2021 Birdhouse Installation at 19th Street & Parks Avenue

Nearly 1,000 mini works of art adorn these arches here on City of Virginia Beach property at the corner of 19th Street and Parks Avenue in the ViBe Creative District. This public art installation represents over a year of planning and engagement between the ViBe District, Virginia Museum of Contemporary and YELLOW nonprofits where local at-risk youth and members of the public were offered an opportunity to create a hands-on work of art on a craft birdhouse.

During Summer 2019, From One Hand To AnOTHER (FOHTA) partnered with the ViBe Creative Arts District in an effort to ignite artistic ability in underserved communities. The project consisted of students painting birdhouses with their view of the world or an inspirational message which encourages positivity around Hampton Roads. FOHTA, a former 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams, focused on promoting S.T.E.A.M.M. education and provided the tools students needed to be successful.
“With FOHTA, we appreciated the opportunities and creative lessons ViBe brought to the students we served, and we are excited to continue our partnership through Pharrell’s new non-profit, YELLOW.” Stacey Lopez, Chief Operating Officer, YELLOW. YELLOW is a 501(c)(3) with a goal to EVEN THE ODDS through education.
ViBe Creative District executive director Kate Pittman said, “The vision for this project was to provide a diverse group of local youth a hands-on artistic exercise that sparked creative dialogue about how art can have a positive impact in their community.” ViBe’s nonprofit employed MOCA educators and a team of arts volunteers to visit more than a dozen YELLOW camp and funded the birdhouses, paints and supplies to execute the project.

Topics of discussion between the arts groups and the students included:  

Community building | Neighborhood development | Public art impact | Authenticity (individualism versus collective) | Creativity | Color theory

Students were challenged to look at their bird house a symbol of community and asked to consider what makes it unique to stand out as an individual entity but also fit into a diverse network or neighborhood of other birdhouses. Students were then encouraged write a positive message about community or their City on the birdhouse. All participants were inspired that their artwork would become a public art display. Images of the students creating their works of art are found on the on-site signage or by clicking here.

“Virginia MOCA was delighted to collaborate with our partners and members of the community to bring this vibrant piece of public art to life in the ViBe Creative District,” said Alison Byrne, MOCA’s Director of Exhibitions and Education. “This collaboration epitomizes the power and importance of the arts in creative community building. I look forward to seeing the project realized, and for all the artists who created birdhouses to see their work installed for everyone to enjoy.”

The ViBe Creative District partnered with local architect Jeremy Maloney of Altruistic Design to design an interactive way to display the birdhouses on a series of seven wooden arches. The installation structure was constructed by Spacemakers Construction in late September 2020 and local installation Nikki Leone of Poplar and Pine installed the birdhouses in October 2020. The City of Virginia Beach has generously permitted this temporary installation in partnership with ViBe District nonprofit and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

view signage installation onsite view city of virginia beach photo album for more pictures
LOVEworks sign by Chesley De Leon, photographed by Echard Wheeler

LOVEwork in the ViBe Creative District, 2018

Virginia Beach’s first 3-D LOVE sign was unveiled on #SecondSaturday August 11, 2018. The LOVEwork is located at the corner of 18th Street and Cypress Ave, next to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Library and adjacent to ViBe Park, an epicenter of creative activities. Artist Chesley De Leon describes her artwork:

L – Features the ViBe logo and a paintbrush to represent this blossoming and vibrant creative district. This installation was made possible by the ViBe Creative District, Virginia Tourism Corporation, the City of Virginia Beach, and Signs of Success.

O – Features the city’s most popular attraction and my favorite place to be, the beach. After all, Virginia Beach’s 35-mile coastline does hold the Guinness World Record as the “world’s longest stretch of pleasure beach.”

V – Features a rainbow-colored peace sign that represents the city’s diverse, friendly, and easygoing atmosphere. People from all backgrounds and walks of life are welcomed here.

E – Features Town Center to represent urban life because Virginia Beach is constantly taking steps to move forward and grow in population and popularity.

Visitors are encouraged to take photos with the LOVEworks and share with loved ones on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers or on Twitter with the special hashtag #LOVEVA. A complete list of the LOVEwork locations is at www.Virginia.org/LOVE.

About the Artist

The artist, Chesley De Leon, was born and raised in Virginia Beach. She works with various media but mainly does graphic design. Of her design, De Leon says, “I wanted to reflect the area and community of my hometown in a simple yet eye-catching way. This city has so much to offer so I am ecstatic that there is now a LOVEwork to solidify the fact that Virginia Beach and the rest of Virginia is indeed for lovers.”

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