The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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The impulse of human creation youth art takes to district

Nuenz’s mural, “Lead with Love” rests on the fences of the ViBe district. Photo used with permission from Ceindy Nunez.

“Art is one of the most beautiful universal languages. Although different places across the Earth produce their unique masterpieces, creativity is common across all cultures,” said senior Elizabeth Tucker.

Each March, Youth Art Month is celebrated nationwide. 

Home to the creative ViBe District established in 2015, Virginia Beach attracts 13.6 million tourists a year, according to

“Artists from all over the city use streets and walls of local business buildings as an open canvas to display murals and public artwork,” said junior Kalgi Mehta. “These local artworks make Virginia Beach so special because they add a pop of color to the neighborhoods while supporting local artists.” 

2009 Ocean Lakes graduate and graphic designer, Ceindy Nunez, created a fence mural in 2019 called “Lead with Love,” which can be found in the 18th StreetParklet of the ViBe District. Last year, Nunez was chosen to paint a mural, “Better Together,” inside Rosemont Elementary, to which she humbly accepted. 

“Graphic design is a perfect blend of art and problem solving, which I very much enjoy. I also love making cool things and telling stories through a visual medium,” said Nunez.

Although Nunez’s time at Ocean Lakes has passed, her artworks present as inspiration for younger artists like Kalgi, who is the president of the Ocean Lakes Art Club.

“Ceindy’s work is inspirational. It motivates artists to make art that leaves a positive impact on others,” said Kalgi.

According to Kalgi, the goal of the art club is to create a safe space for students to express their creativity and give back to the community. 

“In the modern world, individualism is heavily favored. Art connects me to the community by serving as a source of unity,” said Kalgi. 

Senior art student Elizabeth Tucker agrees that art acts as an invisible string that unites individuals. 

“Artistic creativity is an inherently intimate thing; it brings people together. Sharing personal inspiration through art forms deep, unique connections,” said Elizabeth.  

Tucker serves her community with her passion for art by drawing caricatures for Ocean Lakes students. She also contributes to team mural projects, designs logos and shirts for organizations and works as a florist to deliver artistic arrangements during weddings.

“Art is a treasure, and we should treat it as such. By preserving creative masterpieces in an age of AI, we can savor raw, inspiring creativity that may inform the work of generations to come,” said Elizabeth.

In November, Elizabeth placed second in the HRRA Art Competition, in which she was awarded $150.

The community of like-minded individuals who share a love for art continues to grow throughout the school. Following art teacher Christopher Heidt’s arrival at Ocean Lakes in 2021, he created the first digital art class in Virginia Beach, which he began teaching during the 2022-23 school year.

“It makes it exciting for students because, in this world, everything is digital. They are looking for a way to apply what they’ve learned in art foundations and over the years into something they can relate to,” said Heidt.

In this 4×4 digital art class, students utilize the 25 iMacs and Adobe Creative Suite software provided by the city to create unique products of their choice, some of which include movie posters. 

As art progresses and digital mediums grow, students continue to challenge themselves in unique ways. 

According to the Executive Director of the ViBe District Kate Pittman, VBCPS and the ViBe District often collaborate to offer opportunities for young artists to showcase their skills.

Students are invited to follow Nunez’s footsteps in creating a community fence mural from January to April. Additionally, the ViBe District partners with VB Schools for The Art of Humanity poster and poetry contest in honor of the Season for Nonviolence, in which the 40 winning artworks are displayed in the ViBe from Jan. 30 to April 4. 

Most recently, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art joined with the ViBe District and VB Schools to host its annual art show for Youth Art Month. According to art teacher Lindsay Roberts, Junior Caylin Franklin took an unconventional approach when creating a duck sculpture out of pipe cleaners.

“It can be difficult to create movement within a sculpture, but she achieved just that by adding the splash,” said Roberts.

Caylin’s project was the accumulation of 40 hours of work over three weeks.

“Creativity is one of the most sought-after, yet hardest skills to measure. Here in Virginia Beach, the largest city in the Commonwealth, creativity gives entrepreneurs and artists an edge over their competitors,” said Pittman. “Creativity breeds creativity.”

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About the Contributor
Khadija Sissoko
Khadija Sissoko, Editor-in-Chief
Khadija Sissoko is a second-year journalist and Editor-in-Chief of The Current. As a middle child of six, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. She is the SCA Secretary, FBLA President, Latin Honor Society Editor, Founder of the Cultural Appreciation Club and a year-round athlete on the cross country and track team. Outside of school, she enjoys baking, graphic design, volunteering and spending time in nature. In the future, she hopes to become an entrepreneur.

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