October is National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM)—a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. NAHM was launched by Americans for the Arts more than 30 years ago as National Arts Week in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, it was reestablished by Americans for the Arts and national arts partners as a month-long celebration, with goals of:
FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels;
ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts;
ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and
RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.
But what about public art?
Public art, according to the Association for Public Art, “can express community values, enhance our environment, transform a landscape, heighten our awareness, or question our assumptions. Placed in public sites, this art is there for everyone, a form of collective community expression. Public art is a reflection of how we see the world – the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are.”
Across the bay in Virginia Beach, Emily Labows, the director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Virginia Beach, said the city’s spirit and diversity is celebrated through its Community-Based Public Art Initiatives.
All of which are critical aspects of VB’s support of public art.
Virginia Beach’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $87.7 million in annual economic activity, which supports 2,875 full-time equivalent jobs while generating $7 million in local and state government revenues.
In our case, the wonderful statue of Wee Neptune on the Boardwalk is a perfect way to celebrate public art in Cape Charles.