April 5, 2024

Forward Focus: Enhancing Arts Throughout the City

From new public art sculptures to culturally rich musical performances, the arts are taking center stage in Virginia Beach.

Skate Park Art Piece

The City of Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. It supports events, programs and public art with deliberate community collaboration throughout the city. From new public art sculptures to culturally rich musical performances, the arts are taking center stage in Virginia Beach. This collaborative effort is highlighted in the City’s FY24-25 Focused Action Plan, which identifies an initiative to “Enhance the reach and distribution of arts throughout the city.” 

Public Art Throughout the City 

The Virginia Beach Public Art Program, a program of the Cultural Affairs Department, has grown over the past 20 years into a regional standard-bearer for excellence in the public art arena. Since 2000, about 40 new pieces have been added at sites throughout the city, and investment in temporary and permanent public art projects has expanded. Projects are funded by the department’s operating budget, other City departments or through donations.   

With the City’s expanded public art portfolio, Cultural Affairs is working to implement a City-wide public art map, illustrating locations for residents and visitors to enjoy public art.  

“Looking at the Local Election District map is one of the many ways we measure our public art equitability,” said Emily Brookover, public art and placemaking manager for the City of Virginia Beach. “The benefits of local public art are vast, and it is important to be thoughtful and thorough about its placement, so it can impact and serve as many community members as possible.” 

The Virginia Beach Public Art Committee (PAC), with members appointed by the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, reviews Virginia Beach public art project submissions and makes recommendations on which projects to implement. Learn more about PAC, including how to apply to become a member, on the PAC’s webpage. 

New Public Art and Opportunities 

“Skate Park,” a 16-foot piece by Virginia artist Jeff L. Hall, was installed in March 2024 at Woodstock Skate Park, 5709 Providence Road. The work features an abstract, wheel tread-themed lighted base, which supports a series of stacked rings that frame a variety of energized silhouettes. The silhouettes capture people enjoying “wheeled” sports including skateboarding, roller blading, scootering and BMX biking. 

“Skate Park” is the second piece of public art at Woodstock Skate Park, following the murals created by Virginia Beach-based artist Brendan Tierney in 2021. 

Cultural Affairs is also in the early stages of public art projects in both Historic Kempsville and City View Park. The department hopes that an artist, or artist team, will be selected soon for each project and is planning for both sculptures to be completed in spring 2025. The Historic Kempsville project focuses on the human and natural history of the area, while City View Park will focus on interactivity and inviting the community to play and enjoy the art during trips to the park. 

Virginia artist Jeff L. Hall in front of his sculpture, “Skate Park,” in Woodstock Skate Park.

Inspiring Change Through Student Art 

Dull utility boxes, often the targets of vandalism and graffiti, were transformed into works of art by local students and a local artist. Students from Bayside, Rosemont and Bettie F. Williams elementary schools teamed up with local artist Jennifer Hand to draw quilt squares that were put together to create utility box art wraps as part of a continuing Virginia Beach Public Art Residency Program between Cultural Affairs and Virginia Beach City Public Schools.  

Renderings were created by visual arts students from The Visual & Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School.  

Utility box wraps are located in the following areas in Local Election Districts 4, 9 and 10: 

  • Northampton Boulevard between Burton Station Road and Diamond Springs Road. 
  • Rosemont Road between Dahlia Drive and Lynnhaven Parkway. 
  • Lynnhaven Parkway between Ski Lodge Road and Primrose Lane. 
  • Baker Road between Hampshire Lane and Newtown Road. 
  • Newtown Road. between Diamond Springs Road and Deford Road. 

Cultural Affairs hopes to expand to expand this initiative in other parts of the city in the future.  

Art Wrapped Utility Box

VBGIGs is Back! 

VBGIGs (Virginia Beach Globally Inspired Gatherings), a series of free performances taking place throughout the city, returned in March 2024. VBGIGs aims to bring world-class, culturally rooted performing artists to residents in their neighborhoods and nearby venues.   

Events are family-friendly, and kids in attendance will receive a VBGIGs passport and collectible destination stickers to track which world regions they’ve “visited” at different VBGIGs performances. The series encourages attendees to learn about their neighbors near and far and spark cultural curiosity through the performing arts.  

All 2024 VBGIGs performances are free to attend. See the schedule

VBGIGs presented the Philippine Cultural Ensemble in the ViBe Creative District in July 2022

New Series Introduced: Arts All Over 

A brand-new performing arts series, Arts All Over, kicked off on March 22 and March 24. Arts All Over is a small-scale pilot program designed to bring performing arts of all genres to residents in their neighborhoods. The Cultural Affairs Department is partnering with Rouge VA for this series, which, in its first year, explores the theme of “home” through theater, music and dance. 

See below for more upcoming Arts All Over events, which are all free to attend.  

Arts All Over: All Roads Lead to Home 

This play for all ages takes you on a journey home through stories, music, and even a little Shakespeare! In 45 minutes, you'll travel around the world and back to the 757, reflecting that there's truly no place like home. 

  • Friday, April 26: 6 p.m., Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia (Rosemont Club)
  • Sunday, May 5: 2 p.m., Virginia Beach Farmers Market
  • Saturday, May 11: 2 p.m., Salem High School
  • Saturday, May 18: 3 p.m., Princess Anne Library

Arts All Over: Sounds Like Home 

What does HOME sound like? In this exhilarating cabaret, you embark on a joyful journey through the sounds of the people, places, and things that define home. This lively sonic extravaganza complete with a live band and backup singers will have you moving and grooving. Directed by Leila Stephanie. This event will take place during a Parks & Recreation Department “Parks After Dark” program. 

  • Friday, June 14: 6:30 p.m., Williams Farm Recreation Center
“Arts All Over: Sounds Like Home” event at the Military Aviation Museum on March 24

Subscribe to the Cultural Affairs email newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming arts events, artist opportunities, and updates from Cultural Affairs, the Virginia Beach History Museums and local nonprofit arts and cultural nonprofits supported by the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission. 

Contact Information

Cultural Affairs Department

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