Murals are Popping Up at Virginia Beach Town Center

Thursday, August 24, 2017

​New murals at Town Center are rapidly taking shape with painting well underway. The Virginia Beach Development Authority, in partnership with the Town Center Advisory Board and the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, has engaged local artist Richard Nickel to create one‐of‐a‐kind murals on three interior walls of the Block 4 Garage at Virginia Beach Town Center. The goal of the murals is to foster a sense of welcome, while broadening perspectives of public spaces within the city.

"Town Center has become a vibrant arts and cultural destination with an abundance of creative businesses and artistic elements," said Nina Goodale-Salazar, cultural arts coordinator for the Office of Cultural Affairs. "We are excited to support local and regional artists with opportunities to showcase their work."

The selection process was extremely competitive and attracted wonderful submissions by local artists. After careful consideration, the selection panel was most impressed by Nickel's cheerful designs that expressed the branding and energy of Town Center.

"We are excited to see the first of hopefully many, vibrant, colorful murals at Town Center," said Jeanne Evans-Cox, chair of the Town Center Advisory Board. "This project contributes to the beautification of Town Center and demonstrates the city's resourcefulness and commitment to the arts by using otherwise utilitarian spaces as blank canvases, and transforming them into true works of art."

Nickel's bright, colorful and welcoming murals will be completed in the coming weeks. He has created three designs that are based on a central stylized theme, unified by bold, graphic shapes, painted in an almost "retro" color pallet. The artist likens his design concept to the opening credits of vintage cartoons.

About the Artist
Nickel is an active artist and associate professor at Old Dominion University and has been published in several Lark books on ceramics, including 500 Tiles: An Inspiring Collection of International Work, 500 Animals in Clay, 500 Figures in Clay and 500 Bowls.  Nickel has been also awarded several grants from Old Dominion University for research in education and ceramics, including a Faculty Innovator Grant, a Summer Research Fellowship and the Service Learning Mini-Grant.

He is better known for his ceramic works, however his public art graces the ViBe and Neon districts and is on display in areas as far away as Rochester and Niagara Falls, New York. Nickel's work is characterized by its colorful, symbolic and whimsical style. His work is mainly figurative, featuring characters depicted in everyday routines and gatherings of friends.  All are joyful and live in a world where there is perpetual promise and hope.

About The Office of Cultural Affairs
The role of the Office of Cultural Affairs is to develop the vision and direction of the cultural arts in Virginia Beach, assist and direct the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, coordinate the city's Public Art Program, provide contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serve as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serve as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.  

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