large-scale, luminous night-time video projections on the walls of Richmond Civic Center next month. (Photo credit: Christy Chan)

A new public art project underway will have phrases written by local residents turned into large-scale, luminous night-time video projections on the walls of Richmond Civic Center, according to Christy Chan, a Richmond-based artist who is spearheading the project.

The project, called Inside Out, is scheduled to light up on a five-story section of the Civic Center building — the tallest downtown — nightly from Aug. 21 through Aug. 25, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Chan said.

But first: the community is being summoned to submit written autobiographical phrases that may be selected for display as a video projection.

From now through Aug. 5, locals can submit phrases at the website,, or in-person at free community events.

The first event is from Thursday, July 11, in the form of a pizza and writing workshop from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the RYSE Youth Center,  205 41st St. in Richmond. 

A second event will take place Sunday, July 14, in the form of an ice-cream social from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Kaleidoscope Coffee, 109 Park Place in Point Richmond. The event will include guided writing prompts from project volunteers, available in three languages.

Inside Out was one of 10 projects awarded Neighborhood Public Art Mini-Grants last year by the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission. Project supporters include Animated Architecture, the Richmond Art Center and Christy Chan Art.

“At a time when the word wall is being used to divide people, in this project, a wall is used to bring together a community of diverse backgrounds to raise their voices and be seen,” Chan said.

Want to know how to get started on your phrase?

“Share your funny. Share your weird. Share your sad. Share your truths,” says Chan, whose website offers prompts such as “Tell us your life story in 7 words” and “What change do you wish to see?”

Chan has been a Bay Area resident for two decades, moving to Richmond last year. She has exhibited multi-media art installations and films throughout California and New York at venues including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, Kala Art Institute, SOMArts, and The Wassaic Project. She is a 2019 filmmaker-in-residence at SFFILM. Many of her projects examine the contradictions of race, class and cultural division in America. Her most recent project was “Hello Stranger.”