Justin Fugett had never seen colors before he came to the NEON District.
Colorblind since birth, Justin had recently acquired special glasses that allow his eyes to see the full spectrum of shades. He decided that the first time he saw the rest of the light would be in front of the mural painted by Alex Brewer on Glass Wheel Studio.
He took in the art like a traveler soaking in the warmth of a fire after a long journey. He shook his head. “It’s amazing,” he said. Our smiles were bathed in neon.
We all, I believe, are beginning to see the light of what can be accomplished when everyone–artists, the business community, the City, each and every one of you–work together toward the common goal of a more beautiful and inter-connected community. This is what happens when shared success is the best success. This is what happens when the citizens claim a city as their own.
There was magic in the NEON District last night, and it continues tonight again on the second, and final, night of the NEON Festival. Any of you that have dreamed of a more vibrant, community-driven, and unexpected Norfolk and Hampton Roads have got to find your way to the neighborhood between Granby & Brambleton, the Chrysler, and the Harrison Opera House tonight. This is our moment.
Here are a few tools to help you get the most out of your NEON experience.
The action is focused on Granby Street, which will be shut down to cars (yes!). You’ll find pop-up shops at The Plot; an amazing neon art show at the old Garage space; a Glass Gardens/Small Acts Count terrarium building pop-up next door; the DOPPLEGANGING show opens at Work | Release; free shows at The Push Comedy Theater; and another banger show at The Parlor.
Don’t miss out on two very special events happening at The Chrysler complex: a performance by the innovative and exciting dance troupe, ArtPile, in Huber Court; and artist talks from our muralists at The Glass Studio. As long as you’re walking down Olney make sure to check out the Ken Daley neon show at OKAY Spark gallery.
Yogis won’t want to miss the GLOW FLOW yoga class on the Opera lawn. Last night there were over 100 yogis in attendance. Like almost everything, this is free.
The co-founder of the NEON District, Hannah Serrano, makes a triumphant return to the neighborhood by taking over an empty lot with O’Connor Brewing Company & LAVA Music Festival, for an outdoor stage and beer garden. It’s going to be epic, fam.
There is also so much amazing public art to see you won’t believe your eyes.
This virtual walking tour of the art will give you a good idea for a route.
Pull up this Google map of all the art on your phone to make sure you don’t miss anything:
People keep asking me how I feel about it all, but how I feel isn’t the point. How do you feel about the NEON? If it makes you feel inspired, if it makes you feel hope, if it helps you feel additional love for Norfolk, then, personally, I’ve never felt better in my life.