» Reimagining Roanoke Sculpture Call

The Roanoke Arts Commission is pleased to announce a call for outdoor sculpture for a two-year, temporary exhibition running May 17, 2021 through April 14, 2023.

The City is accepting submissions now through January 18, 2021 at 11:59 PM  for freestanding sculpture responding to the theme “A New Life: Reimagining Roanoke.” 

Artwork may incorporate interactive as well as functional elements, but must include at least 50% repurposed material.

This invitation is extended to all artists 18 and older. Innovative approaches are welcomed, including the establishment of partnerships between emerging and established artists or between artists and fabricators. Regional artists and teams with connections to Roanoke are encouraged to apply.  Both proposed work and finished pieces will be considered.   

Student teams are welcomed under the leadership of a teacher or adult leader.

Community Context

Established in 1884 in a valley of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, the city of Roanoke grew from the committed investment of local leaders—residents eager to create a thriving place at the crossing of two rail lines. Now, 137 years later, Roanoke continues stepping into the future with renewed commitment to its place and people. 

The “Magic City” of now just under 100,000 citizens stands at the center of a region of more than 300,000 people. The city continues to reassess, value and deploy the resources at hand. Old warehouses and garages from the 1900s now house local craft breweries and high-end lofts, offering residents and visitors easy access to outdoor recreation, a thriving arts and cultural community, and growing research opportunities along the Innovation Corridor. The community builds upon its assets, natural, built, institutional, and human.

Simultaneously, the community is embarking on a new 20-year comprehensive plan that emphasizes equity throughout every aspect of investment and service delivery. As the nation considers how it works better for ALL of its citizens, the City of Roanoke is acting locally, making strides and committed to a welcoming, diverse, and equitable future. 

Because the future depends upon the welcomed contributions of all, women and artists of color are especially encouraged to submit proposals.


In May 2021, concrete pads on the Elmwood Park Artwalk will be available for new artwork.  

The Art Walk includes up to eight available pads surrounded by native plantings.  Each pad is 6’ by 6’ and can hold up to 1,500 lbs. Work cannot be over 15’ tall or 6’ wide. Anchor bolts are required and must be set at least six inches from the edges of the pads. 

 Since being purchased by the city in 1910, Roanoke’s Elmwood Park has been a gathering place where residents and visitors attend events, enjoy the outdoors, and spend quiet time. Elmwood Park is located on both the Innovation Corridor and the Roanoke River Valley Greenway system. Today Elmwood is known as Roanoke’s premiere festival park with more than fifty annual events. The park is home to the Main Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library, the coordinating partner of the collaborative Star City Reads program which works through book and feeding programs to measurably increase the reading ability of the most vulnerable elementary age students. This was a key component of the City’s record making seventh All-America City award.

Additionally, community and neighborhood partnerships may allow for some works to be located in additional neighborhood and community spaces.

Digging Deeper

We’ve got a good number of cultural partners who provide resources that might help you explore the theme. Check out some of these links to get to know Roanoke on a deeper level. Consider an in-person visit where possible.

Virginia Room Digital Collections from the Roanoke Public Library
Historical Society of Western Virginia Digital Collections
Virginia Museum of Transportation
Harrison Museum of African American Culture
Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute
City of Roanoke
7-time All-America City
Star City Reads: Partners

The Call

In the spirit of bringing fresh perspectives on our collective journey, the Roanoke Arts Commission invites submissions of 3-D work. 

  • Concepts and finished work must directly respond to the theme: “A New Life: Reimagining Roanoke.”
  • Work can be new or proposed, but as the creative process itself works within constraints and maximizes existing resources, the work must feature at least 50% repurposed materials. 
  • Materials used might reflect: 
    • the natural world, 
    • the city’s industrial and cultural history, 
    • the knowledge-based activity of the Innovation Corridor, and 
    • strides in inclusion and equity as the city reconsiders and invests in itself and this place. 
  • The use of materials will reflect the strength, resilience, imagination, aspirations, and inclusive nature of the city and its creative cultural community. 
  • The development of the work will reflect innovative and collaborative approaches that explore new ways of looking at both at the resources at hand and the processes deploying them.
  • Works must be 
    • of a scale and material suitable for outdoor display, 
    • designed to withstand an outdoor, high traffic, unmonitored environment,
    • require little or no maintenance for the duration of the show,
    • original,
    • suitable for family viewing, and
    • constructed so that they can be securely anchored. 

Just for fun: Creative Prompts from some of our partners on Facebook

  1. 1899 image.

Published by Douglas Charles Jackson

Roanoke VA based writer and community coach.

One thought on “» Reimagining Roanoke Sculpture Call

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