Training program

Can art help people get out of homelessness? New VB Vocational Training Program Teaches Public Art Craft


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A new mural now illuminates the Housing Resource Center on Witchduck Road in Virginia Beach. If you look closely you will see that it tells a story.

The artwork is the result of the new Brushworks Pilot Program, a vocational training program where homeless people are hired to work with a professional artist to paint murals while learning valuable professional skills.

“Public art is not just about painting and embellishment; it’s also about running the business, managing time, how to work collaboratively with a team while working with a client to help produce a work of art that also reflects what the customers want, ”said Nina Goodale, Creative Placemaking and Public Art. Coordinator at the Directorate of Cultural Affairs.

Participants went through an interview and a hiring process. Those selected are paid for their work.

The Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department created the program in partnership with the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation.

“It is a chance for members of our community who are going through hardships and perhaps in bad luck or in difficulty to be part of a positive project, encouraging and allowing them to express themselves and which is very therapeutic. explained Virginia Beach board member Michael Berlucchi, a champion of the project.

Officials hired professional artist Nadd Harvin to lead the team.

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“I let them tell this story. I’m just here to be the glue, ”Harvin said.

Harvin guided the artists and helped shape their vision for the piece.

“It’s a classic beach scene, but through the prism of homeless people,” Harvin said.

On one side, a bench sits on the promenade, looking through the rails at the sandy beach and the Atlantic Ocean. The mural moves across the Oceanfront, with various symbols to represent organizations that have helped artists, such as a starfish, symbolize the Star of the Sea outreach program.

The mural ends with a house, with the painted slogan “No one is home until everyone is home”.

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