About
Cliff Page was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of a  career Naval Officer. As a young wog, only two years old, he became a shell-back in a fierce gale crossing the Equator aboard a Navy transport carrying his family to Panama. The salt spray of the ocean and the white foam of a swallowing wake would permeate his memory and his love of the sea, while the sounds of Latin voices and music would soon resonate in his ears and later he would become versed in both Spanish and Italian. He spent his youth living in Naval seaports on our nations eastern and western shores. While his father was first stationed at the NNSY, he attended Simonsdale and  Cradock Jr. High School and in the 7th grade he wrote his first term paper on the history of the Shipyard, using 19th century historical volumes from the shipyard library for his research. He supplemented his meager allowance picking up pop bottles along the waterfront and dry-docks and selling newspapers to sailors and shipyard workers aboard ships and on the piers. He graduated from High School in Naples, Italy, and traveled in Europe extensively. While living in San Francisco in 1968, following the Tet Offensive, he was drafted into the US Army. He was trained combat arms and as a radio mechanic and electronics technician for a year. He then volunteered for assignment in Vietnam. There he served with the 34th Engineering Btn., 128th Brg., which was building QL 13, the highway connecting Ben Hoa to Parrots Beak on the Cambodian border, at the foot of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. With the Engineers he served as his company's Communication Chief, managing all their commo, electronic and mine sweeping equipment, and supervising the radio operators. He was awarded the Army Commendation for his performance.

In 1970, Cliff returned stateside and entered Old Dominion University. His earliest studies were in political science and international relations. At ODU he organized a five man team and developed an analytic survey concerning role perception and effectiveness of all the Mayors and Council members in the Hampton Roads Cities. All the team members became so jaded by the shallowness of the majority of the politicians they interviewed that they overwhelmingly turned their backs on politics to take up careers as writers, musicians, or in Cliff's case - artist and sculptor. While they all decided to follow more personally challenging but leaner and more precarious pursuits, their professor would use the findings of their analytic and emperical study as the nexus of his PHD dissertation. Yet, Cliff worked for the Old Dominion University Research Foundation and has continued to be engaged in political activities, but not as a career path. He has been actively involved in political affairs at various levels and in civic participation throughout his adult life. He was nominated to be one of the City’s Electors. While living in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Cliff was called upon to sit on advisory committees regarding the formation of the d'Art Center in Norfolk and in locating a gallery and work space for the Tidewater Artist Association and the Governor's Magnet School. The germ of his vision to revitalize the uptown section of Granby street with young art and dance students, would later take hold in a different but dynamic way, when TCC opened its Downtown Norfolk Campus there, which accomplished his ideas in spades.

Cliff's artistic talents were recognized early on by his grammar school teachers, but he only attended one high school art class. His knowledge and skills in the arts were early on achieved by auto-didactically, and by working under private tutors who thought him to paint in oil beginning when he was thirteen, and by visiting the great art museums of the world. At Old Dominion University he was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in four rather than five years and also studied at Norfolk State. He then went on to take graduate courses in Mexico and received his Masters of Fine Arts from East Carolina University in Greenville in two years rather than three (with a 3.75 GPA). In Mexico he studied at the Instituto National de Bellas Artes and had solo and group exhibitions in various cities there. In the city of Delores Hidalgo he showed his work with Jose Louis Cuevas, Mexico's leading painter. The President of Mexico visited that exhibition. At East Carolina University he organized the students of the Gray School of Art into the Visual Arts Forum, which became the largest student visual arts organization in the country. He was elected to be its first President. At the time, East Carolina had the second largest student funds of any university in the country, right behind UCLA. Until Cliff fought for funding for the School of Arts, they had never received a dime. By the time he graduated they were sharing the largest portion of the budget with the well established Music School. He became the only student, ever elected by the faculty, to serve on the Dean’s Advisory Committee. He was the Chair of the Visual Arts Forum’s Budget Committee for two years. As the Chairman of the Symposium Committee, for two years, he organized and managed two semester long art events each year, of regional and national importance, offering visiting artist workshops, film presentations, visiting lecturers by critics and authors and artists, and sending students to professional conferences as far away as Toronto. He also saw that student funds were allocated to the support of the school’s art exhibitions in its new but unfunded gallery, and the purchase of new books for its new art library. At the same time he was tight with his budget requests and appropriated funds and demanded strict accountability and no waste.  He was scrupulous in finding the best "bang for the buck".

