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Group collaborates with minority artists to create murals in Virginia Beach

Three murals now stand out in Virginia Beach, and they're spreading a message of diversity, inclusion, and community.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — If you’re driving down Virginia Beach Boulevard and go through the ViBe Creative District, you’ll see three new 8-foot-by-12-foot pop-up murals.

Each one has a message of inclusion and each one is painted by a minority artist in Virginia Beach.

Raeesah Islam is one of the artists, and also the Founding Artist of Utopia Feni. It’s a nonprofit in Virginia Beach with a mission to share the value of art, with disadvantaged artists around the world.

“I really hope they see just something different that you don’t usually see at the Oceanfront,” said Islam “I would love every culture to be represented at the Oceanfront.”

This art project is a collaboration between the Vibe Creative District and Utopia Feni to help cultivate diversity and conversation around it importance.

“Just to be part of that conversation is a really big honor,” said Islam.

Kate Pittman is the Executive Director of the ViBe Creative District. She said they appraoced Utopia Feni’s with this mural idea.

“We also want to speak to that minority population that lives here and acknowledge them and give them that opportunity to be seen,” said Pittman.

Pittman said they got a grant for this project and are able to pay each artist $1,000 for their work and provide paint supplies.

In addition, the street side exposure will hopefully advertise and bring more work in for the artists--but this project is about more than monetary gains. 

It’s about continuing the conversation around equality and social justice.

“We do believe in the power of art to be a healing tool, a topic of discussion and help our community grow. And we hope that this is just another step in the process of healing together in the community,” said Pittman.

The three murals will stay in the ViBe Creative District through September. Then they’ll move to Utopia Feni’s in Kempsville.

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