Is “The Wave” a sculpture to love? Weigh in on local public monuments

The Wave Monument - Virginia Beach“The Wave” – is the newest public art moment in Virginia Beach, dedicated in October 2013, at a commemoration of the City’s fifty year anniversary.  It is located in the center of the new round-about on Laskin Road where automobile traffic disperses to resort areas to the North and South.

I see it as a disappointment.  It is difficult to see in the context of its surroundings that is open roadways; it is almost transparent to fast moving vehicles passing by.  As a sculpture it falls below the artistic prominence on display at the recent North American Sand Sculpture contest.

Public monuments should contribute to a sense of place identity for residents and visitors.  The scale of a place can range from a neighborhood to a district, all the way to a major city or port.  The Statue of Liberty is widely recognized public monument that is unique, historical and architecturally significant.   The colorful dolphin statues in various commercial sites around the city serve a similar purpose on a much smaller scale.

The value of a well chosen statue or sculpture, placed in a strategic place of identification can provide a huge benefit to a locality.  Some are better than others.  This blog is intended to invite feedback of what the citizens of Virginia Beach think of the success of some of the local landmark monuments in that city.

Here are some criteria for consideration of what makes a successful public monument.

  1. WILL IT BECOME VENERABLE – Will it become a memorable symbol to a wide number of people, locals and visitors alike?
  2. THEME – Is it artistically pleasing to the eye, easily associated with the place that it is intended to represent?
  3. HISTORICAL VALUE – Is it significant to the local history of a place or person(s) in its history?
  4. SIZE – Is it dimensionally appropriate to the scale of its surroundings?
  5. SAFETY – Is it positioned for prominent view, accessible without being disruptive to activities around it?

Probably the most important criterion is WILL IT BECOME VENERABLE?  Here are some public monuments in Virginia Beach to be compared for as a success as a symbol of the Virginia Beach?


King Neptune – 34-foot bronze of mythical god of the sea, located on the boardwalk at 31st Street.

Virginia Legends Walk – located at the oceanfront in 13th Street pedestrian park to honor Virginians who have made a significant contribution to the nation and world.

Naval Aviation Monument – three bronze statues displaying eras of naval aviation, located in a pedestrian park at the intersection of 25th Street and Atlantic Ave.

Veterans Memorial – a series of stone planks with a water feature, located at the South Parking Lot of the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Norwegian Lady, a 9-foot bronze of a Norwegian woman commemorates the sinking of the “Dictator”, located at boardwalk at 25th Street.


“The Wave” – the newest public art monument, located in the center of the new round-about on Laskin Road where automobile traffic disperses to resort strip to the North and South. How does this new monument compare?

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2 Responses to “Is “The Wave” a sculpture to love? Weigh in on local public monuments”

  1. Geri C says:

    When I visit an area I constantly look for local monuments to use as backgrounds for our pictures and this certainly wouldn’t be on my list. Besides it design, it location is unsafe and there is no access to the site. With the city looking to make budget cuts, this seems like a poor choice for our tax dollars. At least use a local artist and give us monument we can be proud of.

  2. Kendall says:

    WOW – check out this article. Burger King must love The Wave! I hope the City of VB doesn’t force BK to move their sign. Now when people photograph this monument at night, the focal point will be the BK sign. Way to go VB.



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