Celebrating the Roanoke River Greenway as a diverse and welcoming space was a primary goal for the neighborhood and community leaders who guided the Project.
Named for the sweeping supports of Roanoke’s historic Memorial Bridge, the Arches Project was the effort of the Roanoke Arts Commission that engaged artists to rethink the overlooked yet dramatic space beneath the bridge, which straddles the Roanoke River Greenway upstream of Vic Thomas Park. Over several meetings in 2019, neighbors from Mountain View, Norwich, Raleigh Court, and Wasena neighborhoods worked together to set goals for the effort: Create a gathering space, celebrate diversity, and engage a variety of ages in creating and enjoying art.
Project components included:
- Local artist Polly Branch’s artistic overhaul of a historic sandbox, a reminder of the neighborhood playground that occupied the space in the first half of the Twentieth Century;
- Local artist Daniel Kuehl’s work with Patrick Henry High School Students to create murals replicating a neighborhood of homes on the bridge footers; and
- Free, interactive performances by professional actors from Virginia (Roanoke) Children’s Theatre and giveaways of four children’s books celebrating the welcoming, diverse, and inclusive nature of our community and presented
The four free performances will take place in a COVID-responsible manner on Saturdays in September at 11 a.m.
- Sept. 5: Mixed by Arree Chung
- Sept. 12: Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, Welcoming Week Launch!
- Sept. 19: The Family Book by Todd Parr, Welcoming Week
- Sept. 26: Dream Big Little One by Vashti Harrison
The Arches Project was funded by the City of Roanoke and the National Endowment for the Arts. More information on the Roanoke Arts Commission and the project is available at www.artinroanoke.org and www.arches.art.blog. If you have questions, please contact Douglas Jackson, the City’s Arts and Culture Coordinator, at [email protected].
Sept. 12-20 is Welcoming Week in Roanoke. Get involved and find events here.