Support Portsmouth Public Art has been busy bringing a variety of inspired works to the city.
Established in 2010 by a group of dedicated volunteers with the mission of commissioning, purchasing and installing public art in Portsmouth, over the last 7 years SPPA has placed the bronze toad sculpture “I’ve Been Kissed” at the entrance to the Children’s Museum of Virginia.
We — I say ‘we’ because I have been a part of the group since its founding — commissioned and placed 8 murals in the Olde Towne Area and at City Park Pavilion (5 of which are of famous Portsmouth natives) and in the Children’s Reading Room at the Main Library.
SPPA has implemented temporary projects, too. The “Before I Die…..” boards, an interactive installation on High Street, took a page out of the book of New Orleans street artist Candy Chang.
The fact is simple: Here in Portsmouth, we LOVE public art.
The support we have received from volunteers and cultural institutions like Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission and Virginia Tourism has been amazing, allowing us to plan a slate of future projects that will include more murals, a neon restoration, and new art on the Afton Theater and Cradock Branch Library
The best might be yet to come.
Our largest endeavor to date, “Circle of Sail” — working title — is a large sculpture of intersecting sails mimicking the Portsmouth City logo. Here is a mock-up of the design by local resident Rebecca Larys:
“Circle of Sail,” slated to be located at the traffic circle at Portsmouth Harbor Pavilion, would be big, both in stature and size — approximately 22 feet high and 20 feet across — and would be made of perforated aluminum, galvanized pipe, and other materials. The “sails” will be assembled in pieces that correspond to actual sail elements, including batten pockets, clews, hanks, and turnbuckles.
Architectural Grade LED projectors, suitable for marine environments, will be strategically located to enhance the sculpture with rich white light variations, while holding light pollution to a minimum. With respect for environmentally appropriate landscaping, drought resistant native plants will fill the inner circle and keep maintenance at a minimum.
The Breeden Company of Virginia Beach has donated $100,000 to SPPA for the sculpture and the Portsmouth Museum & Fine Arts Commission has awarded SPPA a grant as well.
There is one last step between here and “Circle of Sail” becoming a reality, and that’s getting official city council approval.
A Public Hearing will be held to hear public opinion regarding the Circle of Sail project on July 11, 2017 at 7:00pm in City Council Chambers, 6th floor City Hall, with a vote from City Council following. We urge all Portsmouth residents to express their opinions at the hearing.
Speak up for public art, and for the vibrancy of our home. The wind is at our backs, Portsmouth art lovers!
Editor’s update: The council voted unanimously to approve the art!!
To email Portsmouth City Council, click here.