The Chrysler Museum Inaugurates its New Sculpture Park in Downtown Norfolk with a Whimsical Artwork
NORFOLK, Va. (Oct. 5, 2020) – The Chrysler Museum of Art is breaking ground this week on a new sculpture park at the intersection of Brambleton Avenue and Yarmouth Street. Jumbo Wumbo Technico, a vibrant 32-foot sculpture by Richmond artist Tommy Fox, will anchor the space. Installation will be complete by Oct. 31. Jumbo Wumbo Technico was commissioned by a generous group of donors and gifted to the Museum by J. Douglas Perry; Thomas L. Stokes, Jr. and Joseph T. Waldo with support from Thomas W. Godfrey, Jr.; Colonna’s Shipyard, Inc.; John E. Payne, Jr. and Thom White, Work Program Architects. Colonna’s Shipyard produced the “trunk” and “branches” of the structure at their facility.
The sculpture park sits at the transition point between Ghent, the NEON District, and Freemason and will serve as a southern gateway to the Museum campus, signaling the proximity of the Museum to passersby and inviting them to visit. “The Chrysler Museum is excited to install a bright and whimsical element for the community to enjoy. The importance of establishing a work of art and signage that directs people to the Chrysler Museum from Brambleton Avenue has long been recognized as a priority. During an extensive review process, we have enjoyed support from the community as well as several organizations, including the Ghent Civic League, NEON District, Downtown Norfolk Civic League, Norfolk Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission and Norfolk City Council. We are delighted to beautify this area of Norfolk,” said Museum Director Erik Neil.
Committee members who commissioned the sculpture were drawn to the artist’s creativity, inquisitiveness and collaborative nature. Fox’s primary focus has been on whimsy, adventure and the rewards of looking closely, which appealed to the donors. Jumbo Wumbo Technico is the first large-scale piece for the artist, who usually works in paint and mixed media. He describes his work for the Chrysler as “a lofty whimsical tower” that uses color theory and visual contrast to create a design that is bright, accessible and pleasing to all.
“Whether the viewer spends a moment looking up or an afternoon in the grass, I encourage them to ponder happily and dream with abandon,” he said. “Living in a world that is increasingly skeptical of old systems and values, I felt the need to incorporate modern colors and materials at the forefront. The playful symbols—affectionately called ‘splox’—are open to interpretation rather than prescribed to the history of one man or one war. In the place of severe, imposing reminders of a past that didn’t always offer equity or accessibility, I hope to relate a vision of joyful fellowship and boundless possibility.”
The Chrysler will celebrate the artist, donors and partners who made this project possible during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 31 at 11 a.m.
ABOUT THE CHRYSLER MUSEUM OF ART
The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. The Museum has growing collections in many areas and mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs each season. The Chrysler has also been recognized nationally for its unique commitment to hospitality with its innovative gallery host program.
The Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-the-art facility on the Museum’s campus. The studio offers programming for aspiring and master artists alike in a variety of processes including glassblowing, fusing, flameworking, coldworking and neon.
In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers the Moses Myers House, a historic house in downtown Norfolk, as well as the Jean Outland Chrysler Library. For more information on the Chrysler Museum of Art, visit chrysler.org.
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