Virginia Beach is known as a premier East Coast destination for fun, sun, and sea — but the city is also rich in both history and art. Here are the best places to get in on the cultural scene.
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Located about 10 minutes inland from the boardwalk in the emerging ViBe Creative District, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is the essential destination for art-lovers. And now is the perfect time to see what the small museum is capable of: the exhibit “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose” is a vibrant, museum-curated retrospective of the art magazine Hi-Fructose. This unique show features the works of more than 50 artists (including Shepard Fairey, founder of OBEY Clothing) across a variety of media—including sculpture, installation, painting, ceramics, and photography. “Turn the Page” runs until December 31.
The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum + Tinkham Decoys & Folk Art
Lined with high-rise hotels, Virginia Beach’s boardwalk might look modern at first glance — but nestled right in the middle of it all is some serious history. On the corner of 12th St. and Atlantic Ave., the quaint De Witt Cottage (built in 1895) houses the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, which exhibits artifacts from the area’s deep roots around hunting and the use of bird decoys. (The museum’s prized Whistling Swan decoy, carved in 1930 and worth $200,000, is a real sight to behold.) The museum also boasts its own carving room, where local artists-in-residence demonstrate the tricks of the trade. And if you see something you like, contemporary wildfowl art and carvings are also available for purchase, including from immensely talented local folk artist Spencer Tinkham, of Tinkham Decoys & Folk Art.
For further proof that Virginia Beach is a place to buy quality art, look no further than Igor’s Custom, located in the heart of the ViBe District (in The Alley behind Three Ships Coffee Bar and Roastery). Explore Igor’s quirky, colorful showroom, and score a retro yet undeniably stylish hand-painted sign from the man himself — or commission one! And for a larger-than-life example of Igor’s pristine work, check out the hand-painted logo and lettering on the front of Three Ships.