Call to Artists: Ohio Creek Watershed- Norfolk, VA

  • Commissioning Entity

    Norfolk Arts

  • Application Open Date


  • Application Deadline Date


  • Minimum Budget


  • Maximum Budget


  • Location of Commission

    Norfolk, Virginia, United States

  • Commission Portal

    View Link

  • Geographic Eligibilty


  • Contact Name

    Danny Hawk

  • Contact Email

    [email protected]

  • Contact Phone

  • Commission Document

    Document not uploaded

  • Brief Description


    The City of Norfolk has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program to hire an artist to design and create artwork that will celebrate the Elizabeth River, the community, and the NDR Ohio Creek Watershed Project; a flood risk management and resiliency project.

    Construction is underway on a flood-resiliency project whose cost and scope rival any undertaken so far in the United States. Bolstered by an injection of $112 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Norfolk is installing more than 7,000’ of earthen berms, about 1,000’ of floodwalls, a resilience park, about 4,000’ of living shoreline, a fishing pier, a flood gate, two large stormwater pump stations, and places for community gatherings. The project includes raising a half-mile of roads by 6’ above existing grade.

    The home of the art will be the Ohio Creek Watershed which includes two neighborhoods: Chesterfield Heights and Grandy Village, both with strong community identity. The neighborhoods are bordered by the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River, on the south, and Interstate 264 on the north, providing both a picturesque shoreline-view and easy access to downtown Norfolk, Virginia Beach, as well as cities on the peninsula. Industrial complexes on the east and west seclude the community from the rest of the city. However, this seclusion has caused residents to rely on each other and has helped define this friendly, resilient community.

    Chesterfield Heights, with over 400 homes on the Historic National Register, was initially laid out in 1904. The community contains homes in a range of styles, the earliest being imposing Queen Anne and Revival styles with extensive ornamentation to modest Craftsman-style bungalows built after 1914. Many of the residents are older-African American families that have owned their homes since the early 1960’s; however, over the last decade, the neighborhood has been undergoing a transformation bringing diversity to the community.

    Grandy Village, a work-force community with 367 units, was built in 1953 and originally consisted of townhouse-style residences, and a recreation center. Under the management of Norfolk Housing and Redevelopment, the community has been undergoing transformation since 2001, including demolition of several buildings, and construction of new 2-story homes, new lighting, walkways, signage, fencing, and landscaping. The Grandy Village Learning Center, recognized nationally for excellence in design, provides the opportunity to use the environs as an educational tool for community youth. The Elizabeth River Project’s Learning Barge docked at the Grandy Village Learning Center is the world's first floating wetland classroom. Powered by sun and wind and with live wetlands, an enclosed classroom, composting toilets, and a rainwater system, the 120'x32' steel deck barge is designed to model and teach ecology, resilience, and sustainability.


    We seek an artist to design public art that will reflect the values and challenges and tell the stories of the people who live in this historic shoreline community. The artwork should reflect the diversity of culture and heritage and connect the two neighborhoods. We hope the artwork will be a fluid, thought provoking example of resiliency.


    There are several sites that are ideal locations for the final artwork. One area is a wide pathway that runs between Chesterfield Academy, an elementary public school, and the newly renovated park. A second is at the end of Ballentine Boulevard which is a major north/south road and a key gateway into the neighborhoods. The boulevard feeds directly into a new water pump station, a small plaza, Kimbell Terrace and the Elizabeth River. Ballentine provides direct access to the light rail station, Norfolk State University, a Historic Black University, and the rest of the city. A site plan is linked here.

    Please see commission document link for full instructions and application form.