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Virginia photographer restores postcards to preserve history

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Petersburg, Virginia — Steven.G, an interdisciplinary professional photographer and graphic designer, stamped his hometown on a special project. The “Petersburg Postcard” combines his passion for photography and history.

Postcards provide a unique lens that allows an individual to see the past, so Steven.G sought a nostalgic response for his unique idea. He digitally restored some of his newly acquired collection to create a full-color metal sign.

Oversized postcards featuring Petersburg’s historic landmarks, businesses, and locations within them can be found throughout Old Town.

Steven.G discovered that Petersburg is a popular subject for postcards. Due to its rich history, he had hundreds of choices over a century.

The goal of the Petersburg Postcard is to draw the attention of the community, tourists and shoppers to Petersburg’s rich and fascinating history.

“Petersburg is unique in many ways and its origins predate the Revolutionary War. There have been many changes, but many have remained the same,” says Steven.G. “Postcards show how to rekindle interest in this amazing history that connects us all.”

This project was approved by Petersburg’s Building Review Board and real estate and business owners. Last December, the Petersburg City Council approved the installation of postcard signs as a historic landmark and on city property.

A QR code will be displayed on each postcard to direct the viewer to the website and dedicated web pages, providing additional information about the postcard and the history surrounding that particular location. Maps showing each location in the city with the corresponding postcards can also be found on the website.

“Ultimately, locals and visitors can do a scavenger hunt to look for 14 historic markers,” Steven.G said. “Five signs have been installed and nine other signs are being produced.”

The first “Petersburg Postcard” sign was installed in February. It features the Appomattox Steelworks and is on display in the actual building itself, a registered historic Virginia landmark.

Steven.G’s historic markers, installed at this point, feature the iconic octagonal farmer’s market building, Union Station, the US Post Office City Hall, and the Sycamore Street scene.

Scavengers can also challenge themselves by tracking two prototypes. One features the Jefferson Hotel and the other is historically important near the murals along Sycamore Street.

Richard Cuthbert, a director of Petersburg on Main Street, is a fan of Steven.G’s “Petersburg Postcard” concept. He advised him to look for a grant to fund it.

“I submitted the project to CultureWorks and was awarded a grant that allowed me to create a website and four signs,” Steven.G said. “Main Street Petersburg has offered to cover the final cost of the installation.”

Main Street Petersburg is made up of residents, shopkeepers, artists and historians who are thriving to revitalize Old Town Petersburg.

CultureWorks attaches great importance to diversity and inclusiveness and believes that not only should everyone have access to art and culture, but they should also have the opportunity to express their culture through art.

“Everyone I’ve been involved with, regardless of their course of life, loves to see postcards, especially compared to today,” Steven.G said. “I had some great spontaneous conversations and met many local communities.”

Visit stevengstudios.com for more information and additional signs. Follow StevenG on Twitter @ steeven_g and Instagram @ steven0g. His studio, Steven.G Studios, is located on 22W.Old Street in the historic Appomattox Ironworks building.

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