The Art of Data

The City of Norfolk’s CivicLab seeks to commission approximately 10 artists to design and create artwork for exhibition that represents datasets in Norfolk's Open Data Portal as art.

The City of Norfolk’s Open Data Portal contains over 50 datasets that can be freely used by anyone. The goal of the Open Data Portal is to spark innovation, encourage community collaboration, improve transparency, and assist with data- informed decision-making. The datasets represent data from a variety of aspects of the city such as animal adoptions, annual expenditures and revenues, fire-rescue inspections, library circulation statistics, tall weeds and grass complaints, police activity and more.

The Art of Data is a unique way the city plans to engage residents. By using art to interpret the datasets, we hope to grow both the number of visitors to the portal and to improve the public’s interaction and understanding of data. We will accomplish this goal by working with artists to transform datasets into art, a visual medium that is more accessible and understood by all. Art is a great equalizer that anybody can enjoy. And, transforming data into art allows people who might be intimidated by data to experience it through a different lens.

Through The Art of Data, artists will translate city data into something that is creative, self-evident, and beautiful. The works of art created can illustrate what residents love about this city or what needs to change. It may also provide a perspective on city issues many have never encountered.

Artists will have an opportunity to meet with CivicLab and Norfolk Arts staff to review datasets available for this project.

Check out this video that details a similar art and data project sponsored by Kansas City, MO.

Project Details


Open to all artists. Hampton Roads artists are especially encouraged to apply. Artists will grant the City a notarized copyright waiver for the use of their artwork for the gallery and for print and promotional use. Artists will be credited for their work. Submit a high-resolution digital image of original artwork. There is no fee to apply.


The initial installation of the artwork will be at the Slover Library for the launch/opening of the show. It will remain at this site for thirty days and will be re-installed in the lobby of Norfolk City Hall for six months.


Artists are responsible for the delivery and retrieval of artwork to and from both locations. The City of Norfolk will not be responsible for any shipping costs. Artists with artwork requiring special installation will assist in installation at both gallery locations.


All sizes and mediums will be accepted.


$1,500.00 will be awarded for each selected artwork. The committee may select more than one piece from a single artist.


November 1, 2022, 5:00 PM EDT.

Submit on-line in a single email to  Include “The Art of Data” in the subject line.

Submissions may also be delivered to Norfolk City Hall, 810 Union Street, Suite 607, Norfolk, VA 23510.


  • Artist statement and CV or resume. 
  • Information about the subject of the work and intent of your exhibition. 
  • Title of the dataset which is to be portrayed in the work of art. 
  • 5-10 JPEG or PNG images that accurately represent the work that will be created for this exhibition. 
  • An image list that includes title, medium, dimension and year work was completed.

Please label everything with your name and contact information. 

CALENDAR: Subject to change.

September 30, 2022, 10:00 AM EDT, information webinar on data available in the Open Data Portal. Attendance is optional for artists considering participation. Register for the webinar here.

November 1, 2022, 5:00 PM EDT time, submittal due date and time

December 1, 2022, selection announced

March 22, 2023, completion of art installation and gallery opening at the Slover Library. The City of Norfolk will host an opening reception, create, and print 10 invitations for your use, prepare artwork labels, and advertise on social media.

Artwork may be on display for up to five years.


Selections will be awarded based on factors including but not limited to how well the idea fulfills the goals of the project, aesthetic value and creativity. Additionally, the city will consider the diversity of beliefs, values and general standards of decency of the residents of Norfolk.


Questions about this project may be directed to Alan Boring.


Phone: 757.630.2229