Ceremony Saturday at site of proposed African-American center

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Conceptual Rendering of African American Cultural Center

Conceptual Rendering of the African American Cultural Center

Spoken word, artifacts and gospel choirs only scratch the surface of the artistic lineup for Saturday’s “Blessing of the Land” ceremony.

The event, which runs from 1-4 p.m., will launch Virginia Beach’s proposed African American Cultural Center — a project that was deemed “high priority” for City Council in 2015. The city approved $75,000 in its 2017 budget for a feasibility study for the facility.

The center is slated to be at Lake Edwards Park, surrounded by six historically African-American neighborhoods, according to a press release. It would span 4.8 acres of land and include a historic walking trail, outdoor event spaces and classrooms. A 25,000 square-foot building would replicate an African Palaver Hut — a space for resolutions, celebrations and mentorship.

Saturday’s event is sponsored by the Executive Board and Advisory Committee of the African American Cultural Center, the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, The Young Audiences Arts for Learning of Virginia and the City of Virginia Beach. Webb Management Consulting Services, Livas Group Architects and Design, and WPL Landscaping are also involved with the project.

The ceremony will be at 704 Hampshire Way, at the corner of Newtown Road in Virginia Beach. It’s free and open to the public.

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