Pop-up murals at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront aim to promote diversity and meaningful conversations


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Bringing people together, especially in challenging times, is the goal of artists in Virginia Beach. You may have noticed new murals at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront that are hoping to do just that.

A couple of the artists say these pop-up murals are turning heads at the Oceanfront. People are stopping to look and because of that, conversations about diversity and inclusion are happening.

“We just wanted to represent more cultures in the area and really bring something new to the Oceanfront,” said Raeesah Islam, an artist and the Founder of Utopia Feni.

Pops of blue, green, red and yellow are catching eyes, and starting meaningful conversations.

As a young girl in Virginia Beach, Islam said she never felt inspired by the art at the Oceanfront.

“I mean I never got to see, especially a woman that looks like me, you know being represented at the Oceanfront,” she said.

But, that’s changing.

“This piece is actually based on my grandmother who is from Bangladesh and she actually inspired me to be an artist,” she said.

There are three murals as part of the series, all scattered throughout the Vibe Creative District.
Islam is partnering with artist Poetry Jackson on this mural.

Poetry Jackson paints a mural

“There are so many powerful, beautiful artists in our community that are making a lot of change,” Jackson said.

Change, awareness and a place to be seen. With every stroke of the brush, that’s what Islam and Jackson want to accomplish.

“We’re hoping this really inspires people, with the visuals and the message behind the art. You know we just want people to be inspired, feel home … be recognized,” Jackson said.

If you’d like to learn more about the organization Utopia Feni, click here.

Utopia Feni is holding an event Friday called, “VA, We Love You.” Organizers said it’ll feature food, local artists and musicians. For more information about that event, click here.

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