Neighbors help paint Roanoke mural

ROANOKE, Va. - A mural is set to be installed in Roanoke, and the artist behind it is getting neighbors involved in the project.

The new mural will transform the columns of the Interstate 581 bridge at Tazewell Avenue.

People at the Roanoke Rescue Mission got their hands on paintbrushes Wednesday, adding their own touch of creativity to the mural.

"I think it's amazing to make something beautiful out of something that's really not paid attention to," said Samuel Pendleton, who was one of several people helping paint sections of the mural.

As a member of the Rescue Mission's addiction recovery program, Pendleton said he painted to give back to the community.

"It lets you have fun and get a little messy and look back and reflect on the beautiful things in life that we [were] missing out on," Pendleton said.

"Creativity is always a part of the program, and so being able to create something that they can see as a lasting impact on the city is pretty powerful," said Lee Clark, CEO of the Roanoke Rescue Mission.

Known as the Gateway Mural, the artwork was designed by artist Brenda Councill, who said she got input from the community about what the mural should look like.

Councill said she wanted neighbors of any artistic skill level to get their hands on paintbrushes.

"I wanted them to take ownership of the mural," Councill said. "When I leave town, I wanted them to feel like they were an essential part of it."

"It takes effort to make a change, and when people see people putting in effort, then hopefully it might help them make an effort to make a change," Pendleton said.

City officials plan to host a dedication ceremony for the mural March 31.


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