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The Public Art Planning Committee selected Don Kennell to design and create artwork that “signals Norfolk as a friendly and welcoming city. The site-specific artwork was to creatively stimulate thought and conversation, be relevant to Norfolk, and create a sense of arrival, originality and momentarily relieve the stresses of air travel.”

Here’s what DKLA Design (aka Don’s Big Art) created for us!

“Navigator”, a monumental 24ft. tall, 44 ft. wide blue heron created from decommissioned aircraft with structural elements of steel and hand blown glass eyes arrived June 3, on two semi-trucks via Santa’s North Pole Express.

The rain created many obstacles along the way, but in spite of the muddy conditions, Don Kennell, Lisa Adler and the DKLA Design team from Santa Fe, NM aka Don’s Big Art worked through the hot weekend to secure every piece in place at the southwest corner of Azalea Garden Rd. and Norview Ave.

Don’s hard hat fittingly read “Doin’ it right”. He was hands on the entire way with sandpaper in hand making finishing touches and ensuring the process went smoothly.

The sculpture celebrates the miracle of flight and Norfolk, Virginia – a place blue herons call home. Don states, “People coming and going at the airport get inside aluminum birds every day. “Navigator” serves as an open-armed welcome and a good luck farewell to those travelers and everyone coming and going. We are all on a journey somewhere including the herons and wildlife that call Hampton Roads home.”

“As artists, we love the idea of transport. We hope to transport the viewer outside their daily lives to spark imagination. The idea also relates to material as we transpose rigid metals into something dynamic and alive. When we use recycled materials, we further demonstrate the process of transformation by changing what has been discarded into something with a new life of beauty and possibility” says Adler.

Passerby’s were overheard shouting “that’s so cool!” We sure think it is.

Watch drone footage!

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Norfolk Arts seeks to create a rich, diverse, environment that reflects, celebrates and invites all to experience the arts. We seek to give voice to our community and strive to unite, energize, prompt dialogue, and inspire the unique character of Norfolk.

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