Arts and Entertainment

Symphony & Climate Conversation

November 30 2023

Ryan Resilience Lab 4610 Colley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23508

Thursday, November 30 | 5:30-7:00pm, with optional tour of the Ryan Resilience Lab at 4:30pm followed by refreshments

Complimentary admission for ERP members

All are welcome – Suggested minimum donation $10 to support a healthy Elizabeth River though not required in our commitment to providing equitable access to our river-related programming


A curated ensemble of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra will begin the evening with an original symphony composed by Norfolk’s JJJJJerome Ellis tracing the Ryan Lab’s planned “wetland migration” as sea levels rise. Ellis is a award-winning and multi-disciplinary artist and proud stutterer whose music explores intersections of ecology, divinity, and disability and whose recent Aster of Ceremonies traces the archive of escaped slave advertisements. The setting will be a juried art show debuted earlier in the month, “All water has a perfect memory.”


Following the brief symphony, a diverse panel of experts in river histories and futures discuss how and why our waterways have changed through time, how they will continue to be reshaped by sea level rise, and our role as stewards in an urban watershed. Panelists will include Mary-Carson Stiff, Executive Director of Wetlands Watch, speaking on the nation’s first “rolling conservation easement,” to be put in place for the Ryan Resilience Lab to ensure its wetlands migrate upland with the rising seas; Walter Priest, a retired wetlands scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, often considered “the father of wetland restoration” in Virginia; Danielle Purifoy, co-curator of the art show, environmental lawyer, and geographer; and Robert McNab, Director of Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy at Old Dominion University, regarding his research on the coming economic impacts of Hampton Roads’ rising sea levels.

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