Lead artist John Rudel worked with 8 students of Norfolk’s Emerging Leaders program during the summer of 2013 to give old Net bus stop signs a make over. First, metal rods were shaped to form armatures to encase the signs. Aluminum sheets were then individually cut into countless strips, painted then secured with grommets. The variety of originally stenciled forms aimed to give an illusion of city building exteriors. The stenciled elements have morphed over time and the project has come to serve as a learning tool for John’s art students at Va. Wesleyan who have given the structures a makeover from time to time. Many refer to the sculptures as NEON District totems. The playful sculptures are lit at night via solar panels on top and function as welcoming points upon entrance on either end of the NEON (New Energy of Norfolk’s) Arts District.
This is the third public art project John has been commissioned by Norfolk Arts to create. He also created three kinetic aluminum structures for the MacArthur North Parking Garage and etched a glass windscreen “Play Ball” for the Harbor Park light rail station. John Rudel is Professor of Art and Curator of Exhibitions for the Neil Britton Art Gallery at Virginia Wesleyan University. He received his BFA from University of NC, Asheville and his MFA from the University of Georgia. John was selected by the Director of the Guggenheim NY as one of 20 winners of the MFA National Competition in New American Paintings in 2002 and went on to exhibit his work across the country.