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City Dedicates First “Artsy” Bus Shelter

The new bus shelter was already in use during its dedication on a cold rainy Monday.
The new bus shelter was already in use during its dedication on a cold rainy Monday.

The City of Roanoke, the Greater Roanoke Transit Company (GRTC) operating as Valley Metro, and the Roanoke Arts Commission dedicated the first of two collaborative public art bus shelters on Grandin Road near the entrance to Patrick Henry High School. The Patrick Henry High School Band was scheduled to provide music for the occasion but had to decline due to a cold steady rain.

A unique feature of this public art project is the collaboration among the city, Valley Metro and Roanoke City Public Schools, and the opportunity given to high school art students to participate in the process. Artists applied for the project through a Request for Proposals issued by the city and the GRTC, in which they were asked to outline how they would work with high school students to create a design for a unique bus shelter near each city high school. The selection panel reviewed the responses and recommended Ed Dolinger based on his artistic and teaching experience. Mr. Dolinger worked with the students of Patrick Henry High School art teacher Jennifer Fowler in the spring of 2008 to design the shelter.

Dolinger, a painter and sculptor who resides in Bassett, Va., studied at the Corcoran School of Art and currently serves as adjunct faculty at Hollins University. His public art commissions include the Salt Lake City Library; the Park City, Utah, Transit Center; and the Lynchburg Children’s Museum. He was the founder and director of MetroArts, a nonprofit community arts facility in Salt Lake City, prior to returning to Virginia in 2000. Dolinger is represented in public and private collections across the country and has received numerous fellowships and awards. His work recently received the Best in Show award at the 2009 City Art Show. He is a partner in Dialog Gallery in downtown Roanoke.

The city’s public art program is funded by a Percent for Art Ordinance as a way to provide public art in city neighborhoods and public places to reflect Roanoke’s vibrancy and heritage. The fund is comprised of one percent of the budgets of certain projects in the city’s capital improvement program. Public art policies and decisions are guided by the 15 volunteer members of the Roanoke Arts Commission, with final approval from City Council.


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