2 Artists + 2 Schools = 2 New Community Artworks

Monday, June 10, 2019

Students from two Virginia Beach Elementary Schools experienced art a little more in-depth this year thanks to a new community art program placing local artists in public schools. Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department partnered with Virginia Beach City Public Schools to match local artists with Corporate Landing Elementary and Parkway Elementary Schools for an engaging eight-weeks to create a temporary public artwork that celebrates the schools and their communities.

During their immersive residencies, artists Christopher Revels and Markis Bowers shared their artistic process and created space for students to explore, experiment and collaborate on a final work of art.

Corporate Landing Elementary School's "We Bloom Together"
Artist Christopher Revels worked with Corporate Landing Elementary School art teacher, Anne Campbell and third grade students to design and create, "We Bloom Together." A larger-than-life flower garden, the installation is made of recycled collage materials stretching more than eight feet in length with multiple four-foot tall flower structures. The flowers' petals were created by the students with words and images that represent each one of them. The sculpture was installed on the school grounds, and every class had the opportunity to explore the pop-up "garden." Students and their families reflected on the unique creative experience at a school celebration on May 24. When asked why public art was important, one student replied, "Because it's ours, and it's for everyone!"

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Parkway Elementary School's "Children Are the Future"
Artist Markis Bowers collaborated with fourth- and fifth-grade students at Parkway Elementary School and their art teacher, Susan Owens to create "Children Are the Future," a mural project highlighting what the students want to be when they grow up. During Career Day at Parkway, Bowers met with the students and discussed their future ambitions. Using sketches from the students, he created a mural on stage during lunch time, and the students had the opportunity to engage with Bowers while he worked. The mural consists of seven portraits, along with a compilation of student artwork and panels painted by students in class. The completed piece will be installed on the schoolyard fence that faces Princess Anne Road. The final artwork will be unveiled at a school event on June 13th for students and their families. Students will be given the opportunity to talk about their experience and celebrate their new artwork.

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The City of Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department promotes excellence in the arts and humanities by initiating and supporting programs, activities and policies that inspire, nurture and reflect the cultural diversity of the area. For more information, events and opportunities in the arts visit vbgov.com/arts and www.vbpublicart.org. Follow us on Facebook: @virginiabeacharts, on Instagram: @vabeacharts, and on Twittier: @vabeacharts.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) employs 130 visual arts teachers who provide instruction to students in grades 1-12 and focus on the artmaking process, art history, aesthetics and criticism.  A gifted art program is offered in grades 3-8, and the Visual and Performing Arts Academy and the Governor's School for the Arts is available for students in grades 9-12. For more information about the VBCPS Visual Arts Program and the division's dedication to the arts, please visit vbschools.com. Follow us on Twitter: @VBCPSVisualArts and on Facebook: @VBCPSVisualArts.

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