New Greenway murals celebration

New Greenway Mural

Neighbors, volunteers, and greenway users are encouraged to attend a public celebration of three new murals in Roanoke’s southeast portion of the Roanoke River Greenway: Saturday, Oct. 22 from 11 am-12noon at Burlington Park located at 13 Street Bridge, Benington Street located in Southeast Roanoke. 

Three murals now enliven the underside of two bridges at two well-used neighborhood greenway access points. Local artist Jon Murrill created the large works with the help of neighbors who were encouraged to sign up through the I Heart SE community network and from high school students enlisted by the Patrick Henry High School art teacher.

Covering the supports of the 9th street and the 13th street bridges are colorful images of native birds, community icons, and even a street map of the Southeast neighborhood.

 “We’re so pleased with the project,” says Roanoke Arts Commission Chair Meighan Sharp. “In the Year of the Artist, we’re actively demonstrating the role of community-driven, artist-led projects in making Roanoke an even better place. Jon did much more than putting paint on a wall. He helped dozens put a positive fingerprint on the community around them.”

 

More than 50 volunteers participated in the painting of the bridges between the July 4th weekend and the end of September. The artist provided the design, leadership, active on-site coordination, and implementation of the detailed work.

New Greenway Mural

“It’s been one of my largest and most rewarding projects to date,” says Murrill. Many of his murals to date have been interior works commissioned by private businesses. “I really enjoyed working with others,” says the artist, “and I plan to do more projects that engage others in the process.”

“This entire project was a fit for our neighborhood from start to finish,” says Sunni Purviance, the lead of the community engagement and action network, I Heart SE. We worked with the Roanoke Arts Commission in applying for funding and students from Roanoke College helped us explore potential themes. Neighborhood residents identified potential goals for the project helped select the artist and had a lot of fun painting. And on Saturday, we’re making chili for our wrap party. It shows how much we love SE.”

The $20,000 project was funded by the City of Roanoke through the Percent for Art Program with matching funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Saturday’s event will take place at the Bennington Park Trailhead. Light refreshments will be provided and Mayor Sherman Lea is expected to attend. Volunteers and supporters will gather for a group picture in celebration of the civic energy through which our neighborhoods and community become their best.