Nonprofit Spotlight: A New Home for D'Art Artists
If you wander from studio to studio in the new D'Art Center in Norfolk, Virginia the 21 artists working there will enthusiastically tell you what they like most about their new home at 740 Duke Street:
- Being reunited after an explosion at their downtown Norfolk location in April 2016 displaced them for months.
- The creative energy that flows from the neighboring Chrysler Museum of Art, its hot glass studio and the new NEON arts district.
- The natural light streaming into their new home on two floors in an office building.The light is perfect for painting and creating other works of art.
For Carolyn Phillips, D'Art Center executive director, the move to the new D'Art at Duke "is all positive" and continues a tradition started in 1986 when the collaborative studio and gallery first opened in Norfolk. For artists like Vonnie Whitworth, a pastel artist on at least her third D'Art location, "it feels good to be here." Ken Wright, a long-time D'Art artist who creates with acrylics, likes his lighted-filled studio where he can "focus on painting."
The artists moved to their new home recently with help from a recent $25,000 Hampton Roads Community Foundation grant that paid for building enhancements and moving expenses. "To call this grant a lifesaver would be an understatement," Phillips says.
In addition, a $5,000 grant from the Mermaid Fund helped sustain the visual art center when it had to vacate its former building. The Norfolk Arts and Humanities Commission started the Mermaid Fund at the community foundation in 2015. A $2,000 matching grant from the Business Consortium for Arts Support, which the community foundation helps fund, also helped sustain the art center while its artists were displaced.
On March 23, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the business consortium will sponsor an open house and benefit at the new D'Art at Duke . The center at 740 Duke Street is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 .m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.