Using art to celebrate community diversity on Roanoke River Greenway

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Celebrating the Roanoke River Greenway as a diverse and welcoming space has been the primary goal for the neighborhood and community leaders who have been guiding the Arches Project.

The project was the effort of the Roanoke Arts Commission that has engaged artists to rethink the overlooked, yet dramatic space beneath the bridge that straddles the Roanoke River Greenway upstream of Vic Thomas Park.

During much of 2019, several meetings with neighbors from Mountain View, Norwich, Raleigh Court, and Wasena neighborhoods have taken place that has involved working together to set goals for the Arches Project which included creating a gathering space, celebrate diversity, and engage a variety of ages in creating and enjoying art.

Components of the project include:

  • Local artist Polly Branch’s artistic overhaul of a historic sandbox, a reminder of the neighborhood playground that occupied the space in the first have of the twentieth century;
  • Local artist Daniel Kuehl’s work with Patrick Henry High School students to create murals replicating a neighborhood of homes on the bridge footers; and
  • Free, interactive performances by professional actors from Roanoke Children’s Theatre and giveaways of four children’s books that celebrate the welcoming, diverse, and inclusive nature of our community

The four free performances will take place in a COVID-19-responsible manner on each Saturday in September.

  • Sept. 5 – Mixed by Arree Chung
  • Sept. 12 – Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, Welcoming Week Launch!
  • Sept. 19 – The Family Book by Todd Parr, Welcoming Week
  • Sept. 26 – Dream Big Little One by Vashti Harrison

Welcoming Week in Roanoke runs from Sept. 12-20. Find events surround Welcoming Week by clicking here.

The Arches Project was funded by the City of Roanoke and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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