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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

VIDEO: ODU Artists Create the City of Norfolk’s First Pier Mural Attraction

By Noell Saunders

Old Dominion University, the Elizabeth River Trail and the Nauticus Foundation joined forces to create the City of Norfolk's first pier mural.

The 3,000-square-foot splash of art, located at the Waterside District, was created by ODU art professor Richard Nickel and art alumna Aimee Bruce.

"Visitors are encouraged to walk on and along the design while interacting with each other," Bruce said. "It's similar to how the coastal currents intermingle to create collaborative waves enjoyed by all."

The mural features a boldly colored, swirling design, taking inspiration from the southern route of the Intracoastal Waterway, that was once known as "The Magenta Line." The waterway runs 3,000 miles, from Boston to the Gulf of Mexico. It's also a well-known landmark for boaters who frequently circle the Elizabeth River.

"It's a great advertisement for ODU art and it shows how we can change places for the better in the community with collaboration," Nickel said.

Stephen Kirkland, executive director at Nauticus, said the artwork represents a convergence of two goals.

"Nauticus wanted to introduce the community to the downtown urban waterfront and the Elizabeth River Trail wanted to anchor a zero-mile marker on this amazing trail," he said. "We wanted to do something bold and we couldn't be prouder of this partnership."

Nickel is an artist and educator specializing in ceramics. He has been published in several Lark books on ceramics including "500 Tiles: An Inspiring Collection of International Work Lark Books," "500 Animals in Clay," "500 Figures in Clay" and "500 Bowls." Bruce is a muralist and freelance artist in Norfolk. Bruce's work ranges from the aesthetically appealing to the politically playful in a variety of two-dimensional mediums such as pen and ink, acrylics, and oils. She recently won a mural design contest to paint the Mount Trashmore steps in Virginia Beach.

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