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Artists promote diversity and inclusion in new Vibe District murals

The painted pillars are part of the Neighborhood Identifier program in the Virginia Beach community.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Art has a way of speaking when words aren’t enough. 

Tamika Bright-Stubblefield, of Newport News, hopes her message is heard loud and clear. 

“I think art acts as the catalyst for change,” she said.  

Bright-Stubblefield was one of eight artists painting murals in Virginia Beach’s Vibe Creative District on Sunday. The creatives were hand-selected to promote diversity and inclusion through pillars, called Neighborhood Identifiers, along 19th street.

Credit: Eugene Daniel
Nicole Gomez, of Richmond, paints her murals of rainbow colored shapes in Virginia Beach's Vibe District on April 18, 2021.

Nicole Gomez drove down from Richmond to paint her mural. 

“Something that is going to brighten people’s day when they drive by,” said Pittman. 

“It’s been a tough year not only in our community but across the country, said Katt Pittman, Executive Director of the Vibe Creative District.

Pittman hopes the artwork can bring about unity and conversation. 

"We are not trying to hide away from the issues," said Pittman. "We want to use the art as a tool of healing and discussion.” 

Credit: Eugene Daniel

The murals will remain for six months, and in that time, Bright-Stubblefield hopes her work sparks healing. 

“Yes we all may be from different walks of life, different backgrounds, do things differently – but if we come together we can help each other grow,” she said.  

The Neighborhood Identifier Program launched in 2020 and is expected to expand to 17th Street and 18th Street by next year.  

Author's Note: The video below is on file from Aug. 24, 2020.