VIRGINIA BEACH — Blank walls don’t stay that way for very long in the ViBe Creative District at the Oceanfront. Color can be seen around nearly every corner thanks to a tradition continuing this weekend.
Ten artists are participating in the fifth annual Mural Fest, which will end Sunday after 10 days of painting.
Many of the artists have already finished their pieces, but muralist Sam Welty, who is known locally for his military-inspired works, was still putting the finishing touches on a Rite Aid building’s 180-foot-long brick wall Friday.
His mural features a woman’s face with flowing strands of blue and yellow hair stretching across the length of the building.
“I’m feeling really good about the progress I made today,” Welty said. “Because of how textured the wall is, getting smooth lines is really tedious.”
The woman’s hair represents “her mentality, her soul, her intentions” flowing outward, Welty said. He worked with the property owner to come up with the concept.
Several blocks away, Nico Cathcart of Richmond painted a portrait of three Virginia women she photographed. The elder, adult and teen featured on the side of the Ambassadors Inn & Suites on Parks Avenue each represent a generation of wisdom.
Poetry Jackson is an artist who has been stopping by the murals this week to see the progress. She parked near Cathcart’s wall on Friday and walked over to talk to her.
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“I’m blown away,” Jackson said. “It’s absolutely stunning.”
Tessa Duquette is a first-time muralist who has been tackling the back wall of 17th Street Marketplace. Her mural features seashells she found on the beach at Croatan. Duquette’s a Virginia Beach mom who worked odd hours on the mural while juggling family life.
“I was out here a few nights getting the bones of it up,” she said.
Sponsorship and grants fund Mural Fest. This year’s budget was $100,000, which included marketing and programs, said Kate Pittman, director of the ViBe Creative District. Artists are paid based on the size of the murals, ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 this year. Rite Aid is the lead sponsor.
Property owners commit to preserve the murals for a minimum of two years. The walls will feature a plaque recognizing the funders and the featured artists.
For a map of the murals, visit https://vibecreativedistrict.org/mural-festival.
Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, firstname.lastname@example.org