Slover Library, LL40

235 E. Plume St.

Norfolk, VA 23510

(757) 664-6854

Work in Progress

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NEA/Art and Rising Tides

Dedication! October 20th@5:30pm during Norfolk Visual Arts Month 2017 at the corner of Wilson & Olney Rd. in the NEON District at the Cofer Site.

The Norfolk Public Art Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, and the “Art and Rising Tides” planning committee selected Matthew Geller to design and create exterior artwork

The City of Norfolk received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program to hire an environmental artist to work with urban planners and community partners to design and create artwork that responds to recurrent flooding.

Norfolk is the cultural, educational, medical, and business center of the southeastern Virginia region known as Hampton Roads. The City and area is renowned for its 400 year history, major military base, and shipping port.

Waterways are part of its success and charm but are also major threats due to recurrent flooding. According to The World Resources Institute, the Hampton Roads area is experiencing the highest relative rate of sea-level rise along the entire U.S. East Coast. The area is second only to New Orleans as the largest population center in the country at risk from sea-level rise. Norfolk is especially susceptible to flooding because the tension between flood water over topping banks and coming up through storm drains during high tides and rain water falling.  Tidal flooding is often exacerbated by wind speed and direction.

Norfolk was designated one of “100 Resilient Cities,” as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative and received a grant to build and expand our ability to rebound from adversity, both natural and economic. We are a forward-thinking city that is strengthening the infrastructure and preparedness of our low-lying coastal region for the flooding challenges we face today and moving forward.

Matthew Geller is working with urban planners and community partners to design environmental public art that will address Norfolk’s relationship with water.  The artwork will be a catalyst for embracing creative solutions for adapting to sea level rise. Artist are encouraged to philosophically investigate meaningful and beautifully designed interventions to sustain livability, preserve the environment and further develop the economic vitality of our shoreline community. The final artwork will educate about Norfolk’s water challenges, foster dialog and point towards solutions.  Water will be held where it falls and slowly released before it returns to the Chesapeake Bay.  The work will be hopeful, provocative, revealing and tell the story of the water.

Take a peek at the approved design:


The committee has selected Asheville Stone Mason, Marc Archambault of Hammerhead Stoneworks to complete 5 projects for 5 new schools in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hammerhead Stoneworks was founded in spring 2009. Marc has worked as a mason, designer and project manager.  He mostly works in and around Asheville, but has done projects in Chapel Hill, NC, Rock Hill, SC, Atlanta, GA and Gainesville, FL.


Marc visited in April, 2017 with Campostella Elementary and Richard Bolling students to discuss ideas for 2 of the projects.


Artist Joshua Wiener of Boulder Colorado has been selected to create an inspiring gateway artwork that will evoke neighborhood pride, ownership and diversity. The goal of the Fairmount Park Neighborhood is to be a safe, aesthetically appealing, fiscally viable, family-oriented diverse and integrated community with excellent educational, social, recreational, and cultural opportunities, fostering a strong and diverse residential and business community with concern for ecological stewardship.  The Lafayette Gateway artwork will aspire to this goal.

PROJECT SITE: The identified site for the artwork is in the triangular median area west of an existing round-about on Lafayette Boulevard.



Church Street/Attucks project ”Ascension to a Higher State of Being



The Public Art Planning Committee has selected artist Ayokunle Odeleye to design and create artwork that will “celebrate the rich history and reflect the diversity of the cultural heritage of Church Street welcoming everyone to a place of inclusion.”  The artwork will signal a gateway, transition and connector to downtown.  The final artwork will be inspiring, stimulate thought and conversation, serve as an example of creativity, and be captivating, lively and unifying.


Ayokunle has named his project “Ascension to a Higher State of Being


Watch a video ~ Ayokunle Odeleye: 32 Years of Public Art Artist Talk


Construction has began! The final installation of Ayokunle’s approx. 30 ft. stainless steel sculpture will be in late 2017.