The Wards is slang I made up just now for two adjacent neighborhoods in the center of downtown Richmond: Jackson Ward and Monroe Ward. These guys have a ton in common, and the only reason they’re not one conjoined Ward is because they’ve been separated by Broad Street.
But divisive Broad Street aside, they’ve got a lot going for them. In fact, their biggest claim to fame is their passion for art.
Take a stroll through either Ward, and you’ll be instantly surrounded by dozens of ornate murals. While you were busy ogling at those, you probably didn’t even notice all of the inconspicuous art galleries you walked by, unassumingly filled with artists at work.
Some galleries are unmarked and mysterious. Some are loud and proud. Some share space with other things, like thrift stores, yoga studios, cafés, and hotels (looking at you, Quirk). And on the first Friday of every month, the Wards combine forces and show off all of their artistic talent during the First Friday’s Art Walk. Galleries, who otherwise remain discreetly in the shadows during the rest of the month, open their doors to the public to remind them about the mounds of creativity that’s quietly infiltrating the city.
And let’s be honest, there are other types of businesses aside from galleries that contain art. I am of course referring to tattoo parlors. Richmond is rumored to be one of the most tattooed cities in the country, and so naturally the Wards boast their fair share of ink.
But enough art chat. There are plenty of other, non-art related things to do in the Ward region. But just so you know, if you set foot in either one of those neighborhoods, you might leave the area feeling just a bit more creative.
You’ve been warned.