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Green Art Project: Artists Invited To Submit Designs For Big Belly Solar Compactors

Innovative Big Belly Solar Trash Units.

The City of Roanoke has announced a call for artists for a new public art project that is a collaboration between the Roanoke Arts Commission, the Neighborhood Services Office, and the Solid Waste Management Division.

The city is seeking artists or artist teams to design vinyl wraps for 11 Big Belly Solar Trash Units. The city will be responsible for fabrication and application of the chosen designs. Details and an application are available at The deadline for response is May 11.

The units are being purchased with Federal Community Development Block Grant funds, and will be placed in neighborhoods that meet the criteria for participation in the Community Development Block Grant Program. Five compactors are already located in the Hurt Park Neighborhood and additional units will be placed in neighborhoods where the following community groups are active:

• Northwest Neighborhood Improvement Council

• Loudon Melrose Neighborhood Inc.

• Wasena Neighborhood Forum

• Mountain View Neighborhood Alliance

• Southeast Action Forum

• Old Southwest Inc.

According to Skip Decker, Manager of Solid Waste Management, “The City of Roanoke has been experimenting with the Big Belly solar compactors for the last two years. These machines are efficient, cost-saving, as well as very attractive.  People think we must have sunny days for these compactors to work, but as long as it is daylight, the solar cells are regenerating.  They also have a mechanism that alerts us when they need to be serviced, and this will eliminate unnecessary trips to service a unit that is only half full.  We are very excited about this new venture.  These six new units, along with the five that we currently have in the Hurt Park community, will be like new art exhibits.”

The Big Belly design project was approved by City Council as part of the Public Art Work Plan for 2012. The Public Art program is funded by the Percent for Art ordinance, a financial resource established by the city as a way to fund public art in city neighborhoods and public places to reflect its vibrancy and heritage. Program policies and decisions are guided by the 15 volunteer members of the Roanoke Arts Commission, with leadership and input from city administration and City Council.

For more information contact Susan Jennings, Arts and Culture Coordinator, at [email protected] or 540-853-5652

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