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Downtown Norfolk Council

October 2015 Newsletter

What to say about the NEON Festival that hasn’t already been said? The press, the crowds of visitors, the volunteers, the staff, the local businesses – it seems like NEON was all anyone could talk about these past few weeks in the Arts District. The energy was palpable leading up to the festival and a magical feeling pervaded both evenings. With a full performance schedule and a long list of public art posted in the days before, visitors could create their own meandering path through the district.

The NEON Festival began late Thursday afternoon on October 15th with an official public art unveiling and ended Friday evening with a rousing dance party. What filled the hours in between was truly a special time for the arts district community--the supporters who have been involved since Better Block and those art fans just discovering the neighborhood. The festival opened up the area between Granby Street and the Chrysler Museum to families, residents, bikers, walkers, performers, artists, poets, and a whole host of others heading towards the light.

Thursday evening Chrysler Museum’s campus was flooded with neon light and Third Thursday guests visiting the outside beer garden, watching performances in Huber Court and taking in live glass blowing at the Glass Studio. At the Plot, Virginia Stage Company produced family-friendly entertainment and Skye Zentz performed under twinkling lights. Nearby, glow yoga filled Harrison Opera House’s lawn with more than 100 neon-bedecked yoga enthusiasts. Friday night was ominous with rain but as the festival kicked off at 5 the skies cleared and the streets opened to all. Olney Road became a stop on everyone’s walk with O’Connor’s beer garden and Glass Wheel Studio lighting the way. Live music was heard everywhere, from Zumba in the street to Zeke’s back patio. As the night wound down, festival goers migrated indoors for more festivities at Work | Release and the Parlor, but the neon lights stayed on, inviting everyone to come again.


Thank You

The NEON Festival was only possible through the significant contributions from a few special organizations. It was truly a combined effort, with major time spent planning and executing by the Downtown Norfolk Council, Virginia Arts Festival, Chrysler Museum of Art, Virginia Stage Company, AltDaily and the City of Norfolk. But there are a few select groups that pushed the NEON Festival further than we could have hoped.

Business Consortium for Arts Support stepped in and provided the means to create a number of dynamic art projects and has been a valuable cheerleader for continuing development of the Arts District. The Virginian-Pilot has been not only a kind neighbor and resident of the Arts District, but an essential voice speaking to the region about Norfolk’s art scene. For listening to what the community wanted and then creating a face for the NEON District, Sway Creative Labs deserves all the credit for making NEON recognizable. Virginia Opera literally transformed the Arts District in a few short days into a colorful, glowing and safe neighborhood. O’Connor Brewing Company was able to step in and convert an empty lot into a lively, fun beer garden. No one person could have done what these organizations and their amazing staff did for the NEON Festival and we are eternally grateful.

And a special thank you needs to be said to those that donated at the NEON Festival’s April fundraiser. Way back in the spring, 3D murals and neon triangles and intersection designs were just ideas and loose plans. Thank you to our donors for believing in that vision and adding to the tremendous public art now on view for all to see in the NEON District.

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events

  • Gallery Talk by Jeff Harrison on Serial Thrillers, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 31
  • Monster’s Ball, Work | Release, October 31
  • Time Warp Masquerade Party, The Parlor on Granby, October 31
  • Artist Talk: Kota Ezawa, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 1
  • Arts District Committee Meeting, November 4
  • Tickle My Ears, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 5
  • Artist Lecture Series: Jack Wax, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, November 6
  • A Salute to Service, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 7
  • Icons Then and Now Gallery Talk, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 8
  • In Concert: The Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 8
  • Iconic Mosaic Workshop, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, November 14
  • Free Fall Family Day, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 14
  • Futurebirds with Susto, The Parlor on Granby, November 14
  • Tell Me More… Storytelling Nights: Family, Push Comedy Theater, November 15
  • Norfolk Society of Arts Lecture: Georgia O’Keefe, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 18
  • Windows to Heaven Gallery Talk, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 18
  • Third Thursday, Chrysler Museum of Art, November 19
  • Glass Studio Sale, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, November 21-22
  • Major and the Monbacks, Work | Release, November 25
  • The Art of Yoga, Chrysler Museum of Art, Tuesdays in November

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


Recent Publicity

A Google Map of Public Art in the NEON District, AltDaily

New Energy Force: A NEON Murals Timelapse, AltDaily

Yoga Meets Street Art in the NEON District, Living Soulfull

Sky Blue Sky: John Rudel and His VWC Students Create for the NEON Festival, AltDaily

Capsule Concern at the Chrysler Museum, Art Fuse

Friday Featured Artist: Charles Rasputin, AltDaily

Work Release Drizzles the Hype Again, AltDaily

Art Matters: 2nd Annual Norfolk Visual Arts Week, AltDaily

Volunteers Paint Norfolk Intersection for the NEON Festival, The Virginian-Pilot

Open Letter to the NEON Artists, AltDaily

To NEON, with Love and Regret, AltDaily

Extra, Extra Art’s All About It: VA Pilot Readers Turn Newspaper Boxes into Art, AltDaily

