The Builder:
A Documentary
by Shockoe Artspace

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About The Builder

In every way, art is embedded into the very fabric of our society and as such plays an irreplaceable role in the building up of culture. To collect art is to understand this important fact, most personally.

The Builder is a story about friendship and the powerful way the interconnectivity of people living and moving throughout a city can help to build culture. The film centers on the art scene in Richmond, Virginia, with a focus on Oregon Hill native and contractor Don Childress, who–to the surprise of many–has an incredible contemporary art collection. This collection includes work from Francisco Clemente, Ron Johnson, Heidi Trepaneir and Bill Fisher to name just a few.

Don’s passion for collecting was born out of working with Tom Papa, a Richmond developer and committed patron and art collector himself. The film tracks the origins of Don’s collecting during building projects through purchase and bartering. The Builder gives viewers a window into how Don’s infectious passion for art impacts workers on his job crew and artists of acclaim in and around the city.

The Builder is bolstered by an impressive list of Richmond luminaries who have had a local and international influence on art and art making. The cast includes the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Bill and Pam Royall, Sally Bowering and more.