Beginning next week, the faces of four Hampton Roads women will emerge on a wall of Norfolk’s NEON District in the next installment of Lori Pratico’s “Girl Noticed” project, a national art project that asks people to pause, acknowledge and appreciate others and ourselves.
Florida-based muralist, art educator and community activist Lori Pratico founded “Girl Noticed” in 2015 and to date, 24 females in ten states have been featured in murals. Pratico’s murals are typically done in charcoal that have a temporal quality and will fade and eventually disappear, adding a sense of urgency for viewers to “notice” the mural and its subjects.
A self-taught artist, Pratico began creating murals after formal sign painting training while living in Pennsylvania. Since then, Pratico’s artwork has become not only her passion, but a powerful voice for women and girls. The catalyst for this project stems from experience as a teenager, when Pratico was ‘noticed’ and nominated The National Honor Society by a teacher – a seemingly small act of recognition deeply impacted her life.
“Most girls and women compare themselves to unrealistic norms society has put into place. We strive for perfection, and live in a constant state of I’m not good enough”, says Pratico. View the video below to see how Pratico’s murals emerge. (Editor’s note: This mural was created in my hometown.)
Norfolk’s “Girl Noticed” mural will also be temporal in nature but will be painted (rather than in charcoal) and will appear on a wall of the former Jones CPA building that is slated for demolition within the next two years for a residential project. Pratico will be putting final touches on her mural during the NEON Festival and will be available to interact with visitors as she finishes the project.
The local women chosen to be depicted on Norfolk’s mural were nominated by local non-profit organiziations and according to the “Girl Noticed.”, were chosen to be “Noticed” for their talents, strengths and character. Nominations cover a wide spectrum, from overcoming personal struggles to momentous achievements. The individual chosen represents many others like them and has brought attention to subjects such as Asperger’s Syndrome, racism, poor body image, domestic violence, education, breast cancer awareness, and LGBTQ rights. Pratico then creates their image on the wall with the words “NOTICE ME”, as part of the mural’s composition.
Pratico will be featuring the following Hampton Roads women on the NEON District’s mural.
Linder “Hollywood” Lawrence will represent the Hope House Foundation. Lawrence was chosen by Pratico for her contagious energy and enthusiasm and because she is a wonderful example of how embracing exactly who you are can make a difference in your community.
Deirdre Love and Brandy Brown were chosen to represent Teens With a Purpose. Love nominated herself and another teen in the program and was chosen for having a clear understanding that despite your struggles or what you have faced in your life, those challenges make you who you are today and your ability to overcome and survive are worth noticing.
Brown was was nominated by Shana Smith-Coleman who wrote of Brown being an extraordinary young woman who is discovering her voice and blossoming despite her shy and quiet demeanor.
The fourth person to be depicted on the mural will be Adrianne Burke. Burke is a local wellness advocate and yoga instructor who simply wanted to serve as an example to young girls and women in her community. She understands and wants viewers to notice the importance of a healthy mind and body and wants to motivate others in the community.
The Norfolk mural was made possible by a $2,500 public art grant provided by the Downtown Norfolk Council (DNC) that matches funds donated by property owners interested in having a mural on their property. Matching funds were provided by The Botetourt Apartments.
The DNC, which manages most aspects of the NEON District, has a public art committee that is very involved in selecting art and working with artists to shepherd new and interesting projects to fruition in our arts district.
“The committee felt passionately about the “Girl Noticed” mission and was interested in adding more murals by female artists to our neighborhood so it’s been a great fit. Especially since Lori was able to schedule her mural during the NEON Festival, our annual celebration of Norfolk’s arts district. We are also thrilled that she has workshops and artist talks with community groups scheduled while she is here, so the project should reach far beyond NEON,” said Rachel McCall, Special Projects Manager of the DNC.
The “Girl Noticed” project also has an educational component and provides a scholarship to an individual and donation to participating non-profit in each participating city. The recipients of the scholarship and non-profit donation will be announced during the NEON Festival next week.
During her residence in Norfolk, Practico will be a featured speaker at ODU on October 19, 12-1 p.m. to talk about the intersection of art, activism and empowerment (event link provided below). Pratico has served as Art Director of the Florida Youth Pride Coalition, an art mentorship program that provided at risk and lgbtq+ youth a safe environment to create individual and collaborative community projects.