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Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Currently closed

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Currently closed

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

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November 12, 2020

Neon in the NEON District: New work by Matt Jacob

–Kathryn Murphy, Program Coordinator and Instructor, Perry Glass Studio

Matt Jacob, Neon Installation at the Perry Glass Studio, 2020

To get inside the minds of some young artists in Hampton Roads, turn your eyes to the rooftop of the Perry Glass Studio. Six children’s drawings served as the inspiration for the latest art installation to illuminate the NEON district. To create the work, Matt Jacob, the Chrysler Museum Perry Glass Studio’s resident neon instructor, used his favorite sketches from children who stopped by the Studio’s drawing station that was in use before the COVID-19 pandemic. “The inspiration to reinterpret these drawings stems from how fearless kids are when they draw and how specific their mark-making is,” he said.

Matt Jacob, Process image, 2020

When sifting through sketches from the drawing station, Jacob looked for works full of detail and imagination. There’s something special about the raw, uninhibited stories that children create.

To bring their artwork to the rooftop of the Glass Studio, Jacob used the skills he learned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. First, he created a neon pattern, a large-scale drawing of each work that is essentially a diagram for making each neon piece. He then followed the pattern, bending the tubing over an open flame into the desired design. After adding an electrode to the open end of each tube, one with a small opening at the end, he connected the tube to a vacuum pump, bombarding system, and gas manifold. Once the tube was vacuumed out, he hooked it up to an electrical transformer to run a high-voltage current through it. This caused the glass to heat to a temperature that would allow the vacuum pump to keep sucking and vacuum out any impurities on the inside of the tube that were released as the glass was heated.

After this electrical bombardment, a gas canister (containing either neon or argon) was slowly opened to fill the tube to a specific pressure. Finally, Jacob applied a small hand torch flame to the tiny opening to seal off the tube, and voila! If an artist follows this process correctly, their artwork will light up when connected to a smaller electrical transformer! Sounds simple, right? Jacob pumps all of his neon tubes at Riehl Deal Neon Signs in Norfolk.

Matt Jacob, detail of individual sections for the neon installation at the Perry Glass Studio, 2020

This isn’t Jacob’s first experience with rooftop neon. Two years ago, he was integral in the creation of a 24-foot dragon that found its home atop the Perry Glass Studio. That project taught him the ins and outs of installing neon in the elements. “We learned a lot about proper planning with neon, particularly through the ways in which we failed. Having the electrodes oriented to avoid collecting rainwater and making sure that the backing/install system to the neon is sound are both important aspects. So when working on these pieces, I decided to make the electrode boots all open downwards so they don’t collect water, and I made the support system out of glass and metal instead of wood,” he said.

Neon Dragon Unveiling, Third Thursday Performance during Neon Festival, 2018, Photo by Echard Wheeler

The neon dragon was unveiled during the 2018 NEON Festival, which is hosted by the New Energy of Norfolk (NEON) Arts District. The annual autumn event celebrates energy, light, and art. The 2020 festival that would have marked the unveiling of Jacob’s work was postponed due to COVID-19. Despite this, the public caught its first glimpse of the piece during a virtual unveiling when the festival would have occurred. It was Jacob’s way of honoring the NEON festival and bringing light and happiness to 2020. (Jump to 3:52 to see the unveiling!)

To see more of Matt Jacob’s work, follow him on Instagram @matt_jay_art. Visit neonnfk.com to preview other contemporary artworks found throughout the NEON District.

 

From the Collection