Inside Out
IMG_5800 2.JPG
IMG_5798 2.JPG
IMG_5799 2.JPG

Aug 23 - A Statement from Inside Out

I have deeply enjoyed making work for the city and people of Richmond. Inside Out is an inclusive project that seeks to represent the voices of the people of Richmond. At the same time, it's important to me as a citizen, artist, and supporter of community art that I be transparent about statements that were banned from this project.  

I have deep respect for what art can do for communities, and I want to use my artistic platform to give under-served communities a voice. I also want to let future artists know that community art is worth making.

About the project:  I collected thoughts and statements from residents of the city, on any topic of their choice.  1,100 submissions were submitted in just one month -- everything from concerns about the environment and immigration to personal messages to family members (“Dad, I forgive you for keeping secrets.”) and general beliefs (“We are all humans capable of love”). I selected a representative section of about one hundred of these statements for public projection on the wall of the Richmond Civic Center, who had invested in the project as part of their Neighborhood Public Art Grant program.

Just before the launch, the City requested that any statements critical of the current president of the US and mentioning him by name be removed.  I have done so but it's important that you know those voices existed, even if they are not projected in the work.  

I did my best within the confines placed on my work: The final display contains three minutes of disclaimer, reflecting the fact that over 40 submissions mentioned Trump or his policies.

About me:  I am the daughter of immigrants who worked their way from being voiceless to claiming their voice.  While growing up, I witnessed my family members and other members of my community, in particular citizens of color, feeling silenced due to the cultural climate at the time.  Perhaps they were "illegal immigrants," as my family once was.  Perhaps they felt their perspectives were not wanted or appreciated, or that it was dangerous to express counter views.  Perhaps there was was no easy platform available to amplify them.

That is why I created Inside Out, to hear what is on the minds of individuals in the right here, right now.  I had heard, even before moving to Richmond, that this is one of the most politically diverse and artistically interesting and active communities in the Bay Area. I was and am still so excited to be living here.

I have deep respect for all the people who have worked with me on this and sweated the many details to get this projection up:  From Mario V. who turned down the lights so the wall would be brighter, to Marty M. who is loaning this equipment practically pro bono (we could shoot a Beyonce Superbowl video on the roof of City Hall with his equipment), to Dorothy S. and Jody W. who gave me lots of advice and reminders of our opportunities as artists, to James B. who stood on wobbly scaffolds in parking lots to document this work, to my studio helper Alise A. who is full of energy and ideas. To Michele S. on the art commission who has worked hard to schedule the logistics and has tried to protect this work. To the art commission who chose this work, knowing it would be a special first for Richmond.

My deep gratitude belongs especially to the citizens of Richmond who wrote and submitted statements, including the submitters who asked me on multiple occasions, if it was really okay to submit anonymously, because they are not legal Americans.  If they will get in trouble. To those participants, you are my heroes and your words matter. It is my pleasure and responsibility to project them, or alternatively, to illuminate the absence of them. Thank you for trusting me with your truths.

Yours in art and community,

Christy Chan

August 21, 2019


Inside Out is a social practice and temporary public art installation in Richmond, CA. The project turned phrases submitted by Richmond residents into large scale projection art on the walls of Richmond City Hall. During a four -week submission period, 1,100 phrases were submitted by people who live or work in Richmond. 100 phrases were then selected to be turned into projections.


See your words light up the city



The projections are running Aug 21 - 25 in the evening, 8 - 11 PM on the six story wall of Richmond City Hall.


The project was being created by Bay Area artist Christy Chan Art and her team of local collaborators. The project partnered with local community centers to offer free story and writing workshops to the public, for the purpose of submitting phrases.

Support for Inside Out / Richmond comes from local community partners: Animated Architecture, The Richmond Art Center, Christy Chan Art & Collaborators . and in part by a Public Art Neighborhood Grant from the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission

The words projected by Inside Out will not reflect the opinions of the Artist Team or City of Richmond, but rather the views of the people.

This is 100% non-profit and fueled by the dedication of volunteers. To volunteer for inside Out, contact us. ( we need graphic designers and video editors)


In a time when the word wall is used to divide, this project used a wall to bring together a community of diverse backgrounds to share their truths.

Inside Out is 100% inclusive. We believe that the words of everyday citizens mean as much, if not more, than powerful figures we watch in the news or hear on the radio.


Why not Richmond? You live here. We live here. Richmond is a quintessential American city, a place where life and culture happens. From moment to moment, this is a place where families and people of all backgrounds are building their lives.

Moreover, Richmond is one of the last remaining socioeconomically diverse cities in the Bay Area. The Bay Area is about much more than tech companies or tourists. It is about a city like Richmond.

Let the whole Bay Area know who you are, and what you stand fo


Everybody who lived or worked in Richmond was eligible to submit. Workshops to submit phrases were offered in three languages: English, Spanish and Chinese.