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The NEON Festival Returns Oct. 21 & 22

The NEON Festival Returns Oct. 21 & 22
The NEON Festival Returns Oct. 21 & 22
The NEON Festival Returns Oct. 21 & 22
Free festival offers art, music, performances, tours and more

The NEON Festival, presented by Business Consortium for Arts Support and Old Dominion University, in Downtown Norfolk’s NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) District will be held October 21 and 22. Celebrating its fifth year, the free festival welcomes everyone to experience the NEON District’s offerings through art exhibitions, local and national performances and mural tours. Since 2015, the festival has provided a platform for more than 300 artists and performers through dozens of art exhibitions, community programs and events tied to the annual celebration.

Thursday Schedule:
NEON Festival at Chrysler Museum of Art with live music, food trucks and activities. Music provided by Virginia Arts Festival’s steel drum band The Rhythm Project, Trio Atomic and BTG Artist Collective, plus glow yoga on the lawn at 7 p.m. with Bhav Brigade and accompanying music by PranaMuktiBhakti

Community programming inside and outside Chrysler Museum of Art provided by Poetry Society of Virginia, Virginia Zoo, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Lil Truck of Tools and the Human Library from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Mural Tours at 6:30 and 8 p.m. leaving from Chrysler Museum Glass Studio

Glass After Dark premieres at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio with a glass demonstration and music by psych-rock band Berries. Free admission with advance tickets

Friday Schedule:
d'Art Center’s opening night of Dynamic, a national contemporary art exhibition, with drinks, a food truck, a DJ, make & takes and works for sale in the gallery

Commune X CROP Foundation celebrates ten years of the Perry Glass Studio with a new group exhibition X Marks the Spot: A Decade of the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio. WHRO’s Emerging Leaders Board hosts a celebration of the CURATE series with music and art in the parking lot beginning at 5 p.m.

The Plot, 6-10 p.m. beer garden with Smartmouth Brewing Company, food trucks, Norfolk Currents pop up, performances from Teens with a Purpose, Governor’s School for the Arts, and others, closing the night with a big dance party with DJ Can Rock at 9 p.m.

Hurrah’s Copeland Center features a preview of Hurrah Players’ Moana, poetry readings from ODU’s Writers in Community and The Muse Writers’ Center, one person show Being B.A.D. by ODU professor Brittney Harris, and live musical performances from Norfolk State University and TCC’s Blue Moon Jazz Band, 6-10 p.m.

757 Street Art Battle puts on a live painting contest, judged by local professional artists, backed by live music and a craft workshop from Lil Truck of Tools and 757 Creative Reuse Center, 6-9 p.m.

Pop-Up Art Galleries at the Hugh R. Copeland Center, Virginia Furniture storefront windows and 717 Granby Street featuring local NEON artists and Norfolk State University students

The Neon House features live music from Bay River Band and Infinite Flava, with an ODU pottery sale, live painting, cabaret from Feral Showgirls and beat-making workshops from Music Theory Studios, 6-10 p.m.

757 Makerspace Interactive Art Exhibit at the Cofer lot with more than 20 local artists’ unique art installations on view for judging by the public, 6-10 p.m.

Mural Tours at 6:30 and 8 p.m. leaving from the Plot

After a year off from the festival, The NEON District is celebrating continuing and renewed partnerships, particularly its ties with the education community. As a presenting sponsor, Old Dominion University deepens its commitment to NEON with creative programming from staff, alumni and students. Norfolk State University is also participating, as it has since the NEON Festival’s launch in 2015. As a long-time partner in Downtown, the Governor’s School for the Arts students will showcase their talents with live jazz, pop-up dance performances and three new visual arts projects on NEON sidewalks and walls. Student artists are responsible for more than 30 public art projects in the NEON District. The continued involvement of learning institutions in the NEON District creates revolving opportunities for young artists and infuses the neighborhood with the new energy it is named for.

A full list of exhibitions, events and entertainment is available at

The NEON Festival is presented by Business Consortium for Arts Support and Old Dominion University with beer provided by Smartmouth Brewing Company. It is produced by the Downtown Norfolk Council and the Chrysler Museum of Art and Glass Studio with support from Sway Creative Labs. Additional sponsors include MacArthur Center, Rutter Mills, VisitNorfolk and Work Program Architects.

Norfolk’s first official arts district, NEON, is home to long-time cultural institutions like the Chrysler Museum of Art and Harrison Opera House as well as studio-based ventures like d’Art Center and the Rutter Family Art Foundation, all providing artists a place to make, create and show. Within a few short blocks you can see a muralist at work, take in an improv comedy performance at Push Comedy Theater, watch a live glass-working demonstration, shop for unique home goods, get a tattoo or dine out at an eclectic restaurant. Learn more at and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @neonnfk.

Downtown Norfolk Council is a private, not-for-profit membership organization comprised of businesses and individuals working toward a dynamic, attractive and prosperous Downtown. DNC also manages the Downtown Norfolk Improvement District, a 50-block special services district with enhanced services that keep Downtown friendly, safe and spotless. Connect with Downtown Norfolk on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or visit

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