Arts & Culture

The City of Roanoke views art and culture as integral to the community because of their potential to enhance the quality of life for Roanoke’s citizens, increase tourism, support education, foster wellbeing, strengthen all of our voices, and stimulate the economy. Roanoke also sees public art as a tool to create a heightened sense of place and community identity, enliven the visual quality of public space, and enrich the spirit and pride of our citizens. Join with us as we explore all the arts can do in our corner of the world.

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This spring we’ll offer trainings, networking opportunities, calls for art, artist grants, grants for art projects, community residencies and more. Together, we’ll prepare for the official July 2022 “YEAR OF THE ARTIST” launch. And over the course of the coming year, we’ll watch how Roanoke’s creative spirit advances community good.

invitation for melrose bus shelter dedication

Collective arts & culture marketing kicks off with BUZZ!

The arts help us express our values and build bridges between cultures. A fundamental component of a healthy community, the arts strengthen social, educational, and economic outcomes, especially in difficult social and economic times.

The City of Roanoke granted $30,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Roanoke Cultural Endowment  for a Collective Arts & Cultural Marketing project.

The project will result in collective storytelling tools around collaborative arts and cultural events, strategies, and challenges. “The goal is to benefit the entirety of the arts and cultural community in the City of Roanoke through a recovery and resiliency marketing project,” said Shaleen Powell, Executive Director of the Roanoke Cultural Endowment.


WE ARE ART The Roanoke Self-Portrait Project Poster
image of mural on a brick wall with colorful floating figures


In 2021, the City of Roanoke began a pilot public/private partnership strategy to encourage public facing art on private property.  Dubbed ART IN PLACE, the program requires a 2 to 1 match provided by the property owner and a neighborhood or business association.

Pictured above: Floating, Together (detail) by Josh Nolan at 210 4th St. SW. To date, three projects have received approval from the Roanoke Arts Commission: Learn more here.


New exhibit in the Municipal Building

The Roanoke Arts Commission has installed a ten-month exhibit in the City of Roanoke Municipal Building.  Welcome to Roanoke: Images of a Compassionate, Diverse, and Welcoming Community was curated by embers of the RAC Collections Committee from submissions of local artists.

Visit the Fourth Floor Community Gallery to explore the theme through the eyes of your neighbors and learn more about the exhibit here.

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Reimagining Roanoke Sculpture Exhibition

Head on out to the Elmwood Artwalk, the campus of Hollins University, and the Roanoke River Greenway to see new sculpture reflecting our city. Read about the artists and their work here.

FY 2022 Arts and Cultural Funding

Congratulations to our partner organizations. We look forward to some fantastic arts, cultural, and educational programming in the coming year.

See all funded organizations.

an image of a mural being painted by young refugees


On June 19, the community celebrated the region's newest naturalized citizens, young refugees graduating from high school, and World Refugee Day.  Partners such as Blue Ridge Literacy, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, Local Colors and the League of Women Voters put on the event, sponsored through a grant by Old Navy.  

A special feature of the day was the creation of a 16' by 8' mural led by artist Ashley Proffitt, an employee of Commonwealth Catholic Charities, and painted by refugee youth.  When the mural is completed with additional paint and varnish, the City will work with Ashley to find a display location.


CLEAN STREETS Jingle Results

We challenged the community to inspire us as stewards of our streams and streets, and boy, did you deliver! Congratulations to all of our contestants. We had a great time listening.

Our five winners will receive a $100 Downtown Roanoke gift card and the opportunity for their jingles to be played in the Roanoke City Market Building and at Center in the Square. All other entrants will receive a $25 Downtown Roanoke gift card, and everybody gets a Clean Streets SWAG bag from Roanoke Stormwater and Clean Valley Council.

Hear the jingles here!



Roanoke City Public Schools students have created works of art inspired by a recent Roanoke City Libraries and the Roanoke Arts Commission video. In person and virtual art students chose lyrics from the WE ARE ART Rap Cypher that resonated with them and sparked their imaginations to create unique artworks. Students chose to draw, paint, or collage to create their pieces.

 The project was coordinated by art teachers at two participating schools: Christina Gramm at Fairview Elementary and Christina Simpson at Westside Elementary.

 We’re told the students were elated to become a part of this project and to use their art as a vehicle for self-expression, but we bet we were even more excited to see their efforts! Thank you students and teachers. We love your work…”beautifully made, a different caliber.”

Check out the video gallery here!



Visit and subscribe to the Roanoke Arts Blog for frequent updates on projects, resources and opportunities.

The Roanoke Arts Commission is responsible for overseeing the development of Arts and Culture in the City of Roanoke.

The mission of the Roanoke Arts Commission (RAC), as established in 1983, is to “advise and assist city council on matters relating to the advancement of the arts and humanities within the city” to establish Roanoke as a vibrant, prosperous community where arts and culture engage people in all aspects of life. The RAC increases the collective impact of the arts and cultural community by:

    • Advocating for arts cultural initiatives and investment
    • Managing and informing the City’s Public Art Plan.
    • Advancing the City’s Arts and Cultural Plan.
    • Guiding City investments in arts and culture.