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Downtown Norfolk Council

August 2017 Newsletter

How do you build a neighborhood? What would you add? What would you change? Those are the types of questions encountered in NEON every day. The District’s committees on public art, infrastructure, events and business, along with residents, landlords, small business owners and the City of Norfolk are working together to build a resilient, safe, diverse and most of all, creative, community north of downtown. And it takes time! There have been two design charrettes for the area since 2013, as well as continuous city planning and infrastructure projects. Over the last year, NEON started to hear about the need for open greenspace, recreation activities, more interactive art and more residential amenities. Due to the limited developable sites left in the neighborhood, the focus naturally fell on to what’s called the Cofer Lot.

Located smack in the middle of the NEON District, at the corner of Olney Road and Wilson Avenue, the Cofer Lot was vacated a number of years ago when several buildings were demolished and the land was purchased by the City of Norfolk. Since then the site has sat fallow, even flooding at times. With recent improvements to Olney Road and an upcoming high profile art piece (see below), the NEON District Committee is advocating for the lot to be permanently designated as open space and transformed into a useable community hub. Work Program Architects and the Downtown Norfolk Council are hosting a public community meeting on Tuesday, September 19th from 4 to 7pm at the Hurrah Players’ Copeland Center, 112 W. Wilson Avenue. All are welcome for discussion and feedback on the future of this site and how it relates to the neighborhood. At the end of the charrette, we hope to have a set of recommendations for the lot and an implementation plan. It’s a golden opportunity to directly affect how you experience the NEON District.


Art and Rising Tides Survey

In 2016, the City of Norfolk’s Public Art Commission was honored with a National Endowment for the Arts grant to create a public art piece in NEON that addresses our continuing relationship with water and sea-level rise. Nationally-known artist Matthew Geller was hired and has now designed a giant and playful sculpture consisting of an A-frame structure with a steel canopy ‘moon roof’ above and two swings below. Visitors to the piece will be able to interact with the environment by swinging and watching water collect and drip down from the roof. See the full design here. But before the big reveal on October 20th during the NEON Festival, the Public Art Commission needs some feedback from you. The Downtown Norfolk Council and Norfolk Arts are distributing a survey to gather data on the arts district, public art and perceptions of the NEON. All results will be used for further support from the NEA. Please take a few minutes of your time to complete the online survey by September 29, 2017.

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events

  • Date Night & Sketchmageddon, Push Comedy Theater, September 1
  • The Muckrakes and The Lazy Dangers, Commune, September 1
  • Gallery Talk: Thomas Hart Benton, Chrysler Museum of Art, September 2
  • Tales from the Campfire, Push Comedy Theater, September 2
  • Kain Tayo! A Filipino Brunch, Nouvelle, September 3
  • Yoga on Tap, Bearded Bird Brewing, September 3
  • Laser Background, The Seeers, The Wimps, You're Jovian, Commune, September 3
  • Roebuck, Bearded Bird Brewing, September 3
  • Good Talk: The Brad McMurran Show, Push Comedy Theater, September 3
  • NEON District Committee Meeting, Bearded Bird Brewing, September 6
  • Tickle My Ears, Chrysler Museum of Art, September 7
  • CMA On Screen: Pilchuck, A Dance with Fire, Chrysler Museum of Art, September 9
  • The Mighty and The Metal Benefit Show for YWCA, Bearded Bird Brewing, September 9
  • Who Dunnit?, Push Comedy Theater, September 9
  • Writing Workshop & Storytelling Series, Bearded Bird Brewing, September 13
  • How the West Was Improvised & Locals Only, Push Comedy Theater, September 14
  • Flaming Heart Date Night, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, September 14
  • Opening Party: Rene Lalique, Chrysler Museum of Art, September 14
  • Lalique Inside and Out, Chrysler Museum of Art, September 15
  • Andy has Friends! & The Magical Negro, Push Comedy Theater, September 15
  • NEON Mural Tour, The Plot, September 16
  • SEE WORTHY & Trains of Thought Exhibition Opening , Glass Wheel Studio, September 16
  • Men for Hope Celebrity Weekend Extravaganza, Chrysler Hall, September 17
  • Sunday with the Oldies, Push Comedy Theater, September 17               
  • Community Open Space Charrette, Hugh R. Copeland Center, September 19
  • Third Thursday, Chrysler Museum of Art, September 21
  • From a Five-Time Grammy Winner to Holst’s The Planets, Chrysler Hall, September 23
  • Afternoon Tango, Chrysler Museum of Art, September 24
  • Norfolk Forum: Tom Brokaw, Chrysler Hall, September 26
  • Samson and Delilah, Harrison Opera House, September 29-October 3
  • Unforgettable: The Music of Nat King Cole, Chrysler Hall, September 30
  • Pumpkinpalooza, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, September 30
  • The Art of Yoga, Chrysler Museum of Art, Tuesdays in September

For more events in and around the NEON District click here.


