On a recent Wednesday, scratch that, “WINDSday,” a crowd gathered near the corner of West Avenue and 23rd Street in Newport News at the newly established Yard District for a dedication ceremony involving a kinetic sculpture titled Fluidity, which was unveiled by the city last year.
The contemporary piece was created by British artist Will Carr to enhance the space it inhabits by reflecting the world around it and reacting to new weather conditions with a variety of different movements.
Calling it his “most ambitious kinetic wind sculpture so far,” Carr noted in a press release that his goal was “to bring a sense of joy to its viewers with its ever-changing flow of energy.” That “flow of energy” is exactly what caught the attention of WINDSdays.com, a group of local citizens leading a movement to build a culture around clean energy, a green environment and the power of wind, all inspired by a pair of large wind farm projects slated to be installed off the coasts of Virginia Beach and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
“What I have been doing for the past year and a half or so is trying to raise awareness of offshore wind,” said Joel Rubin, founder and director of WINDSdays.com at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Some of you are probably aware of some of this, but right now, 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach are two 500-foot wind turbines that are creating electricity for about 3,000 homes. The plan is to add 176 more—covering almost 130 square miles of ocean out there, which will create enough energy for 660,000 homes. That’s a quarter of the homes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Also present at the event to support the growing Newport News Yard District were City of Newport News Vice Mayor Saundra Nelson Cherry who provided opening and closing remarks; Kate Pittman, Executive Director of the ViBe District in Virginia Beach; Michelle Wren, Executive Director of the Portsmouth Partnership; Chris Tillett and Erica Spencer from Hampton Economic Development; and Diana Burke, Executive Director of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association and Board Member of the Chesapeake Leadership Alliance.
“Thank you to all of the partners and colleagues from our surrounding districts for joining us here today,” said Vice Mayor Cherry. “These leaders have created vibrant, energetic hot spots in their cities to create places where people want to go, enjoy and unwind. That’s what we’re doing here today in our own Yard District. Whether you are visiting for dinner and drinks, a picnic in the park, a pick-up football game on the Super Block, or watching the sun set on the James River, we believe everyone can find something to enjoy here.”