VIRGINIA BEACH — The Samaritan House wants to paint the ViBe District purple.
Well, not the entire arts district, just one wall.
The Samaritan House, which serves victims of violence across Hampton Roads in its 12 emergency shelters, recently put out a call for artists and will fund a mural on the east-facing wall of the building that houses Superior Pawn and The Annex at 529 Virginia Beach Blvd.
The deadline for submissions from artists is Sept. 12. The winning design will be selected on the Sept. 17 and work will begin on Oct. 1. The goal is to have the mural completed on Oct. 15 and to hold an official unveiling on Oct. 17.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a cause represented by the color purple,” said Eva Fuze, marketing and events coordinator for the Samaritan House. “In 2017, we began a grassroots movement to invite local Hampton Roads businesses to partner with Samaritan House in our awareness and fundraising efforts.”
The overarching mission, she said, is to eliminate domestic violence in the community, while leveraging the relationships these businesses have built with their customer base.
Fuze said Jesse Scaccia, who played an integral role in the creation of Norfolk’s NEON district, put her in touch with Kate Pittman, executive director of Virginia Beach’s ViBe District. After some discussions and some investigation, Megan Hogan, owner of The Annex, and Amy Longacher, owner of Superior Pawn and owner of the building that both businesses are in, agreed to donate their wall to the cause.
“Together, we dreamed up a vision of a mural that is not only beautiful and eye-catching, but is also a symbol of hope and resilience for survivors of domestic violence,” Fuze said. “Incorporating the 24-hour Coordinated Crisis Response Hotline (757-251-0144) in the artwork as a resource for those currently experiencing violence is something truly unique and special about this project.”
The vision for the mural, Fuze said, is that of a strong, powerful survivor of domestic violence.
“We envision a maternal figure, protecting her children from violence they have experienced, but we intentionally are leaving the rest of the theme up to interpretation and we are excited to see what local artists come up with,” she said, adding that they also want to acknowledge that men too are victims of domestic violence, but that the theme for the mural is simply the most accurate representation of the majority of domestic violence victims.
Hogan said she was happy to donate the outside wall of her business.
“The neighborhood has so many amazing murals that add to the ViBe experience, and I’m really proud to provide a space for one that stands for something so meaningful,” she said.
Area businesses can participate through sponsorship opportunities and will receive recognition on a plaque that will be placed by the finished mural.
Each year the Samaritan House:
- Provides emergency housing to 272 individuals (65 percent of them being children)
- Provides victim advocacy for 600 people
- Provides counseling, art and play therapy, and related support services to 275 children
- Provides case management/support for 400 adults and children
Nationwide, one-in-three women have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, while that number is one-in-four for male victims.