Children and adolescents will learn to relieve stress, manage addictions, or improve symptoms of anxiety and depression once in therapy with professionals. According to the American Art Therapy Association, they may even relieve stress by engaging with public art. In 2019, the Institute invested in nonprofit philanthropy that it expects will one day produce such positive change among Ocean View families.
Norfolk Arts continues to develop and plan its first public art work in Ocean View at Bay Oaks Park for families. A second piece of public art is a work in progress planned for Ocean View Beach Park in 2021, thanks to a partnership with nonprofit Coastal VA Plein Air.
The Institute supported Coastal VA Plein Air's 2019 Ocean View festival of nationally renowned “en plein air” artists. Scores of residents and visitors observed artists sketching or painting scenes out in the open air in Ocean View and throughout the southside.
The festival included a ticketed Art Patrons Gala and a public art show in Ocean View, attended by art lovers from around the southside. Ticket purchasers, event sponsors, and a 30% commission on the sale of fine art produced or commissioned during the festival raised $25,208 – which triggered matching funds from Norfolk Arts and its commissioning of a sculpture for Ocean View Beach Park.
“An emotional connection develops when you approach a piece of art. Children will even climb on public sculpture if it’s accessible. It speaks to each of us individually,” said Monica Van Dyke Johnson, co-chair of Coastal VA Plein Air.
In 2019, the Institute also continued its annual investment, along with other patrons, in The Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters (CHKD) not-for-profit fundraising via the East Beach Circle of The King’s Daughters, which "raises funds, friends and awareness" for CHKD.
The Circle’s seventh Barefoot on the Beach evening event to benefit CHKD, attended by hundreds from around Hampton Roads, raised $27,082 earmarked for an approved $224 million CHKD pediatric mental health facility to be completed in 2022. It will specifically address a looming shortage of CHKD mental health care for area children and adolescents with special value for Ocean View.
Every day, three to five children from the southside and beyond come to CHKD’s emergency department in need of a mental health evaluation. That number is expected to double in the coming years straining current resources. Another 15 to 20 calls per day request a mental health evaluation or counseling. Some young patients who have multiple health issues can’t be treated locally and often are transferred to facilities beyond Norfolk that could put extra burden on Ocean View families.
“No child or adolescent in Ocean View who seeks medical care for mental health, a current crisis, for primary care or any medical condition is ever turned away from CHKD,” said Donna Cowdrey, a director on The King’s Daughters board of directors. “CHKD’s mental health facility will significantly expand treatment. More Ocean View families will be able to receive exceptional care right here in Norfolk.”
An Eileen Gay mosaic sculpture, similar to one planned for Ocean View Beach Park in 2021.