In the summer of 1977 Cliff Page was the Sculptor in Residence at Portsmouth's Art Center where he spent three months carving a marble sculpture in the open air, next to the Olde Courthouse. In 1979 he returned to Portsmouth and purchased the old Portsmouth Boiler and Iron Works, which he turned into his studio and foundry. It had been vacant and condemned for seven years, until he restored it to life. The neighborhood was red lined by the City, high in crime and suffering from civic neglect. Cliff worked to clean up the neighborhood, make it safer for everyone in the uptown district and for Ida Barbour, and put away the criminals that trolled its streets. He organized a neighborhood petition to the Council for sidewalks (something promised, but still thirty five years later undelivered), worked with the City Engineers to change out all the street lamps to high crime sodium vapor bulbs and strategically add street light poles, and correct the flooding of the streets in the Uptown Business District. He fought to see that the Health Department, Environmental Inspections and PRHA cleaned up the neighborhood and started doing their job. Nothing came easy, as criminality and public neglect were institutionalized acceptable behavior. Blight was the public and private norm. Cliff still owns and operates his studio and also purchased the old National Printers building on High Street in the same block. He spent ten years restoring that building, which was one of the three finest pieces turn-of-century commercial architecture in the uptown.

In 1980 Cliff Page was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to Milan, where he worked in the studios of Italy's most famous living sculptor and perfected the mastery of his preferred artistic medium - bronze. He worked in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in both the Foundry and the Pattern Shops and ran the Navy's wood shop at NOB and built foundries and did lost wax casting in both Mexico, Virginia and North Carolina. But in Italy he worked alongside some of the greatest art foundry masters in Italy, but also honed his skills there in a precision casting artisan foundry. On his return to Portsmouth he designed and cast the 30 sculpture Awards for Portsmouth's first Notables presentation. For two summers Cliff worked with Portsmouth High School students in his studio and at Manor High School as part of the City's "Able and Ambitious - Gifted and Talented Program", he has also worked with a number of interns in his studio that were referred to him from Norfolk or the Virginia Beach Schools and also with college students. He has taught students, in various subjects, at every age level from Montessori and K-1 to University level. He has been a juror of regional and state wide art competitions and gallery group shows.

Cliff was instrumental in bringing to Mayor Holley the City’s need for a Percentage for the Arts and on his suggestion an ad hoc committee was formed and money was appropriated for the sculpture in front of Willet Hall and a mural in the Social Services Building. Unfortunately the purpose of the Committee to create a long standing Percentage for the Arts Fund supporting public art and artists failed, and the City still has no long term plan regarding maintenance of its public monuments or art. Nor does it have any strategic plan to acquire or place public art in the City for its beautification as part of any kind of urban master plan.

Cliff served as a Charter member of the D-1 Downtown Design Review Committee for five years and also has participated in every Design Consultancy that has been brought into the City concerning the Downtown. At the same time, he has also followed the developments and conditions of other areas in the City.

When no one was even contemplating light rail, high speed trains, street cars or trolleys and the regional communities had not yet even starting to adopt motorized bus-trolleys in Hampton Roads and in Richmond, Cliff Page, in the early eighties, was promoting all of these intra-modal means of transportation and urging early adoption. He spoke out against the second Midtown Tunnel beginning in the late eighties and promoted the third crossing as a very needed regional transportation and intra-modal maritime trade solution. He still urges the adoption of these means of transportation and strongly supports a high speed train centeral terminal in Portsmouth.

