The Canoes - CODAworx

The Canoes

Client: Public Art Virginia Beach Foundation

Location: Virginia Beach , VA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Project Team


Donald Lipski

Lipski Group

Project Manager

John Grant

Public Art Services


The Canoes is located at the pedestrian overlook on the new Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach. This 36’ tall freestanding sculpture designed by artist Donald Lipski consists of a stainless steel catenary arch supporting 10 canoes arranged in a star pattern, with a delicate filigree of cut out patterns. The work welcomes visitors to the Chesapeake Bay Area and features a seating area overlooking the Bayfront. In the evening the work is illuminated by interior LED lighting further emphasizing the detailed negative space created by the cut out patterns.


The goals for this project were to create an iconic sculpture that welcomes visitors crossing the Lesner Bridge. Lipski came up with the canoe design after learning that Adam Keeling, who owned a plantation nearby in the 1600s, and a group of others, dug a trench wide enough for a canoe to cross a sandbar between the Lynnhaven River and the Chesapeake Bay. A storm with high tides widened the ditch that became the Lynnhaven Inlet. In Lipski’s words, “My hope is that this sculpture speaks to your history, to what you are today and to what you will be tomorrow.”


Public Art Services was invited by the artist Donald Lipski to work as a collaborative partner in the design, engineering, fabrication and installation oversight for this project. Additional collaborative partners include Elmendorf/Geurts.