Vintage stylized photo of paintbrushes closeup and artist palettBy Robert Fries, CAPP

We can all agree that parking garages can be utilitarian, stark, and visually unappealing at times. Whether it is design, cost constraints, or construction limitations, function can override form and result in a structure without its own unique character or a lively and inviting sense of place. While many new garages are blending art with design features or multicolored murals that depict meaningful events or cultural icons of the community, there is another method to accomplish this same thing within existing garages.

The City of Virginia Beach has a garage that services a major hotel brand located at the oceanfront area close to the boardwalk. 16-12-06-picBeside the hotel is an iconic statue of King Neptune, where our tourists often capture a family photo commemorating their great vacation experience here.

To enliven an uninviting stairwell across from the hotel, we contacted a local sign company to place an image of the King Neptune statue on the risers of the first flight of stairs leading into the garage. The cost was relatively cheap and the art was very easy to install. Now King Neptune has pepped up the boring stairwell and is catching our tourists’ attention. It shouldn’t be long until their selfies starting flooding Facebook!

Robert Fries, CAPP, is parking manager with the City of Virginia Beach.