Art features environmental resiliency in Norfolk

The Chrysler Museum of Art is a staple of Norfolk’s Historic Ghent district and the community as a whole since it was founded in 1933, showing off multiple forms of artworks from various artists while highlighting local artists from Hampton Roads. 

Visiting the Chrysler Museum is a creative activity to enjoy with your friends or family while immersing yourself into vibrant and stimulating pieces of art. Ranging from different artistic styles, including ceramic pottery, sculptures, photography and modern light shows that fill up the room, there is something for everyone to interact with and observe.

Five current exhibitions are on display at the Chrysler Museum of Art; FloodZone: Photographs by Anastasia Samoylova, ‘Waters Rising: A View From Our Backyard,’ Hew Locke: ‘The Ghostly Tourists,’ ‘The Totality of Time Lusters the Dusk’ and the recently opened The Guiding Hand: ‘The Barr Foundation Collection of Torah Pointers’. 

The Chrysler Museum of Art recently partnered with Old Dominion University’s Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience (ICAR) to present the art exhibition ‘Waters Rising: A View From Our Backyard’. 

Sarah Jacobson, a staff member at Chrysler Museum, shared insight about the environmentally focused exhibition. “‘Waters Rising: A View From Our Backyard’ is dedicated to Larry P. Atkinson, who brought people together around the issues of climate change and sea-level rise while helping to launch Old Dominion University’s research program on its path to making a difference in addressing flooding and sea-level rise,” said Jacobson.

With how unpredictable the weather has been in recent months, communities across the Hampton Roads region witnessed the adverse impacts of sea-level rise, coastal erosion and climate change. Flooded streets and waterlogged cars have become familiar sights for the Marlin community as the high tides and intensifying storms push water further into the Norfolk roads.

Old Dominion University uses art to feature environmental issues within our community as posted within the Waters Rising exhibit. On the Chrysler Museum webpage, Dr. John Broderick, president emeritus at Old Dominion University said, “Over the last decade, ODU experts have focused on issues of sea-level rise and flooding in the laboratory, the classroom, and the community to address the challenges facing our region and other coastal regions across the country and the world.”

‘FloodZone’ is Miami-based artist Anastasia Samoylova’s photographic account of the effects of sea-level rise and climate change along South Florida’s receding shoreline. Jacobson added, “Samoylova’s photographs contain visuals of coastal wildlife, flooded construction sites, rusted infrastructure, and architectural rubble integrate the tropical palette while showing off Miami’s busy culture which is very similar to the Norfolk and Virginia Beach community.”

Chrysler Museum|Courtesy
‘FloodZone’ features photographs about the effects of sea-level and climate change on coastal communities.

Sophomore Helen Kennedy-Butler shared about her connection between the exhibition and her studies. “The Waters Rising exhibit is really interesting because it is very informative and talks about the climate crisis in our area and what we can do to help and the pollution problem in our area as well. Being a sustainability management major this artwork and exhibit hit home when looking at it,” said Kennedy-Butler.

Kennedy-Butler added, “This is where people live and have families, the pollution in the area is terrible. The images within the exhibit help get the issue out there and show it to people in a raw way because the media tends to hide bad things that they don’t want others to see.”

Natalie Dunn, a junior, visited the Chrysler Museum and shared her experience. “I thought the exhibits were all interesting not only to look at, but to read about as well. They definitely catch your eye especially if you’ve been within the recent months compared to now, they pop out more than the others and were very enjoyable,” said Dunn. 

Dunn added, “I enjoyed the individual light exhibit the most because of the way it allowed the patterns to shine on the walls surrounding the room. The light wasn’t too strong to look at when examining the exhibit that was hanging in the center. I liked how it was closed off in its own room because it made the light patterns more prominent.”

Kennedy-Butler said, “I thought it was very cool that they had artists that are local to the Virginia Beach area in the museum. When we first came up the stairs they had students’ artwork from nearby schools to be part of their ‘Teens with a Purpose’ art exhibit. They tell stories in their artwork of their experience in Hampton Roads which is important for smaller artists to get an audience.”

 At the Chrysler Museum there are individual pieces of artwork that the museum has bought to keep for their collection. Immerse in the art and question our response to rising seas. The exhibitions ‘FloodZone: Photographs by Anastasia Samoylova’ and ‘Waters Rising: A View From Our Backyard’ are available until May 29.

Visit Chrysler Museum of Art on 1 Memorial Place in Norfolk 23510 offers free parking and admission to everyone. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and closed on Monday. Visit and follow @ChryslerMuseum on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for more information about their exhibitions.

by Mikayla Szudera