Since 2021, the ViBe Creative District and Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) have joined forces on a creative project called: “Better Together.” The inspiration is to provide uplifting and encouraging murals for students in Title I schools. This spring, they added four additional elementary schools to their growing list: Rosemont, Seatack, Bettie F. Williams and College Park. Currently, 12 Title I schools have a mural, and the final five schools are planned for next spring.
“The collaboration between VBCPS and the ViBe Creative District highlights the amazing things that can happen when we come together,” said Laura Silverman, director of Title I Programs. “The creativity, beauty and meaningful messages of the murals encourage a sense of belonging and inclusivity.”
Each school collaborated with a local artist to customize the murals to fit each school’s personality. The mural was painted on framed plywood, and finished molding is added once the artwork is complete. VBCPS’ Maintenance Services department worked with each school’s administration to determine the location.
“Creating murals in schools can be a wonderful way to bring communities together,” said Amber Hester, visual fine arts coordinator. “These projects foster positive relationships between students and adults, and they can help build bridges between different groups within the community.”
The murals were painted on-site by the artist, allowing all staff and students to witness and appreciate not only the final product but also the development process. The murals can be at any place inside the school, and they can be moved around.
“When I think of being better together, I think of how each person brings something new and unique to the table,” said Ceindy Nunez, the artist behind the Rosemont Elementary mural. “I thought of my own son and how he brings his own individuality into his classroom. When I started to think of ways to express that, I imagined a beautiful garden and how each different plant brings something different to the overall space.”
The ViBe Creative District provided the artists with a $1,250 paid stipend for the labor and materials.
“The ViBe nonprofit has been proud to dedicate time, attention and resources to the Better Together project since 2021, said Kate Pittman, executive director, ViBe Creative District. “We hope these artists have inspired the students to make vibrant changes in their communities as they grow into future leaders.”
According to Rosemarie Spracklin, the Seatack mural artist, the inspiration behind her mural was drawn from the “yogi’s philosophy of universal responsibility, where we are all collectively responsible for the well-being not just of ourselves, our families, and inner circle, but of our nation and the entire world.”
This school and community partnership epitomizes the idea that we all are in fact ‘Better Together,’ added Silverman.