Pictured above: Bay Oaks public art committee meets virtually on April 8, 2020 to tour the site with artists Jonathan and Saori Russell.

Ride Art Studio was selected to create a kinetic public art project for Bay Oaks Park. Their design was approved in July 2020.

The stainless steel and LED light sculpture is 23’ tall by 16’ diameter. Wind creates an unpredictable kinetic movement of organic forms set within circular rings. The organic forms emphasize the delicate balance between humans and nature. The base of the sculpture is designed to mimic the feel of the old Ocean View rollercoaster. The artwork stimulates thought and speaks to the strength and resiliency of the community.

Bay Oaks Park is Norfolk’s newest park located one block from the sandy beaches and shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay, in the center of a residential area of Norfolk known as Ocean View. The park encompasses 11 acres of open space, dunes and many species of trees including live oak trees, some up to 100 years old. Live Oak Quercus Virginiana are majestic trees that are emblems of the South and Ocean View with sweeping limbs plunging toward the ground before shooting upward, creating an impressive array of branches. On any day one might see egrets, yellow crested night herons or perhaps a bald eagle nestled in the tree branches. The park is a triumph of nature and community over development and business. Residents fought for the park all the way to the Virginia State Supreme Court. Bay Oaks Park is a catalyst for the future of Ocean View, solidifying the history and solidarity of the community voice.

Ocean View has its own unique feel, and residents accept and embrace all kinds, believing that being different is good. It is a bright, sunny place on the Chesapeake Bay near Naval Station Norfolk. It is a tight-knit community having pulled together against weather, wind, water, and hurricanes. OV is known for swimming beaches, cottages, old trolleys, and a famous amusement park that closed in the late 1970’s. The area is experiencing a reemergence of development stewarded by community demand and ownership. The layout of the park and trails were designed to preserve as many of the long-standing Live Oak trees as possible, each tagged with its own identity.

On May 7, 2022 the Berkeley, California artist team, Jonathan Russell and Saori Ide Russell of Ride Art Studio, and special guest, Councilman Tommy Smigiel, along with Norfolk Arts Commission Co-Chair, Diana Blanchard Gross and Ginny, the Bay Oaks Park Committee President spoke during the dedication at Bay Oaks Park located at 2413 E. Ocean View Blvd., Norfolk, VA 23518.

Visitors can enjoy a silent dialogue, like dancers responding to one another, as wind creates an unpredictable movement. Circular forms were chosen as a symbol of unity, harmony, and balance to reflect the supportive and resilient Ocean View community. Color changing LED lights glow within the base at night to create evening enjoyment.

Despite the many ongoing challenges of the pandemic to include virtual site visits, increased shipping costs, material shortages, and more, the artist team successfully managed to complete the project.

Jonathan and Saori state, “We so appreciate the committees’ hard work and patience through these crazy times, helping us bring this sculpture to completion. We look forward to the unveiling of Dialogue as we feel it truly honors the efforts of the neighborhood association as they united and persevered to save this beautiful park!”

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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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