Projects Further Goals Of Arts And Cultural Plan

Mini-grants from the City of Roanoke and the Foundation for Roanoke Valley will support five local projects that engage youth, connect cultures and tell neighborhood stories.

The City of Roanoke and the Foundation for Roanoke Valley have announced the award of $12,000 in mini-grants to five collaborative partnerships.

Selected by a community panel through a competitive process, the projects were chosen because of their clear community benefit, their collaborative nature, and their alignment with the goals of the city’s arts and cultural element of its Comprehensive Plan.

“The grants are small but strategic,” said Arts and Culture Coordinator Susan Jennings. “In our planning process, the community told us that by working together across organizations we could connect more people to cultural opportunities. The plan focuses on neighborhoods, on ways to engage residents of all ages, and on sharing the story of our region-where we’ve been and where we’re going. Each of these projects moves us forward in those areas. Best of all, the projects were shaped by the community.”

 The following partnerships received the grants:

Gainsboro SW Community Organization and the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation for the Gainsboro History Walk Plaza Panels to be placed in the plaza area on Wells Avenue. The funds will allow a fifth panel to the project which now has a Roanoke Neighborhood Services Grant to fund four panels.

Jefferson Center Foundation, Roanoke Public Libraries, and Roanoke City Public Schools to fund an artist residency and community performances. A Downtown Music Lab student will collaborate with Snarky Puppy, a NYC-based jazz group, to record and perform in schools and at the Main Library.

Roanoke Area Mural Project, Youth Haven, and the Junior Achievement of SW VA to work with teens to paint a mural on the front of the Garden City Recreation Center.

Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation, Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission and Roanoke Parks and Recreation to develop a master plan to locate interpretive signs identifying key historic sites along the city’s greenways. The funds will also allow for the production and installation of one inaugural sign.

Roanoke Saint Lo Sister City Committee and the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge to bring an artist from Saint Lo, France to Roanoke for a two-week residency to work with students and set up a public demonstration in a downtown storefront.

According to Tom McKeon, Roanoke Arts Commission member and chair of the grant selection panel, the process demonstrated the best of community planning: “We said, ‘Here are the goals we’ve established as a community,’ and the community, through its neighborhood and cultural organizations, quickly responded by saying, ‘Here’s how we can play a part; here’s what we can do.'”

The city’s first Arts and Cultural Plan was adopted by City Council in August 2011. Developed by the Roanoke Arts Commission and the city’s Planning, Building, and Development department, with wide participation from partner organizations and citizens, the plan lays out a strategy to foster a more livable community with engaged neighborhoods; to provide an environment for lifelong learning, participation, and education; and to strengthen the regional economy.

The City of Roanoke Arts and Cultural Plan was named “Best Comprehensive Plan Element” by the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association in 2011.

To read the complete plan, visit For further information on Roanoke’s arts and cultural strategies, contact Susan Jennings, Arts and Cultural Coordinator, at [email protected].

Visit for information about Foundation for Roanoke Valley.

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