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Downtown Norfolk Council

December 2017 Newsletter

As the year comes to close, we have an exciting announcement for 2018: Downtown’s lighted arches will continue into the NEON District! In the initial phase of the project, completed in the spring of 2016, ten arches between 300 and 500 feet apart were constructed to span Granby Street in a nod to the original historic lighting in place from 1909 to 1925. The lights are composed of 42-foot stainless steel cables connected to 24-foot light poles on either side of the street with 40 bulbs on each cable. The arch lights have done much to reinvigorate Granby Street and bring back a nostalgic, welcoming feel to downtown. As was always intended, the funding is now in place to continue the lighting across Brambleton Avenue, further connecting NEON to the rest of downtown.

The contractor is scheduled to start phase two of Granby Street lighting on January 1, 2018 with an estimated completion by the middle of March 2018. The project entails installing arches at three locations from Brambleton Avenue to Olney Road in the 700 block of Granby Street. The lighting is made possible by the Downtown Improvement District’s taxes that are paid by downtown property owners. At a future phase, funding will allow for the construction of three remaining arches from Olney Road to Virginia Beach Boulevard, completing the full set of lights over Granby. Please follow along here for regular construction updates.



Year in Review

2017 was another interesting year in the NEON District, with hits and misses in an ever-evolving landscape. Before you settle in for the next ride, let’s take a peek in the rear view mirror:

  • 10 new public art pieces and murals added to the district from national, regional and local artists
  • New and recurring events like the Glow Ride, Burning Man Nights at the Hermitage Museum & Gardens, the third NEON Festival, and the NEON Holiday Market
  • Chrysler Museum and Glass Studio hosted the international 2017 Glass Art Society Conference, bringing more than 1,000 art collectors, artists and students to NEON
  • Successful seasons for the Virginia Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, Broadway in Norfolk, Generic Theater, and Virginia Symphony Orchestra at Harrison Opera House and Chrysler Hall
  • 4 new businesses opened (Bearded Bird Brewing Co., Commonwealth Tattoo Gallery, Commune, Jhane’s Sweet Lounge), 1 business opened a second location (Hurrah Players’ Hugh R. Copeland Center) and 4 more businesses are planned to launch in 2018 (Cardinal Skate Shop, Culture, Sanctuary, Unplugged)
  • Improvements to the Granby Street and Brambleton Avenue intersection began with new traffic signals, decorative crosswalks and a pedestrian island
  • New pedestrian wayfinding system installed with custom fabricated metal signage, a glass trail in the sidewalk and plans for a rotating neon sign
  • Olney Road streetscape enhanced with street lamps, new sidewalks, benches, bike racks, extended tree pits and fresh asphalt

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events

  • New Year's Day Yoga, Bearded Bird Brewing, January 1
  • NEON District Committee Meeting, Hugh R. Copeland Center, January 3
  • Gallery Talk: Picturing Innovation, Chrysler Museum of Art, January 3
  • Tickle My Ears, Chrysler Museum of Art, January 4
  • Auditions: Panties in a Twist VII, Push Comedy Theater, January 4-7
  • Shen Yun, Chrysler Museum of Art, January 6
  • Good Talk: The Brad McMurran Show, Push Comedy Theater, January 7
  • It’s Alive Opening Reception, d’Art Center, January 11
  • Flaming Heart Date Night, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, January 11
  • Jack Goes Boating, Generic Theater at Chrysler Hall, January 12-February 18
  • Engravers’ Mug Club, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, January 13
  • René Lalique, Artistic Genius and Talented Industrialist, Chrysler Museum of Art, January 13
  • Who Dunnit?, Push Comedy Theater, January 13
  • Third Thursday, Chrysler Museum of Art, January 18
  • VSO: A Roman Holiday, Chrysler Hall, January 20
  • Scope on Ice, Scope, January 21
  • Les Misérables, Chrysler Hall, January 23-28
  • Norfolk Society of Arts Lecture: Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., Chrysler Museum of Art, January 24
  • Afternoon Tango, Chrysler Museum of Art, January 28
  • The Art of Yoga, Chrysler Museum of Art, Tuesdays in January

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


Recent Publicity

Pop Up Farm Market this Saturday at Commune NFK, AltDaily

Discussion Series Takes Look at Hampton Roads' Business Districts, Inside Business

Chamber of Culture, Inside Business Quarterly

Ageless Janet Jackson, Who Inspired Today's Biggest Pop Icons, Is Coming to Norfolk, The Virginian-Pilot

Together Again: Janet Jackson Is in Town this Week, AltDaily

A Worldwide Favorite and a Particular Favorite of Norfolk, Sound of Music, Is Back, The Virginian-Pilot

Behind the Scenes with Curators at Chrysler Museum, The Virginian-Pilot

About Last Night: Janet Jackson at Scope, AltDaily

Virginia Symphony Orchestra to Present The Music of Star Wars, AltDaily

Visual Arts Center to NEON Makes Sense at Portsmouth’s Expense, VEER Magazine



Property Updates

Commonwealth Tattoo Gallery is officially open for business at 804 Granby Street. Make an appointment on the ground floor parlor space and then head upstairs for ink. Welcome to the neighborhood guys! Just a few doors down from Commonwealth, at 814 Granby, new restaurant and bar Culture is on the January Planning Commission agenda for a review of their special exception permit.

In other end of year bits and bobs, the Museum Apartments are almost completely framed with the roof to be completed after the holidays. The 4-story, 48-unit, apartment building on Virginia Beach Boulevard should be fully complete in April. There’s an open call for fiber artists at d’Art Center going on now until January 24. And lastly, looking for a new job in 2018? Commune’s Norfolk location in the Texaco Building is hiring.


Recently in the NEON District

Art Exhibits and Performances

Multiple Modernisms, Chrysler Museum of Art

René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art

Picturing Innovation: The First 100 Years at NASA Langley, Chrysler Museum of Art

In the Box: Elena Damiani’s Dust Tail, Chrysler Museum of Art

Root and Flower, Chrysler Museum of Art

ACT TWO, Glass Wheel Studio

Vonnie Whitworth: People, Places and Things, d’Art Center

It’s Alive, d’Art Center

The Sound of Music, Chrysler Hall

The Nutcracker, Chrysler Hall

Dirty Dancing, Chrysler Hall

The Girl of the Golden West, Harrison Opera House


The Comedy Get Down, Scope, December 1

Holiday Happy Hour, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, December 1

Gifted Holiday Sale Opening Reception, d’Art Center, December 2

Members’ Appreciation Sale, Chrysler Museum of Art, December 2-3

Yoga on Tap, Bearded Bird Brewing, December 3

NEON Holiday Market, Hugh R. Copeland Center, December 9

Holiday POPS!, Chrysler Hall, December 9

Mouthfeel: Storytellers Series, Bearded Bird Brewing, December 13

Janet Jackson, Scope, December 14

Handel’s Messiah, Harrison Opera House, December 16

Stories with Santa, Push Comedy Theater, December 16-22

Storytelling Night: Destiny, Push Comedy Theater, December 17

Martina McBride, Chrysler Hall, December 20

Holiday Grab Bag, Push Comedy Theater, December 22

Pop-up Farmer's Market, Commune, December 23

A Very Pushers Christmas, Push Comedy Theater, December 23

Holly Jolly Mingle & Jingle, Bearded Bird Brewing & Jhane’s Sweet Lounge, December 24

The Pushie Awards Show, Push Comedy Theater, December 31


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