Utopia Feni Partners with ViBe District to Spotlight Minority Artists
Artist Amber Robinson Pierce @ambrpierce
JUNE 2020— The ViBe Creative District and Utopia Feni nonprofits announce a new partnership to spotlight local minority artists in Virginia Beach’s arts district. Supported by a grant from the Virginia Beach Department of Cultural Affairs, the creative collaboration includes three new temporary pop-up murals on view starting in July, just in time for the COVID-19 delayed tourism season. Inspired by recent nationwide racial tensions and a local grass roots initiative to LISTEN, LEARN and LOVE, this pop-up mural project aims to showcase the creative talents of diverse artists. The artists will paint live on Friday, June 26th to Sunday, June 28th.
Artists selected for this partnership include: AMBER ROBINSON, CHRIS GREEN, POETRY JACKSON, and Utopia Feni founder RAEESAH ISLAM. Utopia Feni has a pure autobiographical concept behind it which can be relatable to artists of every kind to serve as an inspiration to empower their creative dreams. The project includes 3 new temporary murals, each measuring 8 feet tall by 12 feet wide, on structures that were repurposed from the Something in the Water 2019 art walk. The murals will be on view July – September 2020 in the ViBe District and will then be relocated to Utopia Feni’s Kempsville location.
In the Artists Words:
From Artist Raeesah Islam and Poetry Jackson:
“My (Raeesah) vision for our project was to paint a portrait of my Nanu (maternal grandmother) who was a well respected leader in her community in Kalabagan (Dhaka, Bangladesh). She was the person who inspired me to be an artist. Utopia Feni literally wouldn’t exist without her and I was fortunate to carry on her legacy in an extravagant way. Poetry’s precise technique with my colorful intuitive freestyle design was a perfect synergy and the energy was matched. We really got to create the exact mural we’d want to take a picture in front of. Utopia Feni has come a long way over the past five years and I’m so fortunate to be able to share opportunities with artists who align with us. This has been a dream come true on every level and we are envisioning many more to come. Thank you so much to VIBE and @vabeacharts for the opportunity. #utopiafeni #love #culture #artists #community #mural #design #virginiabeach #757artists #growth #inspire #raeesah #poetryjacksonart #representationmatters #vaweloveyou”
“Thank you @raeesah.757 for collaborating with me (Poetry) on this beautiful mural. Much love to @thevibecreativedistrict @vabeacharts and @utopiafeni for the support! Also shout out to @wtkr3 @wavynews10 @madisonglassmantv @13newsnow and @essence for the press!”
From Artist Chris Green:
“As of late the world feels filled with so much turmoil & pain. I (Chris) believe it’s time for the healing process to begin. For my mural I wanted repesent healing through inner-peace and the beauty of nature🌻💚♻️. Special thanks to: @utopiafeni @thevibecreativedistrict for teaming up to support local artist and making the change a reality🙌🏾🎨. The amazing art symbols on the top part of mural are done by local va beach artist @versace_heaven 👈🏾 check out his art. 📍Mural Location: 19th St & Arctic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451″
From Artist Amber Robinson Pierce:
“This is an allegory I (Amber) use a lot in my work: flowers! Erupting the inside of human beings clothing! Flowers represent our inner sensitivies. Beauty within that often is result of painful growth and cultivation. I want to encourage us to share what is within us with others. I am so truly honored to be putting my art up in my hometown. I think back to when i was a little girl making art constantly. There was no vibe district, there was no neon district. Art programs in school were being poorly funded. It wasn’t as cool as is now to be into the arts. I loved it all anyway, and I followed it my whole life. I’m excited for the kids like me to see this art. The brown kids especially, to see that they can be local, into the arts, and still have these oppurtunities, be able to share a brief handprint with their city. Thank you again @utopiafeni and @thevibecreativedistrict
An Arts and Humanities Collaboration
“We are excited to partner up with the ViBe District and Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs to leave marks of our movement at the oceanfront,” said Raeesah Islam. “Utopia Feni has been active in the community in being an inclusive and welcoming space for artists of every kind. As the quarantine hit, we developed a platform entitled #VAweloveyou which we created to uplift creatives and our community through tough times. It developed from a website, to a live stream, to delivering pizzas to frontline workers, to peaceful protests, and now to policy change. We hope our murals serve as a symbol for integrating the many different cultures we embrace down at the oceanfront. We are here to love and heal our community.”
“As a creative community, we are working hard to listen, learn and love,” said Kate Pittman, executive director of the ViBe Creative District. “We feel it is timely and important to uplift and support our minority artists working here in Virginia Beach. My hope is that this project provides them a platform for their artwork to be appreciated by our visitors while also encouraging locals to employee more minority artists.”
Pop-Up Mural Locations in the ViBe District at the VB Oceanfront
Utopia Feni Pop-Up Murals are located on temporary wall structures at: 17th Street near Cypress Avenue, 17th near Baltic Avenue and Arctic Ave near 19th Street. The murals will be on view in the ViBe District through September and will then be relocated to Utopia Feni in Kempsville.
About Utopia Feni
Utopia Feni Inc. is a non-profit organization built to sustain a local creative community, in order to establish art programs in underprivileged villages – starting with Feni, Bangladesh. Our mission is to spread art locally, inspire collaborations, and share the value of creativity with disadvantaged artists around the world. Utopia Feni Creative Studios hosts events such as art exhibitions, craft shows, and festivals as well as workshops, seminars, and classes. For more information on please visit www.utopiafeni.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, follow on Facebook and @utopiafenigallery on Instagram.
Supported in part by: