Roanoke artist paints murals, highlights beauty of Roanoke River Greenway

The art can be seen beneath the 13th Street Bridge and the 9th Street Bridge

Murals in Southeast Roanoke by Jon Murrill (Roanoke Arts Commission)

ROANOKE, Va. – An artist is bringing extra color to Southeast Roanoke thanks to a partnership between local agencies that saw the potential for the area.

On Wednesday, the Roanoke Arts Commission announced the progress of two new murals along the Southeast Roanoke greenway, one beneath the 13th Street bridge at the Bennington Parking Lot and beneath the 9th Street Bridge adjacent to the Roanoke Industrial Center.

Artist Jon Murrill was selected to paint the two murals according to the release, and as a Roanoke artist, he was excited to highlight the beauty in the area.

“As a local artist I see the greenway as a symbol of our community,” Murrill said. “The beauty seen along our Roanoke River Greenway is shared and celebrated by such a diverse range of people in our area. In this project, we will have the opportunity to further inspire our community through a series of murals along the waterfront celebrating both our local wildlife and imagery from Southeast Roanoke.”

According to the press release, the project has the purpose of creating a “welcoming gathering space that discourages graffiti by activating the space and adding color to the concrete under the bridges, encouraging stewardship of the greenway and the site,” and “engaging viewers with the natural history, residential character, and future of Southeast Roanoke.”

The release stated the project also highlights the dynamic and resilient nature of the greenway and the Southeast community, as well as the diverse and energetic neighborhoods in the area.

And even though Murrill is painting the murals, the organizations involved invited the community to help, too.

“As a local educator I am passionate about our youth’s involvement in the local art scene,” Murrill said. “This project will give a widely diverse group of high school students the opportunity to pour their artistic talents back into their home city.”

The project is almost wrapped up, but Murrill won’t be finished until sometime in August, the release said.

That means that there’s still time to get involved.

The release said that anyone over the age of 14 is welcome to come out and volunteer during the Community Days held throughout July and August. Volunteers can visit the Roanoke Arts Commission website to view available volunteer slots and sign up to lend a helping hand.

About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.