Wander through the neighborhood and discover tiny art happenings, large-scale murals and pops of neon color and light. See works on walls by celebrated international artists like Matthew McGuiness, and local heroes like Hanna Kirby and Carl Medley III.
Gourmandizing NEON: Investigating Norfolk's Historic Menus During Lunchtime
Matthew McGuiness and Governor’s School for the Arts Students, 2022
The Governor’s School for the Arts hosted a series of workshops with London-based artist Matthew McGuiness for six weeks in the spring of 2022 working with visual arts students to research the theme, "A History of Lunchtime in Norfolk".
In these workshops, Matthew and the Gourmandizing team encouraged and directed the students towards desk and field research that culminated in a range of historical content, contemporary stories, sentimental quips and anecdotes pertaining to lunch. Matthew helped the students make sense of the story and uncover and synthesize their findings into artwork. In the fall of 2022, these individual pieces were woven together into a mural in the NEON District (painted by Matthew and the students) and a zine that illustrates the student body's findings, process and final makings. Click here to read more about Gourmandizing projects.
Located on the side of a longstanding family-owned business in the NEON, the Virginia Furniture Company at 745 Granby Street, the mural is aesthetically pleasing and informative, with images of food and ingredients from local cuisine. The mural is presented by The Monument Companies and Legend Property Group with support from PRA Group and The Governor’s School for the Arts Foundation.
Ghent Grab & Go Mural
Victoria Jensen and Asiko-oluwa Aderin, 2022
Two Fine Art students from Norfolk State University were selected for a large-scale mural at the northern gateway into the NEON neighborhood, on the rear wall of Ghent Grab & Go and Golden Fortune Chinese. Asiko-oluwa Aderin is an undergraduate student in NSU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program, with a concentration in Graphic Design. Her works, expressed through digital and acrylic media, focus on appreciating black aesthetics and embracing one’s cultural heritage. Victoria Jensen is a graduate student in NSU’s Master of Fine Arts program, specializing in a variety of digital and traditional media that explores her Dominican and European heritage through food.
Their design illustrates the warm feelings that food and the creation of evoke within an individual. The mural reimagines realistic ingredients in a graphic flare that highlights the movement of each food item, visualizing their energy. The mural is presented by The Royal Team and Larandon’s Homes.
Hanna Kirby, 2022
Virginia Beach artist Hanna Kirby was selected to create a new mural design for the rotating art space on the rear of a NEON District billboard. An illustrator, graphic designer, painter, chef, exhibition designer and muralist, Hanna holds an B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Painting and Printmaking. “Pink Neon” was inspired by the vibrancy of the NEON District. The patchwork design and vintage style antique lightbulbs represent the history and individuality of the area. See more of Hanna's work here.
NEON Wayfinding Posters
Julian Haskins, Ray Johnson, Carl Medley III and Mike Watts, 2022
In 2017, Work Program Architects, Downtown Norfolk Council and Sway Creative Labs joined forces to create an artistic sign package for NEON that included pedestrian signs, gateway fixtures and sidewalk "breadcrumbs" to lead visitors around the neighborhood. Two custom fabricated steel signs were placed on Olney Road and Grace Street with attraction listings and windows designed to display local artists' work, rotating out every other year. The 2022 signs feature works by Carl Medley III, Ray Johnson, Julian Haskins and Mike Watts.
801 Window Gallery
Norfolk Public School Elementary Students, 2022
Norfolk Public Schools and the NEON District collaborated with the condo owners of the Grey Building to create a rotating window gallery space, providing young artists in grades Kindergarten through 12 a place to exhibit their works in the community. NPS art students are passionate and NPS teachers work tirelessly to train and hone all of the students’ unique art styles. They all welcome the opportunity to celebrate the artistic achievements of all of the young scholars. NPS’ hardworking, dedicated students earned the illumination of their labor, so let’s all shine a light on them, as they are our future.