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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU will Help Light Up the Sixth Annual NEON Festival

By Amber Kennedy

Old Dominion University will celebrate the vibrant artistic community of Norfolk as a co-presenter of the sixth annual NEON Festival on Oct. 21 and 22.

The evening festival welcomes visitors to explore the NEON District - Norfolk's first official arts district heralding the "New Energy of Norfolk." The district is anchored by the Chrysler Museum of Art and Harrison Opera House, extending to The Plot on Granby Street. Over two nights, more than 50 artists, makers and performers activate the NEON, staging exhibitions and performances throughout the district.

ODU's creative community will be well-represented during the evening events on Oct. 22, including:

  • Video performance called "Seether" by James Morrow, assistant professor of dance.
  • ODU student pottery sale with professor Richard Nickel from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Neon House. The majority of proceeds will help stock the 757 Community Fridge, which provides free nonperishable food items and is located near Mea Culpa in Norfolk.
  • "Screendance: Communion and Alchemy," a collaborative performance by Janessa Clark, who served in virtual residence with ODU Dance in fall 2020. Her pandemic-inspired works, "Communion" and "Alchemy," were then presented in the Barry Art Museum in spring 2021. The performance will be played on a loop at 739 Granby St.
  • "Being B.A.D.," a solo theatrical performance by Brittney Harris, explores the lengths to which one will go in order to take power following years of physical and emotional abuse. The performance will be presented at 6:45 p.m. at the Copeland Center.
  • Poetry reading by ODU's Writers in Community, from 8 to 9 p.m. at the Copeland Center.

NEON Festival Events

Other events at the festival will include:

  • Festival Kick Off at the Chrysler Museum of Art from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday.
  • Live glass demos at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio and the Museum open late on Thursday "Dynamic," an exhibition opening at d'Art Center with refreshments, make and take crafts, art for sale and DJ on Friday.
  • The Plot Beer Garden and main stage entertainment from local community groups from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.
  • Public art tours led by Norfolk Tour Company both evenings.
  • New public art projects unveiled from visual art students at Governor's School of the Arts.
  • Pop-up art galleries in NEON District businesses and venues.
  • Programming from Teens with a Purpose, Governor's School of the Arts, Hurrah Players, WHRO, 757 Makerspace, Bhav Brigade, Tidewater Burners and more.

A full schedule of festival events is available at neonnfk.com/festival.

The free festival is presented by the Business Consortium for Arts Support and Old Dominion University in partnership with the Downtown Norfolk Council and the Chrysler Museum of Art. Contributing sponsors include Sway, Work Program Architects, Rutter Mills and MacArthur Center. Beer is provided by Smartmouth. Visit Norfolk is a friend sponsor.

The NEON District is home to cultural institutions, art studios and more than 80 works of public art, all providing artists a place to make, create and show. Visit neonnfk.com to learn more.

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