RICHMOND, Virginia – This is an idea that was sparked by violence a few years ago.
Paris Allen turned on the news to see a girl of her daughter’s age shot dead in a shootout at a local park.
It was then that the self-taught artist began to change Richmond with a stroke of the brush.
At just three years old, Shamar Hill Jr. was hit by a stray bullet after a carjacking at Hillside Court.
“His parents call him the champion of heavenly weights,” said ().
The murder was a blow to his family, who have been mourning for almost two years without arrest or closure.
“As an artist you never feel like you’re really done, but last weekend there was a kid who couldn’t open any presents and I really wanted to make him my deal to complete this, ”Allen said.
Allen is an artist with a mission.
“I started when I saw the Marika Dickson story. She was my daughter’s age,” Allen said.
With a paint palette and brushstrokes, she creates art in memory of the children who were murdered.
“I did my first almost three years ago. If it’s something that touches my heart, I do!”
Shamar Hill was one of 66 killed in Richmond in 2020. Now at 90 homicides in 2021, Richmond is on track to match staggering violence.
Many now paint the city with a large brush from a place you don’t want to go. With 2022 just around the corner, this artist is doing her best to clean up the canvas and start over.
“The message is to raise awareness and try to change the narrative to a more positive light and show that there is other talent in Richmond, that light should shine as opposed to all of the negativity,” Allen said.
Allen will be installing Shamar Hill Jr.’s mural on the corner of Lone and Harwood streets on Tuesday and will also do some touch-ups on site.
Allen does the job with his own money. If you would like to donate paintings or supplies to Allen, you can find his Instagram here.