The OV Coastal VA Plein Air Public Art planning committee selected Eileen Gay to create a mosaic sculpture for Ocean View Beach Park that represents the authentic, salty integrity of OV. The artwork directly engages visitors, instilling passion and excitement and highlights Ocean View’s uniqueness, natural beauty and great beaches. The 8ft sculpture with a curved oyster shell-like exterior encases an interior porcelain and glass tile sunrise mosaic. It is contemporary, forward-thinking and embodies the meaning and history of the area. Surprise elements include stones inscribed with inspiring words chosen by the public art planning committee. Eileen also incorporated a Geocoin that can be tracked at Geochaching.com.

This is the 2nd private partnership/match project the City of Norfolk’s public art program has installed. Coastal Va. Plein Air raised half of the funds for this project.

Eileen states, “From the beginning when I was awarded the commission, I was excited about the idea of creating a large oyster. The Chesapeake bay and nearby Atlantic Ocean almost demanded it. When I carved the small-scale model and split the shell in two halves, the form reminded me right away of a jaunty butterfly ready to take flight.

The beauty of Ocean View Park inspired my thought that like a butterfly’s chrysalis holds a beautiful butterfly, inside my oyster’s protective shell would be mosaic imagery of a beautiful sunrise at Ocean View beach. This connection between the two examples of protective coverings and their beauty within sparked the name for the sculpture – Chryshellis!

Flowing, circular mosaic patterns in various shades and materials in white create growth rings on the outer oyster shell. I used glazed, high fired porcelain tile representing old beach town building materials such as wood with white peeling paint, old white painted bricks, faded wallpaper, plaster, and concrete as well as shell-like patterned tile to mosaic the outside. This outer shell is slightly open to reveal an inner mosaic sunrise made using recycled glass, gold backed glass, and vividly colored porcelain tiles.

Inside Chryshellis the sun rises above a golden ocean horizon on the right, while high above in the left half of the shell, a crescent moon simultaneously sets. And like a new butterfly coming out of a cocoon, a new day dawns…”

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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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