Join us for the City of Richmond’s annual series of talks about art in the city and its importance to creating connections between citizens and their communities.
Free to the public, these events are held at Richmond City Hall and are preceded by a short presentation by a performing artist.
In the early years of settlement, Royal Engineers surveying British Columbia’s wilderness erected a theatre in the New Westminster district. The playhouse hosted a variety of visiting entertainers, none of whom was more beloved than Miss Lulu Sweet of San Francisco, California.
Though little is known of Miss Sweet herself, her dancing, singing and acting were revered by newspapers of the day as “chaste and beautiful.” During her brief stay, she
became a beloved favourite of audiences. One of her most ardent admirers was head engineer Colonel Richard Moody, who accompanied the young actress on her departure voyage from New Westminster to Victoria.
As the two stood on deck, gazing at passing landmarks, Miss Sweet inquired as to the name of one large island. After replying absent-mindedly that the island, as yet, had no name, Moody—seized by a flash of inspiration—suddenly exclaimed, “By Jove! I’ll name it after you!”
Hopefully, Moody’s inspiration made some impression on the migrant Miss Sweet. It certainly made an impression on the island, which has been known as Lulu Island since 1863.
Like the engineer and the actress standing alongside each other, Richmond’s commercial and artistic halves have long been viewed as separate entities. Today, the city has a rich opportunity to merge its separate sides, blending art and commerce together and serving as a model for the reinvention of the modern urban environment.
The Lulu Series, a collection of dialogues initiated by leading artists, architects and economic developers, hopes to spark this synthesis.