This post is by guest blogger, Leslie Peterson, board president of Project Glade. Project Glade is a local nonprofit in Glade Spring, Virginia committed to promoting the town’s traditions and works on community innovations as it engages a dedicated citizenry in the improvement of community life.
In Southwest Virginia, you will find the petite community of Glade Spring and its charming town square. Home to a small but growing commercial core, the square’s historic buildings provided the perfect canvas for a mural project to welcome visitors and customers. With the guidance of local nonprofit Project Glade and a Main Street Commercial District Affiliate Grant, community members have done just that. The result is a multimedia installation that not only brightens the town square’s entrance, but also showcases the town’s cultural heritage.
On one side of the square’s entrance, Project Glade worked with volunteers to conceptualize and paint a representative mural of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the town. Gray and blue hills roll along the façade, while a newly installed logo and wording welcome passersby. The art piece, created with grant funds, is the perfect backdrop to the nearby Point Pavilion that houses the town’s indoor farmers market. The other portion of the multimedia mural project provided even more opportunity for community involvement. On the adjacent wall of the square entrance, a new and growing installation of barn quilts now provides a colorful reminder of the area’s folk-art traditions. Project Glade again worked with community members, but this time, they specifically reached out to merchants and community groups, inviting them to paint quilts representative of their businesses or organizations. Project Glade facilitated several painting parties, providing templates, grant-funded paint and frames, and training on creating the vibrant art pieces, allowing the volunteers to express themselves and their heritage. The result is a vivid wall of barn quilts that display pride of place for the business district.
To the delight of all, the mural project has transformed the entrance to the town’s commercial core with a distinctive and community-centered art installation.