The works of art commissioned and installed by the Newport News Public Art Foundation join a diverse body of public art that Newport News residents have enjoyed for many years. Here are some of the favorites among the pieces owned by museums, Christopher Newport University, the City of Newport News and private organizations. Take a driving tour of these favorites and the Foundation's collection by downloading a brochure developed by the Newport News Tourism Development Department and Newport News Public Art Foundation.
Herbert C. Adams
Site: Business entrance to The Mariners’ Museum, 100 Museum Drive
With mermaids and mermen, Neptune and a sea goddess, a sailor in a slicker and one wielding an oar, these bas-relief doors give a preview to the stories of men and the sea that are told in the galleries of The Mariners’ Museum. The doors were commissioned by the museum’s founder, Archer Huntington, and cast by the Gorham Manufacturing Company.
Anna Hyatt Huntington
Site: Intersection of Museum Drive and Museum Parkway
The Lion’s Bridge is a place where families feed the ducks, couples get engaged, and generations have enjoyed the peaceful spot where magnificent Mariners’ Museum Park meets the beautiful James River. Anna Hyatt Huntington, sculptor and wife of Mariners’ Museum founder Archer Huntington, created the four lions that guard the bridge atop the dam built in the 1930s to create Lake Maury, the centerpiece of park. Come Christmastime, the lions sport wreaths, courtesy of the museum’s Bronze Door Society.
Conquering the Wild
Sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington carved this depiction of a man engaged in a struggle to subdue a rearing horse. The four life-sized figures at the corners represent science, art, learning and industry. The sculpture marks one entrance to the 550 acre park surrounding The Mariners’ Museum, which was founded by her husband, Archer Huntington.
Leifr Eiriksson, Son of Iceland
Alexander Stirling Calder
Site: Entrance to The Mariners’ Museum Park, 100 Museum Drive
This valiant, striding figure is one of maritime history’s heroes. Leifr Eiriksson (the spelling is archaic, but it sums up the bloodline of this son of explorer Eirik the Red) is known for exploring a portion of the North American coast around 1000 AD.
This sculpture is a reproduction of one the United States Congress commissioned to present, on behalf of the people of the United States, to the people of Iceland on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the Icelandic parliament. It was installed in Reykjavik in 1932. A few years later a copy was commissioned for the Icelandic Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair; from the fair, it came to The Mariners’ Museum.
The sculptor is the second of three generations of Calders who have created public sculpture; his son is best known for his mobiles.
Collis P. Huntington
Anna Hyatt Huntington
Site: 26th Street and West Avenue
The town of Newport News was long established when it caught Collis Huntington’s eye (see Captain Christopher Newport, below). It was never the same, though, after Huntington dreamed of extending the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad through the Virginia Peninsula to carry coal from the Appalachians down to waiting ships; he then dreamed of a yard to build those ships.
Today, trains still rumble through Newport News to dump coal at the waterfront and colliers still pull up to take it on. The shipyard has grown into the sole builder of nuclear aircraft carriers for the Navy and one of two yards that builds nuclear submarines.
Before he turned his sights to Virginia, Huntington was one of the industrialists who built the transcontinental railroad that linked the nation and changed its history.
Captain Christopher Newport
Site: Intersection of Warwick Boulevard and J. Clyde Morris Boulevard
Another hero in bronze, this piece depicts the commander of the three ships that carried 105 men and boys the Virginia Company sent to the new world; they settled at nearby Jamestown. The city of Newport News and adjacent Christopher Newport University are named for him.
This piece stirred up some controversy — not unusual in a place where history is taken as seriously as it is in Virginia — because by the time Captain Newport sailed for Virginia, he had lost his right arm in battle, but the sculpture depicts him when he still had both.
Site: Virginia Living Museum, 524 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard
This exuberant boy welcomes visitors to one of the favorite places of Newport News children — and adults: the Virginia Living Museum. Installed in 2010, it is the latest addition to the city’s collection of public art.
Memorial to Fallen Police Officers and Firefighters
Bronze and stone
Figures by Neil Brodin
Site: City Hall, 2400 Washington Avenue
On either side of a plaque inscribed “In honor of the police officers and firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty” are the names of the “Fallen Heroes” of the Newport News Police Department and Fire Department. Dedicated on Memorial Day 1977, this piece features bronze figures of a uniformed police officer and a firefighter with respirator and axe.
Ralph A. Preas
Site: Intersection of West Avenue and 21st Street
In World War I, Newport News was teeming with soldiers who shipped out from this port of embarkation, and after the Armistice, the community prepared for the hundreds of thousands who would return through the city. To welcome them, the city erected a temporary Victory Arch in 1919 and mobilized citizens to greet every ship and all the troops who marched under the arch as they disembarked.
After athe second world war, the hastily-built temporary structure was replaced with a permanent arch, which is a memorial to all who served in the American armed forces during war. An eternal flame was added in 1969, a donation by the American Legion.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Site: Virginia War Museum, 9285 Warwick Boulevard
Like many communities, Newport News erected a memorial to honor those who served in the Vietnam War and to help the nation heal from the divisiveness and pain that war caused on the homefront. The flame is meant to symbolize hope for the return of the war’s missing and for peace for those who died. The surrounding area, designed by architect Carlton Abbott, invites people to pause and reflect.
Site: Virginia War Museum, 9285 Warwick Boulevard
Set in a quiet place among trees, the three figures in this sculpture are a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and to the courage of Holocaust survivors and camp liberators.
Polyester and Fiberglass
Site: Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital, 2 Bernardine Drive
The open arms of Christ welcome patients, staff and visitors to Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital and remind them of its healing ministry.
Use our interactive map as your guide to finding art throughout the city!
735 Thimble Shoals Boulevard, Suite 100
Newport News, VA 23606
The Newport News Public Art Foundation is grateful for the support of the Virginia Commission for the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts