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Completed on October 14-16, 2020 Mensah Bey, along with community volunteers created the 100-foot long asphalt artwork on Bland Street near the Five Points Intersection in the Norview neighborhood in Norfolk. The asphalt artwork design inspired by West African Adinkra symbolism reflects on unity, togetherness, abundance, and cooperation.
A large hourglass shape anchors the design to symbolize changing times. As the world was affected by COVID-19 in 2020, we all dealt with shifts in our daily lives and relationships. This design, in part, acknowledges and embraces change and hopes to encourage and support the neighborhood and area businesses. Flower symbols are placed in accordance with social distancing rules for group activities, giving 10 or more feet of space between individuals if standing on each shape.
This project is supported by a grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Asphalt Art Initiative which helps cities use art and community engagement to improve street safety and revitalize public space, with funding awarded to Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia and Norfolk Arts. Three streets, one in each of the three Norfolk Police Patrol Divisions will eventually be painted. The project continues the work of the Cops and Kids Eating (CAKE) program and will offer a chance for the police to engage residents and embrace the communities where they work. The events will not only beautify and enliven neighborhoods but will increase police-community trust.