“In our sixth Art in Roanoke exhibition, we want to engage artists in a conversation about our community,” says Roanoke Arts Commission Chair Cari Gates. “Roanoke is a dynamic city that has been imagined and invented by those living and investing in it. We constantly discover and rediscover what it and our people have to offer.”
Established in 1884 in a valley of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, the city of Roanoke grew from the committed investment of local leaders—residents eager to create a thriving place at the crossing of two rail lines. Now, 137 years later, Roanoke continues stepping into the future with renewed commitment to its place and people, reassessing and deploying the resources at hand. Old warehouses and garages from the 1900s house local craft breweries and apartments offering residents and visitors easy access to outdoor recreation, a thriving arts and cultural community, and growing research opportunities along the Innovation Corridor.
Simultaneously, the community has adopted a new 20-year comprehensive plan that emphasizes equity throughout every aspect of investment and service delivery. As the nation considers how it works better for ALL of its citizens, the City of Roanoke is acting locally, making strides and committed to a welcoming, diverse, and equitable future.
Because the future depends upon the welcomed contributions of all, women and artists of color are especially encouraged to submit proposals.
“We really want to encourage submissions from artists with connections to the region who understand the beauty, the strengths, and the challenges we face here,” says Janet Carty, chair of the Collections Committee. “This is an opportunity to reimagine what Roanoke can be, express that vision through public art, and engage the community in dialogue.”
Other committee members involved in the development of the project include community volunteer John Hitchins, architect Lora Katz, musician William Penn, and designer Tranay Wilson.
“We developed the call through a series of conversations with local artists and partners this fall,” says William Penn. “The Arts Commission and the community as a whole felt the power of art in this summer’s implementation of the END RACISM NOW mural. So we’re interested in how we can use this call to similarly reflect on ourselves and our future.”