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10-10-2013

Professor Helps Bring Public Art to Norfolk

Norfolk’s streets are looking more colorful these days thanks to public art created with the help of VWC Associate Professor of Art John Rudel and students from the Emerging Leaders Program, an initiative providing educational employment opportunities to the city’s youth. It all began in 2008 when the Norfolk City Council established a Public Art Commission, adopting a funding ordinance maintaining that one percent of city capital improvement funds be dedicated to the production and installation of public art. From here, the Cultural Affairs Public Art Program was born, an entity that has partnered with Emerging Leaders for the past five years, allowing student artists to leave their creative mark throughout the city. Guided by local artists and mentors, participants hit the streets this summer to bring new life to Norfolk’s new Arts and Design District, the area between the Harrison Opera House and the Scope. Rudel has helped the young students transform four Granby Street NET bus stops into futuristic aluminum sculptures. The pieces were inspired by themes of water and light, guiding aesthetic focuses for the Arts District established by Urban Design Associates and its co-founder Ray Gindroz. The sculptures contain solar lights that illuminate at night when triggered by photocell switches. “Many thanks to all of the leaders in Norfolk who envisioned and promoted the Arts District initiative, ultimately giving rise to this project,” says Rudel. Fellow artists Elliott Addesso and Tim Bearse have also contributed to the city’s mission with a new mural at the entryway to Brambleton Avenue and skateboard-inspired sculptures on Wilson Street. With the completion of these projects, the Cultural Affairs Public Art Program, in cooperation with the Emerging Leaders Program, has installed 18 pieces of art in Norfolk, another one of which is Rudel’s, a series of images of eyes installed on the third floor of MacArthur Center parking garage. More

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