Murals Create Urban Magic

New murals in Williamsburg make the bland colorful.


Photo by Nicole Pollok on Unsplash

A mural brings life to a building and shows the artist imagination.

Color is very important in murals, truly makes places look better.  Artist Emma Zahren-Newman’s new mural has been completed in the parking lot for Silver Hand Meadery in Midtown row.

A well designed mural is a wonderful addition to a area can change the vibe of the entire area.

The mural titled “Flight of the Honeybee, circa. 1622,” is imagery of when European honeybees were introduced  in the year 1622 to the area. The city council approved of this mural, showing a promising future for the future of art seen in Williamsburg. Another mural recently finished across from Sal’s By Victor further underscores the rise of civic art in the area.

Zahren-Newman has had an exciting career working as a teacher at Matoaka.  She also worked at Culture Café for a short period, and worked in retail graphics as well. Ms. Zahren-Newman studied at William and Mary, majoring in Fine Arts and Elementary Education, Psychology, and English as a Second Language. She started working at Silver Hand Meadery in October of 2022. She strongly believes in clean energy and serving her community with her education background.

Ms Bahl-Moore, artist and art teacher here at LHS, has a high opinion of urban art and its impact on the community.  “Murals are a great way to liven up a dull wall or hallway and get the community excited about artwork in their local area.  As an art educator, murals allow me to teach collaboration within the art-making process. I have worked with an art club, national art honor society, and some classes to create works of art on a board, the wall, or on paper to share with the whole community in school.”

Bahl-Moore further states, “When I was a middle school art teacher, my art club would meet weekly to create murals to beautify the building.  We would hide the dull off-white wall with murals of a beach scene with palm trees, under the sea with a sunken ship, designs on doors to help students recognize the classroom areas they are supposed to go to.  Everyone in the building was excited to see the bright color in the hallways and they were excited to come to school to see what art club would do next.”

Here at LHS, the National Art Honor Society will be painting murals on Masonite boards to attach to the ramp hallway when they are finished. Their goal is to focus on diversity and represent as many people and cultures as possible.  They are painting on panels so if there was ever a renovation again, we could just take the boards down temporarily and put them back up when they are done.

Murals truly bring color to a place that normally would be bland
In the past, when LHS renovated the school three years ago, they could not save the murals on the walls of the ramp because of the space.  NAHS has completed two replacement mural panels so far, but they are hoping to have more ready this year to start placing on the wall this summer. Art around the building makes the space more welcoming and inviting to all who attend.   It enhances the learning environment.
The same is true for art locally, throughout out the state, and world.  Ms. Bahl-Moore believes art is an important element of society, no matter at what level.  “Art leaves an impact. It gives the community a sense of pride for the artwork on the side of the building. People travel around to see the murals, especially in Richmond and VA beach.  It is nice to see Williamsburg embracing the ideas of murals in outdoor space to make tourists and locals traveling around town trip more exciting.  It makes someone’s vacation more memorable when they see murals around a town.”

A new mural was proposed in 2021 in Midtown Row, and now there is a effort to have more murals.  One has was completed in November of this year: a painting of a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, the state butterfly of Virginia. Silas Baker, a tattoo artist who is branching out into fine arts as a career, created the mural. The next mural is planed for the Food Lion wall.

For those wishing to submit their own designs, the submissions deadline has passed, but there is hope for further opportunities for ambitious local artists.