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Public Art Committee (PAC) has brought noticeable success with the program, “Public Art on a Shoestring," which installs temporary or loaned art pieces of local major artists, indoor and out, as well as purchase of artworks throughout the city.
Permanent or Temporary Loaned Art
Two paintings, one installed in the Western Branch Russell Memorial Library and one in the new Clarence V. Cuffee Library in Campostella. Ken was introduced to the Conference Center Director by the Fine Arts Coordinator when it first opened. Wright was commissioned along with three other artists (Bob Holland, Karen Kinser, and Pat Kirby; all well known Hampton Roads artists) for large pieces in the Conference Center. Public art has been purchased and gifted on permanent loan to the Dr. Cuffee Community Center and library.
Two ceramic figures are installed in Deep Creek's Major Hillard Library. Her large "Read to Me" bronze cast sculpture is housed at the outside entrance. Casting was in collaboration with Kevin Gallup at the Old Dominion University foundry. The Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission was one of the donors who made this commissioned piece possible for the opening of the library.
Girl On a Globe
A bronze cast statue of a young girl sitting on a world globe reading and holding a book was purchased for the Indian River Library. A plaque was presented to the Library Manager by members of the Public Art Committee.
Larry Bage's fish statues
Lobby of City Hall
Bronze underwater schools of fish are the two bronze works that were created by Larry Bage. They grace both lobby entrance areas of City Hall. One piece was purchased by the Public Art Committee as its first purchased piece.
Bage was also commissioned by the committee and the Chesapeake Department of Parks & Recreation to create an appropriate and dramatic large piece for the brand new Cuffee Center in the Campostella section of South Norfolk. His 12-foot tall steel, stylized running figure is powder coated in a teal blue color, and is holding a yellow butterfly in one hand. The sculpture represents youth, fun, moving forward and carries the symbol of metamorphosis and change. This is in recognition of the changing nature of this Chesapeake community.
Larry Bage's running figure statue
being built and installed
Permanently installed in front of the
Dr. Clarence V. Cuffee Community Center
The PA committee was also responsible for having student art from the popular Court Art competition and purchase, a program begun by Chief Judge Thomas Forehand. Some of the art that was displayed for a year in the courthouse was transferred to the 6th floor of City Hall leading to the Office of the City Manager and Council offices. This is a student exhibit that changes annually.
Parks & Recreation funded the works of chainsaw artist, Jay Bowman who began with Tiki poles carved into bridge posts at beautiful Northwest River Park. He then created 3 bears that were a part of the city for over 3 years.
Jay Bowman's carved-wood large mouth bass at
Oak Grove Lake Park
Jay Bowman's carved-wood hawk for Hickory High School
Chainsaw artist Jay Bowman has also completed a large sculpture of a large mouth bass off the Chesapeake Expressway at the intersection of I64 & 464. This over 8ft tall fish highlights the lake at Oak Grove Lake Park. This purchase by Parks & Recreation was approved (and admired!) by the Public Art Committee.
March 2008 – The Public Art Committee also commissioned artist Jay Bowman, who lives in Kitty Hawk, NC, to create a hawk for Hickory HS. The hawk is their symbol.
May 2008 – Constructed out of a single piece of cypress, this soaring hawk was presented to Hickory High School, May 13, 2008. Some fun facts you may find interesting about this piece:
- Hawk was carved using a standard chainsaw
- This piece is sculptured entirely from one single piece of cedar wood
- The color of the Hawk comes from using a torch to actually burn in the color before a protective poly coat was applied
- While carving, the artist felt something hit his blade and he found that a bullet was in the tree; the tree healed and grew around it as evidenced by the many concentric growth-rings in the wood
- You can see the part of the bullet that he cut with his saw in the base to the front upper right side; a thin outside coat of copper can be seen so it cannot be a Civil War bullet...
There is a lovely butterfly mural, by artist Chip Wilkinson, in South Norfolk on the outside wall of the Portlock Galleries education annex that was funded in part by the Public Art Committee and the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission. Also, at Lakeside Park in South Norfolk — the site of the annual 4th of July parade and home-town celebration, among other events — is a metal sculpture by Dick Cossit.
Dick Cossitt's metal sculpture
Chip Wilkinson's Butterfly Mural
The Committee also purchased stone ready-made cast chess/checkers tables with two seats each. The attractive sets have a terrazzo inlay that forms the permanent game boards. They have donated one to the Chesapeake TCC campus, under the trees at the side of City Hall, small public park off Cedar Road, third, with the purchase by Parks & Recreation, sits under a circle of crepe myrtles in Locks Park in Great Bridge. Another is located at the SoNo Senior Center and one will be installed at Northwest River Park for campers to enjoy!
Chess/Checkers Tables installed at Great Bridge Lock Park
City Symbol Committee
The City Treasurer formed a City Symbol Committee to research and select a symbol for Chesapeake as Norfolk did with the Mermaid and Outer Banks, NC, did the horses. The selected symbol was the blue heron. The original cold cast bronze proto type was financed and and placed at the rear campus entrance of City Hall. There are suggested designs by various artists in the Treasurer's office, if a citizen or business wishes to purchase a heron for their property. One heron has been purchased by an individual and one large business and a bank will be purchasing and installing a heron on their property.
Early City Map
There is a map of early Chesapeake that has gotten around! It started as the mural on the wall of the old City Council Chambers, which became the Sheriff's meeting room when the current City Hall was built. The Sheriff later donated the mural to the Portlock Museum as a piece of Chesapeake history. The museum became the Portlock Galleries in SoNo and they presented the mural to the South Norfolk Library which is its current home.
A mystery heron made from metal with a wood base was seen in the Spoleto Art Festival; it appeared one night in City Hall on the 6th floor! That heron came permanently to roost in City Hall for the public to enjoy when it was bought from the mystery donor by the Public Art Committee!
The Public Art Committee presented an original stained glass artwork to the Police and Fire Departments for a Public spot in the Safety building. In the photo on the right, the Artist, Fine Arts Coordinator and the Public Art Committee Chair present "Lady Liberty" to Fire Chief Best and Police Chief Wright at the presentation in August 2, 2009.
This is only a small sampling of public art pieces throughout Chesapeake
How you can take part in the Public Art efforts in Chesapeake
Do you want to purchase/donate a piece of art for the city? Pictured are some samples of the kind of bronze art you can purchase and there are other smaller pieces that can be used in parks or areas of your choice!
Maybe there is something in particular you want to be donated in your name or a type of work you would like to be considered! Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-382-6411.