ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As murals continue to spread across the Star City, a project is hoping to bring the community together with activities, performances, workshops, and art.

On May 24th, the City of Roanoke received a $75,000 ‘Our Town’ award grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help fund the ‘Arts Connect Neighborhoods’ project, a collaborative initiative to engage residents and strengthen neighborhoods through art. The city says the award was one of 57 grants nationwide that the NEA has approved in the Our Town category.

But the funds didn’t stop there, the city matched the award bringing the total to $150,000 to complete the project.

“The timing is important. We’re still regrouping from the pandemic, and our
neighborhoods are looking toward the future in a new era. The way we participate has
changed, and together we’ll explore new ways to bring neighbors together and to foster
a strong sense of belonging,” said Roanoke Arts Commission Chair Meighan L. Sharp.

The project developed through the Roanoke Arts Commission and Roanoke Cultural Endowment partnership and will engage both independent artists and established arts organizations in providing arts-based services. From music performances to creative classes, Roanoke Cultural Endowment Chair, David Wine, says a project like this is not something that he has seen somewhere else.

“We expect to see a broad spectrum of arts activity happening all across the city,”
said Wine. “This project will develop a new resource for our arts organizations and for our neighborhoods.”

An Arts Connect Neighborhoods catalog will be created in Fall 2023 for the community to select events.