The proposed Norfolk Arts District. Go:
Well, first I will throw out some information about The Norfolk Arts District for the readers who are unfamiliar with the concept. The idea or initiative is to create a self-sustaining art utopia for artists to live, work and display their work. Jesse Scaccia and Hannah Serrano of AltDaily have been pushing for city leaders to ease up on strict city ordinances and make some zoning changes for a chosen area on Granby Street to allow for more public art displays, art galleries, studios, and related businesses.
I support the concept one hundred percent. Realistically, in my opinion, this will take years to be fully functioning, but we need to start somewhere. I’ve said this in another interview, but it applies to this. First of all, let’s look at what we are starting with as we work to form an arts district that facilitates it. There are a handful of local artists who are actively exhibiting enough for familiarity. There are a few others who are intermittently popping-up. The regulars are regularly covering the recurring bar shows and exhibitions of that nature in within a mile or two of each other. To me, that is not an art scene. It’s an art club. There is a white picket fence around it marking limits from the city of Norfolk regarding other options to facilitate better exhibitions/work spaces, and limits we put on ourselves with the predictability of—what is starting to seem like—the same show dragging itself around to different venues. As insulting as that sounds, an arts district is the solution if the “art scene” wants one and is willing to work for it. It is very evolved and can only happen we make it happen. My thing is, there is no “we, the artists” unless we have a show together. With a cooperative workspace and central area for our business of art, we could eventually be an art destination, where patrons visit from out of town to see what’s cooking. Don’t get too comfortable. Get involved, yo! Aaand that’s my thought for the day on the concept of The Norfolk Arts District!