For almost 30 years, the Hope House Foundation has hosted the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival bi-annually, every third weekend in May and October, in an attempt to bring art, music and food to the Norfolk community.
Located in Ghent’s Stockley Gardens Park, the festival also raises money to help pay for the housing, transportation and medical care for people with intellectual disabilities.
The park, divided into three blocks, was filled with art exhibits, live music performances and venders on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20. This fall, the arts festival was centered on the theme “Girls Rock!” and featured all female music groups.
Throughout Saturday and Sunday, festival attendees were able to enjoy live performances from groups like Mad Kitty, D*NIK, Red Stapler, Gina Dalmes & the Cowtippin’ Playboys, Skye Zentz, Raunch Star, JoAnne Lynne and The Hissy Fits.
All musical acts performed on the Main Stage located near Olney Rd. Each group provided attendees a unique approach to their respective genres thus adding to the festival emphasis on diversity.
Festival attendees also were able to view a number of art exhibits. Each fall the festival honors college artists with the opportunity to showcase their work and with various scholarships and awards. Multiple awards were given out at Saturday’s evening’s artist’s reception. All winners can be found on the Hope House’s website.
Since the festival is all inclusive, there were many children’s activities as well. Younger community members were able to participate in events like Abrakadoodle, which allowed children to create their own art work. They also were able to view Bobby the Clown’s magic performance, Marquita Lyon’s salsa routines and STAHR Suzuki Violin Group’s string ensemble.
Hope House made sure that attendees would have food and beverages to complement their thirst for art and culture. Festival attendees were able to indulge in Belmont House of Smoke’s BBQ, Eat A Pita and Cogan Pizza. Hawaiian Sno, Ben & Jerry’s and Green Mountain Kettle Korn also were vending at the festival this past weekend. Attendees also were able to indulge in a beer garden that featured a variety of brews.
Since 1964, Hope House has been actively working within the Hampton Roads community to provide those with intellectually disabilities the necessities needed for day to day life, while also providing support unique to each individual. The Stockley Gardens Arts Festival is meant to bring awareness to the Hope House’s mission while also honoring local artists, musicians and inventors and celebrating the community.
By Dominique Bailey
Arts &Entertainment Editor