We were thrilled to catch up with Nina Goodale from the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department, and chat with her about the wonderful things they are doing in the arts community.
What does your business/organization do?
The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City’s Public Art Program, oversees the Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.
What sets your company/organization apart from others?
We are a full-service Cultural organization that is always working on something new to enhance our creative community. Whether it’s arranging the next award-winning public art installation, putting on concerts in the park, giving colonial history tours, supporting local arts organizations through grants and more, our Department is a major factor in developing the vibrant cultural backbone of Virginia Beach.
Where are you located?
Our Department’s main office is in the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, which is in the Town Center area of Virginia Beach. As we oversee the Virginia Beach History Museums, we also maintain the Francis Land House, Lynnhaven House, Thoroughgood House and the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum.
Can you share a brief history of your company/organization with us?
In 1979, the spirit of the arts had stirred a renaissance in our growing cosmopolitan community, and the Virginia Beach City Council established the Arts and Humanities Commission, which today supports hundreds of programs and activities that inspire, nurture and reflect our cultural diversity. In 1981, the Virginia Beach Community Orchestra, now known as Symphonicity, made its inaugural performance, and the Virginia Beach Pavilion Theater opened its doors to enthusiastic audiences. Recognizing the need for art in public places, the Virginia Beach City Council passed a resolution for a Percent for the Arts program in 1986 to commission or purchase artwork. The program was defunded in the 1990’s. However, in 2010, a grassroots group established the private, nonprofit Public Art Virginia Beach Foundation, which works with the City’s Public Art Committee to plan projects and commissioned its first sculpture at the Laskin Gateway to the resort area in 2012. Recently, the Office of Cultural Affairs became the Cultural Affairs Department when the Virginia Beach History Museums came into the fold in July 2019.
How did you get into this business?
I’ve been an artist and in the arts in one form or another my whole life, from practicing artists, educator, interior designer, community programming, to consulting. My work as the Public Art and Placemaking Coordinator for the city has let me do the best what I love in one career.
What drives you to succeed?
My daughters drive me to succeed and be the best example for them in everything I do.
What’s the most important thing you do? / What do you love most about what you do?
Connecting communities and people is at the heart of everything I do. When I can step back and watch those initiatives/activations not only come to fruition, but evolve and become something new, because of the community, is what I love most about what I do.
What is your passion?
My passion is to create moments of wonder, disruption, discovery, learning, connection, where it was hidden or never there before.
What’s your primary goal when attracting new business?
As a City Department, our goal is to provide Virginia Beach residents and visitors with arts, cultural and historical experiences that inspire, inform and connect communities. We strive to be a key part of why Virginia Beach is consistently listed as one of the best places to live, work and visit.
Can you share the funniest/craziest/most surprising story or experience you’ve had while doing what you do?
On our evening site walk to test the interactive lights for the piece “World Below the Brine” at Rudee Loop, we had the privilege of witnessing a wedding proposal under the canopy of the swaying glass lights.
How do you generate new ideas for your business?
Many of my ideas start with directly by listening to our communities and artists. I love to hear what inspires them, how public art can change or enhance their communities while telling their stories. I also keep a pulse on the incredible work that is happening around the world and find ways to bring these ideas here to VB.
How do you build a successful customer base?
We are consistently developing new ways to engage residents and visitors, as well as incorporating our key stakeholders throughout the community in important conversations. We know that if we continue to provide the meaningful experiences our residents and visitors crave, our audiences will only grow.
- For more information on the Virginia Beach Cultural Arts Center: www.vbpulicart.org
- FaceBook: Virginia Beach Arts and Virginia Beach History Museums
- Instagram: @vabeacharts and @vbhistorymuseums