Ocean View Arts comprises Meryl Ann Butler’s personal creative studio, a classroom for art instruction and events, and gallery space. Classes are offered for students age 16 and up, and private lessons are available for all ages. Located on the second floor of the large yellow building across from the former Greenie’s site (at Ocean View Avenue and First View St.) OVA is open for students when classes are in session, as well as by appointment.
In addition to private and group art instruction, OVA hosts an annual Student and Instructor Exhibition. The event is free and open to the public and features demos and over 100 artworks on display.
Andria McClellan, Norfolk City Council Superward 6, says, “Ocean View Arts is a hidden gem of Norfolk’s vibrant arts scene. It offers world class art instruction in a cozy setting overlooking the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. Whether a beginner or an experienced artist, students will enjoy a unique, memorable experience at Ocean View Arts.”
Meryl Ann is an award-winning professional artist and Renaissance woman – she is a an internationally exhibited fiber artist, graphic designer, best-selling author and managing editor of an online news blog where her hundreds of articles, which include a series on Norfolk and other series on the arts, have had over 2 million views. She is listed in the World’s Who’s Who of Women.
Meryl Ann is also a sought-after book editor, taking a limited number of clients per year. She has been a labyrinth builder since 1992, and is a founding member of the international Labyrinth Society. In the 1980’s, she was a citizen diplomat, initiating art- related projects in Sister Cities in both Norway and Odessa, and she traveled to the USSR on a speaking tour where she presented lectures to Russian artists about creating peace through art. Meryl Ann’s artwork is in collections around the world, including: HH the late Swami Satchidananda’s LOTUS Temple in Buckingham, VA; the late Hon. Nelson Mandela, the Hon. and Mrs. Dennis Kucinich, Dr. Norman Shealy, Dr. Caroline Myss, Dr. Patch Adams, City Hall in Moss, Norway, and the University of Peace in Costa Rica, among others.
Meryl Ann has taught at a variety of institutions including Learning Tree University in Los Angeles, Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM; Jewish Community Center of Tidewater, and, at Virginia MOCA, (including in its original location in the former WW2 barracks!) As a quilt artist and instructor, she has taught at the largest quilting conferences around the US. She has designed several curricula for art study,
As a young art student, Meryl Ann studied for seven years in New York with Harold Stevenson, who was a student of Norman Rockwell and Frank Reilly. This artistic lineage descends directly from a line of classically-trained French Academicians who are represented in the world’s best museums, including Jacques Louis David and Francois Boucher. Howard Pyle, known as America’s Father of Illustration, is also in the OVA direct lineage. The most valuable methods of the Old Masters have always been passed down from teacher to student in atelier settings, and the opportunity to obtain this type of academic training is rare – students might expect to travel to Philadelphia or NYC for comparable training. OVA brings a unique opportunity for classical art training to the Ocean View and greater Tidewater community.
Meryl Ann’s first art school, “Butler Art Studios” operated in Louisiana from 1974-1983, and closed only upon her relocation. After several decades of creating commissioned art, private teaching, writing, single mothering and caring for an elderly parent, she reopened her art school as Ocean View Arts in Norfolk on Sept, 27, 2016 — exactly 33 years and one day after her husband’s death in a plane crash, which was the event that closed her first school.