Downtown Norfolk’s NEON Festival glows up October 19

NORFOLK, Va. — The NEON Festival, presented by Arts Alliance and Old Dominion University, in Downtown Norfolk’s NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) District will be held October 19 and 20. Celebrating its eighth 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 500 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, a food truck 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 7pm with Bhav Brigade
  • Community programming inside and outside Chrysler Museum of Art provided by Norfolk Public Schools, Twinkle Toes Dance, Norfolk Dance Collective, 757 Tidewater African Cultural Alliance and the Human Library from 5pm to 8pm
  • Mural Tours at 6:30pm and 8pm leaving from Chrysler Museum Glass Studio
  • Glass After Dark at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio with a glass performance by N’Kosi Barber and music by Andre Love. 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, a community art project and works for sale in the gallery
  • Commune NFK hosts the Night Shift Collective’s Full Disclosure exhibition opening, with photographs juried by the NEON District Public Art Committee, 6pm-10pm
  • The Plot, 6pm-10pm beer garden with Smartmouth Brewing Company and Water’s Edge Winery, the Avocargo food truck, Lil Truck of Tools pop up, performances from Virginia Opera, Teens with a Purpose, Governor’s School for the Arts, and others, closing the night with a dance party with Family Tree Collective at 9pm
  • Hurrah’s Copeland Center features a preview of Hurrah Players’ Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, poetry readings from ODU’s Writers in Community and live musical performances, 6pm-9pm
  • Foster Beauty Fashion Show takes over the Harrison Opera House lobby with a make-up competition fashion inspired by NEON murals, a fashion show by local designers at 8pm, pre-show entertainment, and a closing set by DJ CLASS, 6pm-10pm
  • Pop-Up Art Galleries at the Hugh R. Copeland Center, the Renova Center and 814 Granby Street featuring local NEON artists and Norfolk State University students
  • Retail Alliance Second Stage features live music from TCC Jazz Band and Infinite Flava, with TCC visual arts and culinary demonstrations, Aerial Spirit Dance, and art pop ups, 6pm-10pm
  • 757 Makerspace Interactive Art Exhibit at the Cofer lot with local artists’ unique art installations on view for judging by the public, 6pm-10pm
  • Mural Tours at 6:30pm and 8pm leaving from the Plot

This fall, an art project like any other done in NEON is going to shake up Magazine Lane. More than 300 feet of privacy fencing is getting a huge makeover by a collection of graffiti writers and street artists from Hampton Roads, Virginia and beyond. Led by internationally-known street art crew Few and Far and sponsored by Pilot Place, artists will paint the fence in the days leading up NEON Festival and on Friday, October 20 during the festivities. The alley will be pumping with glowing lights, a DJ, coloring sheets for kids and the graffiti crew at work.

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

The NEON Festival is presented by Arts Alliance and Old Dominion University with beer provided by Smartmouth Brewing Company and wine from Water’s Edge Winery. It is produced by the Downtown Norfolk Council and the Chrysler Museum of Art and Glass Studio with media partner Jpixx. Additional sponsors include Glass Light Hotel and Gallery, MacArthur Center, PRA Group, Rutter Mills, VisitNorfolk, Metronet, TRAFFIX, Retail Alliance 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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