After a month-long search, the City of Virginia Beach’s Department of Parks & Recreation and Office of Cultural Affairs selected local artist Aimee Bruce to commission a public stairway mural at the city’s iconic Mount Trashmore. The Call to Artists initiative strives to promote the beach’s growing art community and create a unique sense of place through public visual displays.
Applicants for the stairway mural were prompted to submit an original design along with a slew of other works and documents proving artistic proficiency. When Bruce was chosen by the Public Art Selection Committee, she was awarded a $4,000 budget and strict timeline in which to complete the project.
Born in Portsmouth, raised in Virginia Beach and currently residing in Norfolk, Bruce is a true Coastal Virginia native. In addition to her day job as a studio artist at Muse Paintbar, Bruce curates original works ranging from acrylic and oil paint portraits to digital pieces and public murals.
Bruce’s stairway piece, “Helping Hands,” was initially inspired by Michelangelo’s famed “Creation of Adam.” Struck by the image of two hands reaching for one another, Bruce reflected on the role our hands play in daily interactions. “We use a lot of our hands when it comes to communication whether we’re waving at people, shaking hands or even talking with our hands, explains Bruce. “At Mount Trashmore, people are jogging, walking their dogs, kids are playing, and at some point you have to interact, even with just a smile or wave. And I feel like right now our community needs more interaction within [itself].”
She hopes that mural visitors not only pause to appreciate her work, but also pause for a moment of introspection, to question and reflect on what the image of conjoining hands means for them.
“Helping Hands” is expected to be completed by April 1 and will remain at Mount Trashmore for at least two years.