The Arts Are Alive In Norfolk
Think you have to travel all the way to Washington, DC to enjoy cultural events, art, and music? For the best in symphony, dance, and visual arts on the Eastern seaboard, one can easily absorb inspiration for all senses in Norfolk, Virginia, the cultural capital of the Tidewater region. Whether you live in the Hampton Roads area or have come on vacation to enjoy a trip to historic Williamsburg or sunny Virginia Beach, a stop in Norfolk enhances any vacation with many cultural delights.
Intimate venues off the downtown area like the Harrison Opera House and Chrysler Hall are home to many nationally renowned performing arts organizations such as the Virginia Symphony, Ballet Virginia International, and the Virginia Opera. Each year, too, theater enthusiasts are treated to a program of traveling plays and musicals fresh from the Broadway stage.
This past year, Norfolk has been bringing together artists from all over the city to help create what is now known as “The NEON District“. A quick stroll from Downtown, the Arts District on Granby has completely reanimated itself to show a more progressive and artistic side of Norfolk. From Work|Release (the neon art gallery), to Push Comedy Theatre (a friendly place for giggles), to Zeke’s Beans and Bowls (a healthy and organic coffee shop) there is no shortage of social happenings to be involved in. Along with the many eclectic shops and galleries, it’s easy to get lost in the art on the streets alone. With every bare wall covered in an artists unique perspective, it’s easy to feel like the classic streets of Granby are a gallery of their own.
For the lovers of fine art, Norfolk is home to the Chrysler Museum of Art, a small yet impressive collection of paintings, sculpture and other media dating from ancient times to the modern day. On occasion special collections are made available for display; patrons of the Chrysler have been treated to the works of Andy Warhol, Mary Cassatt, and Edgar Degas, among other noted artists. Often, the foyer is filled with live jazz music for all to enjoy.
Fans of film noir and cinematic art have Naro Cinema, one of the oldest movie theaters in Hampton Roads. Newly restored, the Naro presents independent and foreign films not usually seen in the mega-plex theaters, and is host to film festivals offered throughout the year in conjunction with area colleges. Norfolk’s entertainment venue, the Ted Constant Convocation Center, is a popular destination for popular musicians and performers.
For the visitor looking to enrich a vacation, or for the Virginia resident seeking a cultural experience without having to drive too far, Norfolk is the perfect stop.
Martin Walsh is an owner of The Vacation Channel, and filmmaker with over a decade of experience making engaging travel content. He’s on a mission to make sure your family has fun this year with a trip to Coastal Virginia. If you would like a local’s opinion, you can always send him a question via email. Now get outside and go have an adventure!