Teen artists showcase their talents by painting metal pillars along Virginia Beach street

Posted at 1:12 PM, Oct 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-18 19:32:08-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Drive down 19th Street in the ViBe Creative District and you will see something new on each street corner -- painted pillars, designed by young local artists.

The artists are transforming once plain and gray pillars into colorful and eye-grabbing ones.

"It is really amazing,” Ruby Milliken, one of the artists, said. "I still really can't believe that I was able to do one of these."

This project is called "Teens Take Over the Street.” It was implemented by the ViBe Creative District.

Milliken and Hanna Chou were two of eight artists chosen for the project.

"It was just like, ‘Oh, cool, I get to contribute to the city and the ViBe District,'" Chou said. "I love coming down here to see the art and the murals."

Eighty students entered their painting drafts, and the running was narrowed down to eight teenagers. They spent their weekend transferring their renditions from paper onto the pillars in the cool weather.

Chou’s pillar is heavy with blue colors, and features characters that appear to move around.

"I just kind of wanted to do something that made me happy and made me smile,” Chou explained. “So I just made a bunch of goofy characters that I liked."

Milliken’s multicolored pillar features people's faces and a sun on different sides.

"This is just a reminder to be reconnected to your neighbors and be reunited,” Milliken said. “I feel like that's really important right now."

There are a total of eight pillars, part of a street project agreed to between the ViBe Creative District and the City of Virginia Beach. The pillars celebrate the end of the roadwork that took place along 19th Street.

It also adds to the streetscape -- and gives these students the chance to showcase their talents.

"We're really thrilled to have Virginia Beach locals,” Kate Pittman, the executive director of the ViBe Creative District, said. “We've got some Chesapeake teens and then also one teen from Henrico involved."

The teenagers were paid for their work, and said this was their first project with the city. They also said they're getting experience that'll help them in their future art careers.

"We've got some of the best of the best here, and Hanna and Ruby have been doing a wonderful job,” Pittman said.

The pillars are located on each street corner along 19th Street, between Parks Avenue, near the Virginia Beach Convention Center, and Baltic Avenue.