City of Roanoke Declares FY2023 as “Year of the Artist”

It’s no secret that the City of Roanoke, an active Exploring Main Street (EMS) community, has a vibrant arts scene that pulses with creativity! Excitingly, local officials and others want to harness the spirit of artistic inquiry and exploration that flows through the community to show that art matters, our voices can make a difference and everyone, individually or collectively, can create positive change. That’s why the City of Roanoke has declared FY2023 as the Year of the Artist, which represents a larger initiative and/or program that’s designed to tackle community challenges and shared goals through a creative-problem solvers’ collective.

Looking to officially kick off in July 2022, the program’s mission will advance community good by:

  • Brainstorming new ways to support young creatives;
  • Meeting community challenges; and
  • Further integrating arts into the city fabric

“We’re building this as we go! We have some structure, but we hope we’re going to build a learning community. We’re intentionally not releasing everything at once because we want to see what we can make. First we want to get everybody together and talk about what’s possible. We’ll have trainings, give grants, have exhibits and mentorship, get artists involved with the city and have artist-driven plans and projects. We’ll learn as we do it.” – Douglas Jackson, City of Roanoke, Arts & Culture Coordinator

The Year of the Artist program received roughly $270,000 through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, funds from the City of Roanoke and the federal American Rescue Plan Act stimulus package, helping to make possible community-driven and artist-led projects that advance the community in a variety of key areas. The Year of the Artist program also compliments investment priorities outlined within the city’s new 2040 Comprehensive Plan and annual Strategic Plan.

“A year ago, with adoption of the city 2040 Comprehensive Plan and the annual Strategic Plan, we reinforced our commitment to enhancing the vitality of our neighborhoods. Expanding public art efforts is one way we’re exploring alignment with the established goals in these plans. We’re inviting artists to explore with us, create with us, and help us effect change.” – Bob Cowell, City Manager

Click here to learn more about the Year of the Artist and what’s coming up over the next few weeks and months! You can also enjoy a dose of inspiration through the video below, and learn why Roanoke’s cultural community is so inspiring!

Photo Credit: Christopher Scott, 2019 State of the City