In 1989-90 Cliff Page was appointed to the Faculty of Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, which at the time was that nations most elite and prestigious school of higher education. The following year he was a finalist for a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar position and a first alternate for an Indo-American Research Scholarship to the National Institute of Design in Delh .  He was offered the sculptor position in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, but turned it down to return to his studio in Portsmouth.  In the late 90's he began studying at the Portsmouth campus of TCC, learning Engineering, Architectural and Electronic Drafting, AutoCad and various 3D Modeling programs. He taught Drafting, Architecture, AutoCad and other subjects as a member of the TCC Va Beach faculty.  Cliff strongly believes in inquisitiveness, learning, study and above all academic and educational challenge and initiative. He has completed post graduate courses in Economics, Business Management, Marketing Management, Marketing, Sales Management and various other studies.

With the events of 9-11, and being too old to re-up with the military, his desire to serve his country once again, and the lore of the sea, drew him into the Merchant Marine. Between shipping out on large vessels and delivering or crewing sail boats he has crossed the Atlantic, sailed in the Mediterranean, Sea of Siam, Gulf of Mexico and all over the Pacific. His last adventure left him shipwrecked and pirated in the Sea of Campeche, in which he got out of Mexico with the shirt on his back, his life and enough memories to write a sea story.

Cliff understands the needs of merchant mariners and ocean shipping as well as what it takes to attract and entice sailors and ships to Portsmouth. As a Merchant Mariner, he was trained in shipboard fire fighting and therefore has a strong affinity and understanding respecting our City’s firefighters. Having held high level government security clearances and positions of classified responsibility and dealt with the City’s Police and Court systems for four decades, he understands discretion, public responsibility and the limitations and constraints of government authority and justice.

In 2015, Cliff was the Artist in Residence at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. While there he created a Commemorative plaque honoring the 150th Anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln and the 50th Anniversary of the Saint-Gaudens Site as the first NPS site honoring an American artist and still the only Federal site in the Department of Interior dedicated to an American sculptor. Saint-Gaudens NHS is the only sculptor in residency in the NPS.

Cliff Page has been all over the world, knows other cultures, speaks other languages, has seen how other people live - both the super rich and powerful and the very poor and destitute. He has witnessed corruption, tyranny, war and destitution, opulent wealth and grand beauty. He has lived in some of the most metropolitan cities on this globe, places most folks only dream of visiting and slept in a bunker and under the stars and in a berth on tossing seas. But, he has always returned to Portsmouth. He has watched this city change over a forty year period. He has studied its historical urban development and knows its future plans. He knows the back alleys of Naples and the boulevards of Milan and the hills of San Francisco, Rome and Istanbul, as well as the neighborhoods of Portsmouth. But, it is Portsmouth, where for most of his life he has rested his head at night. Cliff Page knows Portsmouth, its history, its people, the factors that make up its economy and the things that can bring it back to its once held position of vital importance and industry in Hampton Roads and in Virginia.

Cliff Page believes that the necessary leadership to bring about the changes that we must make as a City, to put us back on course, takes a progressive visionary mind not a bean counter, nor a back slapper, not a get-along-go-along jolly self promoter, or anyone with an external agenda, nor should it be anyone who has not been involved with our community for a very long time. Our Mayor at this juncture in our history should not be a government insider, but rather an outsider, with a broad fresh perspective, but with an insider’s knowledge, capable of leading. Cliff Page believes that a mayor must plot the course and set it, but that the wheel that maintains our bearing must be in the hands of a trusted manager, the helmsman, who keeps us on the designated course, to protect us from foundering. He believes that while a manager’s staff acts as specialized watch-standers on our voyage, dedicated to keeping us safe and out of peril, our common citizens are like a well seasoned crew who should be always vigilant to any peril and mindful of the survival of us all. The warning voices of the people are like a loyal crew whose backs drive the vessel forward, whose ideas and distentions should be heard and addressed, to assure that nothing is left overturned in determining the safest, most prudent and most profitable course that will benefit all of our citizens in this representative democracy. Portsmouth needs unity, direction, purpose and a more responsive and engaging form of government that will permit us to have a better, easier and more profitable life as we travel on our journey to the opposite shore. Moreover, at this juncture in our history we need visionary leadership!