Artists wanted for NEON District project


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Downtown Norfolk Council is looking for artists for a project to brighten up a vacant space in the city’s art district.

Rachel McCall, who is the director of strategic initiatives for the organization, says there’s an open call for 20 artists to submit designs for a vinyl banner that will hang around the vacant Greyhound bus station.

“It kinda gave us this blank beautiful canvas and the city was generous to say ‘You can put up any kind of vinyl banners you want on the fence.’ We thought this would give an opportunity to 20 artists to display their work in a unique way,” she said. “It’s super visible. There’s over 40,000 cars that go by this site every day. It’s a way for artists to get their name out there.”

McCall says they usually work on murals and work with about four artists for those projects. This will give more artists the opportunity to showcase their work, according to McCall.

The banner will go up in April and will be up between six and 12 months.

The site was to be the location of a culinary arts and hospitality center for Tidewater Community College, as reported by 10 On Your Side in 2018.

10 On Your Side reached out to the city to see if that project is still in the place but was told to contact TCC. We have not heard back from TCC.

McCall says the banner can be up longer if need be. She believes it’s a great place for up-and-coming artists to get their feet wet in the local scene.

“This is a really good opportunity for an artist that doesn’t have the skillset to create a mural. Murals are a ton of work. It’s a whole big wall. It’s tons of materials to purchase,” she said.

McCall says the submissions need to be digital but they can be digital photos of art, sculptures, digital art or anything creative.

“There’s a little bit of a blank spot and we thought we could get folks to cross the street and get them walking between the two neighborhoods of downtown,” she said about why the project is important.

The Downtown Norfolk Council works to promote the area. McCall says the Neon District is an essential part of downtown.

“If you don’t have that art scene, you’re really missing something,” she said.

McCall says arts is important to Norfolk’s economy and soon the Neon District will continue to grow.

They’re planning on more murals later this year and hope to bring back the Neon Festival this year.

McCall says they’re also in the design phase of a “streetscape” project to improve sidewalks, lighting, and vegetation, which should start construction in a couple of years.

These improvements were driven by the increase of residents that will soon be within walking distance of the district. McCall says over the next four years, they’re expecting 600 to 700 residents living in four new apartment buildings.

As for the banner project,the deadline to apply is Sunday, March 21st at 11:59 p.m. It costs $10 to apply but those chosen will get a $100 stipend.

To apply, click here.

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