Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Norfolk Arts District

Quality Furniture is going out of business soon and would it be lovely to make this huge space a venue? Or rentable studio space for musicians?

Have you heard of the Norfolk Arts District? It's a proposed idea for the area between the Chrysler Museum and Granby Street from the Harrison Opera House to Brambleton (look here). Basically this little section is begging for some attention and the residents of Norfolk (and other Hampton Roads cities) want to help make it happen.

A group of almost 40 people met on Sunday to walk around the streets and brainstorm about what we'd like to see in these dilapidated buildings and open spaces. The price tags for some of the structures are up to $1 million! But some storefronts could be yours for just $17,000 (like the one above). I told Mike it'd be so fun to buy the building, put retail (i.e. my future craft supplies shop) below and live up top.

This is another area on the corner of Granby Street and Virginia Beach Blvd., which would make a great vertical garden, like this. I proposed we make the gravel lot a space for a Saturday Farmer's or Flea Market. Throw in a couple crafters and a few food trucks and we've got quite a party!

Jesse Scaccia, the man behind the plan (above), explained that a lot of these buildings are owned by the city, so getting access to paint murals should be easy enough. All designs and proposals must be reviewed and passed by the city. And, of course, we must fund these projects ourselves. This giant blue wall is along Granby Street and would make a perfect entrance to the Arts District, specifically inviting people to come, play and enjoy.

This is a spot that should eventually be torn down. This area floods terribly after any ounce of rain, so the buildings are probably filled with mold and who knows what else! Until the city has enough money, the walls could be murals or why not make them a 'Where's Waldo' type of mural and have a list of images to look for on the side? After the buildings are gone we could make a pop-up park (like The Plot) - or a roller skating rink :)

Potential community garden area outside the Union Mission building.

It's like this, do you want to move to a city where the art already exists or help build the art that people come to visit? Since I won't be moving any time soon, I'm going with the latter. I hope I can be apart of this movement to make Norfolk an even better place to live. One block at a time. Be sure to like the Norfolk Arts District Facebook page for updates and news about the area.