October 1, 2021

Housing Resource Center Residents Complete “Community of One” Public Art Murals

Project is First Installment of New Pilot Arts Employment Program, Brushworks

The Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department and the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation are excited to announce the completion of public art murals, "Community of One," the first installment of the Brushworks arts employment program. The murals were designed and installed by Housing Resource Center (HRC) residents in collaboration with professional artist, Nadd Harvin, and volunteers.

In lieu of a formal unveiling ceremony, a documentary of the project premiered today on Cultural Affairs' Facebook and YouTube channels, Facebook.com/VirginiaBeachArts and VirginiaBeachTV.

This summer, Cultural Affairs and Housing and Neighborhood Preservation partnered to launch Brushworks, a new pilot program that provides an opportunity for individuals experiencing homelessness or who are formerly homeless to gain employment and work with professional artists to create socially impactful public art throughout the city. Through the program, candidates were also connected to employment resources to improve their job readiness, such as applying and interviewing for jobs.

"The crew really took charge of the design as an outlet to tell their story. I'm so honored to have been a part of Brushworks and to help them grow their skills and love of the arts," said Harvin, lead artist and muralist. "I'm extremely proud of the team and pleased with how the murals turned out. It was an amazing experience."

The pilot program's first project was the creation of shipping container murals with the theme, "Community of One," which reflects a shared vision in Virginia Beach toward making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring, and aims to reinforce the City's culture of diversity and inclusivity. The shipping containers are located at the HRC, 104 N. Witchduck Road, and will be used as additional storage for the facility.

"Last week marked three years since the Housing Resource Center officially opened for services. The team effort behind Brushworks really embodied the same 'Community of One' spirit that helped make the HRC possible," said Ruth Hill, Homeless Services/HRC administrator. "The artwork is a fitting tribute to all those who have experienced homelessness and the many partners that have touched their lives along the way. We are so excited to celebrate this special milestone with the completion of these beautiful murals and to share the artists' voices with the community."

Brushworks was made possible through a grant from the VB Home Now foundation and the generosity of their supporters, including TowneBank, Ferguson Cares, and IKEA.

Lead Artist Bio:
Nadd Harvin is a self-taught painter, muralist, and art instructor whose work exists as a testament to the process of both their art and life. Their work has become increasingly centered around the creation and manipulation of time and space, as a means to explore dreams, memories, escape, self, and similar themes. In a world where rest and self-indulgence can be hard to come by, especially in many disenfranchised communities, Harvin's work hopes to communicate the sometimes radical nature of escape, self-preservation, and awareness.

Harvin was connected to Brushworks through the Contemporary Arts Network (CAN), LLC. CAN's mission is to provide a nexus of interconnectivity and development for a strong, enduring, harmonious arts community within the global art market. The organization empowers artists, patrons, and their communities through the linkage of a viable art market within the global arts community.

About the City of Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department:
The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

About the Virginia Beach Housing Resource Center:
The Housing Resource Center (HRC) provides a one-stop shop of services for families and individuals experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis. Partners at the HRC use a consolidated and integrated approach to deliver multiple services and housing options within a single building. The facility features a singles shelter, short-term family housing, permanent housing, day services, Human Services, dining hall, and learning facility. The integration of these resources under one roof makes the HRC the first of its kind in South Hampton Roads. For more information about the facility, visit www.vbgov.com/housing-resource-center.

About VB Home Now:
VB Home Now is a 501(c)(3) foundation that supports and enhances the community system of services, programs, and facilities to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring in Virginia Beach. Since the foundation's inception in 2016, more than $1.5 million in private donations have been raised to support the work at the Housing Resource Center and address key needs in the community. Contributions to VB Home Now help homeless families and individuals and those at risk by providing support such as short-term financial assistance to prevent homelessness and weekend meals for students experiencing food insecurity. To learn more about VB Home Now or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit VBHomeNow.org. For more information, contact Erin Walker at (757) 385-5760 or ewalker@vbgov.com.

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