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Saturday Story Hours kick off with MIXED!

Mixed Stage at Arches

More than sixty people enjoyed perfect weather at the Arches on Saturday as Virginia Children’s Theatre presented the book MIXED by Arree Chung.

Get a glimpse of what the day was like in this two-minute recap video.

Next Up: Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
Saturday, September 12 at 11 AM


Mid-July Progress Report at the Arches Site

There’s been progress at the Arches site and more planning is afoot.

(A refresher: We’re doing some creative placemaking, guided by neighborhood goals, led by local artists, and funded by the NEA and the City of Roanoke.  Want an overview? Watch a short presentation here.)

Here’s the update:

  • Sand has been cleared from the sandbox and artist Polly Branch is beginning work.
  • The footers of the bridge have received a base coat from artist Dan Kuehl. Stop by frequently to see what emerges from the minds and hands of the artist and his team of Patrick Henry High School Students.
  • Dates are set for performances under the bridge on four Saturdays in September. Each event will take place at 11 am and feature performance of books for our City’s youngest residents from Virginia Children’s Theatre.
  • Signs at the site let Greenway users know what’s coming.



Get project information here.

Arches artists begin work

Mike Allen interviewed the Arches artists for The Roanoke Times in the Friday, July 2 issue of the newspaper.

Polly Branch and Daniel Kuehl have begun work on their respective projects, staging materials and cleaning the footers. As soon as debris is removed from the sandbox, Polly will begin work. Dan will rally students from Patrick Henry High School not long after the Independence Day holiday.

Check for progress as you take you strolls along the greenway, and mark you calendar for the four children story hours by Virginia Children’s Theatre — every Saturday in September at 11 AM.

Watch a short video about the project goals.

Here are some images of progress from the site to date:

Social distancing and safety on the worksite.  Polly reports: My friend Joshua Hazelwood, a personal trainer and massage therapist,  in red, enjoyed two days shoveling as his gym workout!.  Jay Burnette, wood carver “Old man in the wood” created a sand sifting mechanism and he has also carved zen rakes to add to the fun ideas stimulated by the sandbox project.

A big part of any art project is the preparation. Dan shows both scale and transformation of the footers before painting begins.

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Greenway signage updating the community.




Call for Artists Released


In three community planning meetings, a group of more than thirty community members and artists helped developed a call for proposals for the Arches project. The City of Roanoke Arts Commission is excited about this community-driven process. We can’t wait to see what projects artist teams put forward to create a stronger place on the greenway under the magnificent arches of Memorial Bridge.

Goals include the creation of a gathering space that attracts and celebrates the diversity of our community though a participatory art project. The project might be one big installation or a combination of several components.


July 10 – Arches & Creative Placemaking Meeting


Creative teams and neighbors, come on out — July 10th at 5:30 PM to Mountain View Recreation Center for our final session on creative placemaking. This will be the last session and the announcement of the call for proposals. Here’s our agenda:

  • Catching up: What more have we learned about the site?
  • Placemaking defined
  • Examples of community-driven art projects
  • Recent local projects
  • Best practices for community-driven art and artist-community partnerships
  • Review of the RFP (Request for Proposals)

The RFP will be due on July 29th.

Outreach tools and meeting notes:



Outreach Tools

Thanks to the thirty folks who attended our kickoff for the ARCHES project on May 29.

We’ll see everyone again on:

  • June 12 at Mountain View Rec. Center. Gather beginning at 5PM for networking and information gathering. The group conversation will start at 5:30 PM. So come when you can!
  • July 10 at Mountain View Rec. Center. Gather beginning at 5 PM for networking and information. The group conversation will start at 5:30 PM. So come when you can!

In the meantime, here are tools for getting the word out. This is an inclusive and welcoming neighborhood project. Spread the word!


Some under-bridge examples from around the country…



Join us on May 29th at 5 PM for the kick off of a new community based approach to public art and stronger neighborhoods. Our pilot project will be at the intersection of four neighborhoods and the Roanoke River Greenway.

Mountain View Rec. Center
714 13th Street, SW

We’ll visit the site under the Memorial Bridge arches, tell stories, and brainstorm potential projects. Bring your neighbors from Norwich, Mountain View, Wasena, and Raleigh Court as we learn together about each other, and our community, and together work to make it even better.