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Italian artist Pepe Gaka's Rudee Inlet Loop murals create a stained glass look; honored by Ameri


The Americans for the Arts Public Art Network's Year in Review has recognized "Seashore Cathedral" as one of the 50 most compelling public artworks from across the country and beyond.

Hundreds of project applications were reviewed by public art experts and 50 were selected that highlight excellence, trends and accomplishments in public art. The selected artworks were presented during the Americans for the Arts Annual Public Art Preconference and Main Convention in Minneapolis.

The work was designed and painted by international artist, Giuseppe Percivati, also known as, Pepe Gaka, in May of 2018. Born in Italy, he comes from a family of artists. His grandfather is also a painter, while his father and sister are musicians. His work can be seen in Italy, the U.K., Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S.A.

"I want to create the idea that the whole underpass, in the area of the columns, is made of stained glass, giving lightness and brightness to the atmosphere," said Pepe Gaka. (Courtesy photo.)

The mural's geometric style gives the impression of stained glass on the Rudee Bridge Underpass Walkway and each column represents a unique aspect of Virginia Beach.

"I want to create the idea that the whole underpass, in the area of the columns, is made of stained glass, giving lightness and brightness to the atmosphere," he said.

On the back wall, the artist pays homage to Paul DiPasquale's iconic statue, "King Neptune," that can be seen at Neptune's Park at 31st Street at the Oceanfront.

Rudee Loop has long been a busy hub for everything from fishing charters and Jet Ski rentals to parasailing and waterside dining. It became increasingly pedestrian-friendly with the addition of Rudee Walk in 2014, a pathway that connects to the southern-most end of the Boardwalk; it is now becoming a popular arts destination, too. In December 2018, the placemaking sculpture, "World Below the Brine," by WP Architects and Piece of Cake Productions, was unveiled, and now casts colorful reflections on Rudee Loop visitors day and night. This summer, Aimee Bruce's "Prismatic Play," a mural chosen through a public vote, will be painted on the wall surrounding the lot of the old Ocean Side Inn.

On the back wall, the artist pays homage to Paul DiPasquale's iconic statue, "King Neptune," that can be seen at Neptune's Park at 31st Street at the Oceanfront. (Courtesy image.)

"The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate and illuminate," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns and communities we inhabit and visit. As these selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come."

The PAN Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects and is an excellent advocacy and educational tool for public art administrators, artists and allied professionals, added Lynch.

For more information about Virginia Beach's Public art program, visit www.vbpublicart.org.

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