Newport News Public Art Foundation
Art has become a part of the fabric of Newport News. In a city as geographically and demographically diverse as ours, art is a force that brings people together, spurring them to compare reactions and share their ideas on “What is that about?” and “Do I like it?” Public art is very different than art in museums. It is on major streets, traffic circles, public land and highly-visible private property. Public art is always open, always free, always ready to bring beauty and inspiration, meaning and connection into our lives.
In 2016, Due by Japanese sculptor Masaru Bando marked the 19th piece of public art installed by the Newport News Public Art Foundation. Due is a beautiful 7-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a man and woman embracing, located in the Rose Garden at historic Huntington Park. This garden bursts into a carnival of color by early May and remains in bloom until late fall and is where many couples embark on a lifetime journey together through marriage. In Bando’s own words: “Thinking and working with the figure includes the understanding of the internal spiritual and physical essence of the human form as well as the expansion of the form into the surrounding space. That concept is the embodiment of the soul of some body or some thing. I want the sculptures to touch the viewer through their immediacy and expression. In the same way, I want the viewer to enliven the sculptures through touching.”
Due has a special connection to many people because it is dedicated in loving memory of Carol Capó, for her many contributions to the community and the Newport News Public Art Foundation. Carol served as Executive Director of the Foundation from 2011 to 2015. This project is a perfect example of the unusual and effective way we approach public art. Most public art programs are part of local government, focused on adding art to government projects, funded from an amount set aside from certain construction projects in the Capital Improvements Budgets. In Newport News, we embrace the partnership approach. For the installation of Due, the Foundation, City of Newport News, 15 business and foundation sponsors and 57 donors came together to make it possible. Through these actions, we are showing everyone that our community enjoys a city filled with sculpture, where public art is available to everyone, and where good things do indeed happen.