Recent Publicity

Photos | A Day at the UniverSoul Circus, The Virginian-Pilot

Unpopucultural: Norfolk Artist Carl Medley Marries Pop Culture and Humor in Latest Work, RVA Magazine

Commune in Norfolk's NEON District Adds Live Music to the Menu, The Virginian-Pilot

Charlotte Potter Leaving the Chrysler to Focus on Family and Her Personal Art Practice, Urban Glass

15 Charming Cities in the American South You May Have Overlooked, CNN Travel

Chef Rina Estero, Hampton Roads Travelhost

Mozart Plus Purcell in the NEON: Tidewater Opera Initiative’s Season Kicks Off, AltDaily

Photos | NEON at Burning Man Nights, The Virginian-Pilot

An Ode to the Downtown Norfolk Exxon Station, May It Rest in Peace, The Virginian-Pilot

3rd Annual NEON Festival to be Held in October, AltDaily

Low Key Multi-Talented: Heidi Peelen Spreads Her Art across Norfolk, AltDaily

New Tattoo Parlor Planned for Norfolk's NEON District, Inside Business

In Assassins, Generic Theater Brings Musical on Presidential Shooters to Norfolk, The Virginian-Pilot



Property Updates

As reported last month, there’s been a buzz of activity in the 800 block of Granby. Commonwealth, a new tattoo parlor at 804 Granby Street, is on the agenda to be reviewed by the Planning Commission this September. One other business is still under wraps for 814 Granby, but the awning has been painted and a deck for outdoor dining built around the back for new restaurant Sanctuary. In other pending news, Champion Brewing Company withdrew their application to operate a microbrewery near the Chrysler Museum of Art. Nearby, you might have noticed the Exxon Pit Stop station closed at the corner of Olney and Boush, but a service station will return this winter, this time as a 7-Eleven.

It’s down to the wire as the NEON Festival is rapidly approaching, but Olney Road streetscapes should be wrapping up construction this fall. We hope to see trees planted, pedestrian lights installed, and the final phases of NEON wayfinding put into place. These blocks of Olney between Boush and Granby are important not only for the improved utilities, safety and appearance of NEON, but also because they tie a number of new art pieces to the District. From Olney Road turn onto W. Wilson Avenue and you’ll soon encounter five public art projects created specifically to beautify this stretch of NEON. Two fiber pieces on fences, a mural on a shed, a concrete wall painted and last, a large and very exciting new mural should all be complete by October 20th. Artists will be working all month long so walk by to get a first look at new art happening in NEON.


Recently in the NEON District

Art Exhibits and Performances

René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art

Glen McClure: The Shipyard Workers of Hampton Roads, Chrysler Museum of Art

Giampaolo Seguso—The Song of Glass: In the Box, Chrysler Museum of Art

Pilchuck Prints, Chrysler Museum of Art

Thomas Hart Benton and the Navy, Chrysler Museum of Art

Trains of Thought by Emily Bartelt and Navid Rahman, Glass Wheel Studio

SEE WORTHY by Jennifer Caldwell & Jason Chakravarty, Glass Wheel Studio

Getting NE ON, d’Art Center

Assassins, Generic Theater at Chrysler Hall


Date Night & Sketchmageddon!, Push Comedy Theater, August 4

Tales from the Campfire & The Pre Madonnas, Push Comedy Theater, August 5

CMA on Screen: Thomas Hart Benton, Chrysler Museum of Art, August 5

Brew Crew Homebrew Off, Bearded Bird Brewing Company, August 5

Trompe L'oeil Exhibition Opening, Glass Wheel Studio, August 5

Yoga on Tap, Bearded Bird Brewing Company, August 6

Tidewater Opera Initiative Presents: The Impresario and Dido & Aeneas Final Show, Hugh R. Copeland Center, August 6

Good Talk: The Brad McMurran Show, Push Comedy Theater, August 6

Gallery Talk: Giampaolo Seguso, Chrysler Museum of Art, August 9

Girl Prov & Teacher’s Pet, Push Comedy Theater, August 11

Who Dunnit? & Second Saturday Standup, Push Comedy Theater, August 12

Eddie B. Teacher’s Only Comedy Tour, Chrysler Hall, August 13

Third Thursday, Chrysler Museum of Art, August 17

Low Key Starved with Heidi Peelen, Push Comedy Theater, August 18

NEON Mural Tour, The Plot, August 18

The War Work That Artists Do, Chrysler Museum of Art, August 19

Engravers’ Mug Club, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, August 19

Musical Improv & TOO FAR, Push Comedy Theater, August 19

Live at Commune: Cold Beaches, Death Valley Rally, Commune, August 19

Storytelling Night: Confusion, Push Comedy Theater, August 20

Gallery Talk: Thomas Hart Benton, Chrysler Museum of Art, August 23

The Improv Riot & Harold Night, Push Comedy Theater, August 25

Last Look: Having a Ball, Chrysler Museum of Art, August 26

Glass Class: Painted Baseballs, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, August 26

Afternoon Tango, Chrysler Museum of Art, August 27

Open Mic Night, Bearded Bird Brewing, August 31


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Downtown Norfolk Council | 223 East City Hall Ave, Suite 212 | Norfolk, VA 23510