NEON Arts District Pumps New Life into Downtown Norfolk, WAVY

Norfolk Nautical: A Colorful Collaboration at the Entrance of the NEON, AltDaily

Doppelganging Video Art Show Opening This Weekend, AltDaily

NEON Playlist by LAVA Music Festival, AltDaily

Norfolk Visual Arts Week Returns, Inside Business

NEON Virtual Walking Tour, The Virginian-Pilot

The Art of Collaboration: Virginia Arts Festival’s Kelly Harlan & NEON Friends, AltDaily

Norfolk’s New Arts District Holds Its Coming Out Party, The Virginian-Pilot

Intersection of Beautiful Things: Business Consortium for the Arts Makes Ground-Altering Art Happen, AltDaily

Christianity, Porn and Chaos: The Inspirations of Michael Scott Younger III, AltDaily

Support D'Art Center at The NEON Festival, AltDaily

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Glows NEON: Startup Night, presented by Hatch and Dominion Enterprises, AltDaily

Norfolk’s NEON Festival Showcases City’s Public Art, WGNT

NEON Festival Makes a Colorful Debut, The Virginian-Pilot

Then and Now: Photos of Norfolk’s Arts District, The Virginian-Pilot

Like Seeing Color for the Very First Time: NEON Festival Cheat Sheet, AltDaily

Mini Doc: Past, Present & Future of The NEON District, AltDaily

Laugh Until You Die: The 666 Project at the Push Comedy Theater, AltDaily

Celebrate Everyday: The NEON Festival, Living Soulfull

Norfolk Arts District Murals, Set to Music, AltDaily

NEON at Night: A Photoem Series, AltDaily

ODU Artistic Influence a Vibrant Part of City’s New NEON District, Inside ODU

NEON Festival Illuminates Arts District, NorfolkTV

NEON Festival Celebrates the Norfolk Art Scene, Mace & Crown

New Mural in NEON District Inspires Imagination, Mace & Crown

The Night the Lights Went on in Norfolk, AltDaily

Bravo: "Opera Tales" at Harrison Opera House, AltDaily

Mickael Broth and Barf Comics Collaborate to Create 'Widow's Walk' Mural in Norfolk Arts District, RVA Mag


Property Updates

After a mad dash to complete projects before the NEON Festival, art is now everywhere in the district. Since September, a number of murals, small paint projects and a neon installation were finished on Magazine Lane. It’s a not-to-be-missed spot on any tour of the Arts District.

Speaking of, a good place to start your tour would be the corner of Granby Street and Olney Road. The City of Norfolk’s newest Public Art Commission, Cementiscope, was unveiled October 15th to kick off the festival. The hybrid cement mixer-kaleidoscope-light project by art collaborative Glassitorium is a fantastical work of art that elevates the entire neighborhood.

Beyond art installations, property improvements have been steadily on the rise. Glass Wheel Studio is nearing completion and should open its doors to the public in mid-November. Already beckoning visitors with a world-class mural by HENSE, exterior neon work by Hannah Kirkpatrick and glass art in the atrium by Robin Rogers, the studio promises to be a major arts destination and an anchor of the NEON District.


Recently in the Arts District

Art Exhibits and Performances

Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russia, Chrysler Museum of Art

Serial Thrillers: The Lure of Old Master Print Series, Chrysler Museum of Art

In the Box: Kota Ezawa, Chrysler Museum of Art

Georgia O’Keefe: A Place of Her Own, Chrysler Museum of Art

Gustav Klimt: Baby (Cradle), Chrysler Museum of Art

Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera, Chrysler Museum of Art

Beverly Fishman: In Sickness and In Health, Chrysler Museum of Art

Doppelgänging, Work | Release

La Boheme, Harrison Opera House

Enigma Variations, Chrysler Hall

PRIZM, Okay Spark Gallery

Visual Distinctions with the d’Art Center, Kellam Galleries


La Boheme Unplugged, Work | Release, October 1

Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russia Opening, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 1

The Seeers, Mas y Mas, Jacques le Coque, Work | Release, October 1

ELBY Brass Band, Work | Release, October 3

Priscilla Lynch Launch Party, Work | Release, October 8

DJP and Mr T with BUHU, The Parlor, October 9

So Far Gone (Drake Night), Work | Release, October 10

Lecture: My Life as an Art Soldier in Mao’s China, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 10

Flowers & Friends with Nicky Markslag, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 11-16

Third Thursday: NEON Festival, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 15

NEON Festival Happy Hour & Chrysler Third Thursday After Party, Work | Release, October 15

The NEON Festival, October 15-16

Visiting Artist Series 2015: Tom Moore, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, October 15-18

Doppelgänging Exhibition Opening Night, Work | Release, October 16

Doppelgänging artist Rachel Mason Performance, Work | Release, October 17

DRAWtoberfest, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 17

Norfolk Society of Arts Lecture: The Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 21

Nate Sacks, Work | Release, October 22

Doppelgänging Artist Brian Bress Artist Talk, Work | Release, October 23

Paints and Dragons, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 24

Breaking Bread, Johnny Breaker, Work | Release, October 24

The 666 Project: A Horror Anthology Show, Push Comedy Theater, October 26-31

Helado Negro with Thomas Wincek and Caverns, The Parlor on Granby, October 24

Like a Virgin Debut Sketch Comedy Show, Push Comedy Theater, October 25

Harold Night, Push Comedy Theater, October 30

Halloween, the Chrysler Way, Chrysler Museum of Art, October 30-31


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