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The original item was published from 12/2/2019 3:09:58 PM to 12/24/2019 11:05:02 PM.

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Posted on: December 2, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Students from The Governor’s School for the Arts Design a Winter Wonderland Art Installation

Designed as part of MacArthur Center’s ongoing Live 360º community initiative.

Students from The Governor’s School for the Arts Design a Winter Wonderland Art Installation at MacArthur Center

NORFOLK, Va (December 2, 2019) The Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) students in Norfolk spent more than 400 total labor hours creating an art installation made of coffee filters, moss, mesh wiring, LED lights, and more. The installation, called Winter Tide, was specially designed as part of MacArthur Center’s ongoing Live 360º community initiative and is now open on the mall’s Level 2 next to Cream.

The Art Installation Class at the GSA is the first-of-its-kind, and offers students hands-on, real-world experience with installation art. As the newest addition to the center’s ongoing partnership with GSA, this installation began with the topics “holiday” and “winter,” and the students combined their ideas and decided to focus on the year-round importance of the bee population to the rest of the ecosystem.

The final product is a lush and mysterious landscape, with great care going into each detail, such as mushrooms which have the same kind of impact on the ecosystem as the bee population. The students added snow and special twinkling lights to make the piece feel cozy and inviting.

“Not a lot of people understand that doing visual displays for retail or commercial spaces involves intricate details,” said Nikki Leonne, instructor of the art installation class at GSArts. “I'm so privileged to work alongside these talented young artists. It took a lot of hard work in class and outside of class to be able to come up with such a detail-oriented display. The public should look forward to seeing some really amazing ideas coming out of these students in the future.”

The students were challenged by the size of the space, as each object was meticulously handmade. Each art piece, including the hardware and lighting, draws interest and invites the viewer to stay to examine each detail of the exhibit. Leonne teaches the students to focus on “compositional cues,” which guide the onlooker’s gaze to something new and interesting.

This project naturally used a large amount of materials to create, including:

  • 2,000 coffee filters
  • 48 ft. of fabric
  • 100 ft. wire mesh
  • 800+ LED lights
  • 240 styrofoam balls
  • 36 balloons
  • 5 lbs. preserved moss
  • 150 ft. polyester batting
  • 90 glue sticks
  • 500 sq. ft. cardboard
  • 416 total labor hours

“We’re just so pleased with what these students were able to create,” said Karen Husselbee, marketing director at MacArthur Center. “Our partnership with GSA has been so successful, and this alluring and wintery installation is a testament to that wonderful relationship. The community is going to love it.”

The art installation will be available until December 24, 2019.

GSA winter wonderland art exhibit on display

About The Governor’s School for the Arts
The Governor's School for the Arts (GSA) offers premiere arts training in Hampton Roads in six departments: Dance, Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre, Theater & Film, Visual Arts and Vocal Music. Each department trains students to develop in their art form with a focus on conservatory style study. The school serves students in grade 9 through grade 12 in the school divisions of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. The unique nature of the School provides a variety of arts experiences in both traditional and non-traditional environments. Each department creates a season of performances and exhibitions open to the public, and are held in professional theaters and galleries.

Learn more about GSA at its website,

About MacArthur Center
MacArthur Center, located on Monticello Avenue in downtown Norfolk, features one million square feet of retail offerings, including the region’s flagship Dillard’s department store. Shoppers can explore more than 120 stores including Apple, J.Crew, Michael Kors and Fink’s Jewelers. Entertainment and dining options occupy approximately 25 percent of the tenant mix.

MacArthur Center also offers Live 360°, an interactive program of classes, demonstrations, workshops and more allowing the community to actively engage around their interests.

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