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Black Arts and Culture

Norfolk Mural Displays Journal & Guide Founder


A new 63-foot long Neighborhood Markers community mural is on display at the CHKD Thrift Store, 795 Monticello Ave. that represents important components of the surrounding community. One panel of the mural shows a young girl and highlights a copy of the Journal and Guide newspaper with its founding publisher P.B. Young, Sr.

The large-scale public art project was spearheaded by the Art Department at Old Dominion University and the NEON District, for the Young Terrace neighborhood in Norfolk.

The public housing community is named for Mr. Young, whose editorials in the 1940s championing safe and decent housing for low income citizens led to the building of Young Terrace and other public housing communities in the city and nation.

Local teens and adults assisted in the “paint-by-number” process to create a 63-foot-long mural. It was designed by Natalia Pilato, art education program director and assistant professor in the Department of Art, and her ODU students with community input. The 1,500-square-foot artwork on the Thrift Store’s exterior wall, represents community unity and celebrates neighborhood youths.

“We have had over 300 painting visits over the past nine weeks,” Pilato said.

Students from the ODU Arts and Art Education program and the Humanities Visual Studies program began the Neighborhood Markers project in January by surveying community members within a half-mile radius of the mural site to seek input for design content and concepts. Students enrolled in Pilato’s elementary art methods course also worked with K-2 children at P.B. Young Elementary School in Norfolk to incorporate art by the children featuring “sky, sea, transportation and home.”

The ODU students created designs for the mural based on that input and their own elements. Pilato incorporated some of those ideas to make the final digital design that was traced onto the panels that students and participants painted. The panels became part of a large grid used to create the permanent project.

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