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New Greenway Murals To Be Celebrated at “Wrap Party”

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:

Mural Wrap Party with light refreshments
Saturday, October 22
11 AM – 12 PM
Bennington Park, 13th Street Bridge
Bennington Street SE, 24013

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 from 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 bridge and the 13th street bridge are colorful images of native birds, community icons, and even a street map of the Southeast neighborhood.

Project development background is at

“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 put paint on a wall. He helped dozens put a positive fingerprint on the community around them.”

Volunteers with paint brushes in front of a mural in progress.

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 the implementation of the detailed work.

“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 the 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 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 11 AM to 12 PM 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.

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