Get ready to see some ‘heroes’ around your community

Two "Community Heroes" portraits, side-by-side: Jason Winston George, left, is an actor on the Emmy Award-winning TV series "Grey's Anatomy." John Richard Logan Perry, right, was the first African-American to serve on Virginia Beach City Council in 1986. (Southside Daily photo/ Courtesy of artists Devaughn Kennedy, Alexa Marshall, Samiya Fenner, and Sarissa Bryant)
Two “Community Heroes” portraits side-by-side: Jason Winston George, left, is an actor on the Emmy Award-winning TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.” John Richard Logan Perry, right, was the first African-American on Virginia Beach City Council. (Southside Daily photo/ Courtesy of artists Devaughn Kennedy, Alexa Marshall, Samiya Fenner, and Sarissa Bryant)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A new public art project, “Community Heroes,” is now gracing the walls of Hampton Roads businesses, libraries, and schools in guerrilla art-style displays.

The city’s office of cultural affairs, in partnership with the African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach, partnered to bring the exhibition to life, which features portraits of 17 African-American heroes from Virginia Beach, according to a news release from the city.

The poster exhibit is “meant to catch people unexpectedly in the course of their day-to-day routines.”

Each poster displays a QR code, which can be scanned with a smartphone to get more information on the subject and artist. The heroes depicted in the posters include educators, community advocates, war heroes, actors and more, according to the news release.

The "Community Heroes" portrait of Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, former Virginia Beach city councilwoman and founder of the African American Cultural Center (Southside Daily photo/ Courtesy of artists Jeremiah Thomas and Ellie Barnum)
The “Community Heroes” portrait of Amelia Ross-Hammond, former Virginia Beach city councilwoman and founder of the African American Cultural Center (Southside Daily photo/ Courtesy of artists Jeremiah Thomas and Ellie Barnum)

Amelia Ross-Hammond, former Virginia Beach councilwoman and founder of the African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach, is one of the portrait subjects. She believes this project “will create excitement about the forthcoming African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach while educating the public on some of our local heroes.”

The center will be the regional leader in generating historical and cultural content through programs, artistic performances and curated exhibits.

The artists behind this project are art students under the direction of local instructors; Jessica Van Veenhuyzen  from Cox High School, Richard Nickel from Old Dominion University and Christopher Revels from Young Audiences of Virginia. Local high school students selected and researched a local hero, created a linocut portrait, and wrote the heroes’ biographies found with the QR code.

Residents can find the poster locations using this map of all 17 heroes.

The exhibit will be on display through the end of February.

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