‘IT’S HERE’ Portrait Exhibition

This show features 40 portraits of local entrepreneurs, community connectors, and arts leaders making it happen right here, right now in the Star City.

Visit the exhibition during regular business hours Monday through Friday at the Roanoke City Municipal Building at 215 Church Avenue, SW, Roanoke, VA 24011.

Join us before every evening council meeting this year for our Third Monday Gallery Talks at 6 PM. Each month, four pairs of artists and subjects will discuss our community and how we’re working together through arts and small business to improve it.

March 18
April 15
May 20
June 17


This year, the Roanoke Cultural Endowment and the Roanoke Arts Commission are leading a variety of partners in exploring the power of the arts in making Roanoke a stronger community. As part of that work, a six-part Buzz television series is investigating the arts in wellness, student engagement, collaboration, social impact, and more.

With the June 21 launch of the Arts + Economic Development episode, the Roanoke Arts Commission invites artists to watch the episode and listen to the song, It’s Here, by Bryan “Harvest Blaque” Hancock, JP Powell, and collaborators. We think you’ll be inspired to help us show that it’s right here in Roanoke that something important is happening.

Grab everything you need below, and give us a holler if you have any questions! Douglas.jackson@roanokeva.gov or 540-853-5652.

It’s Here PRESS
Roanoke Times, June 30, 2023PDF here
WDBJ7 (June 22, 2023)


Identify a person in the community making it happen here. And then conceive your project. In the application, propose how you would use your art to portray a  Roanoke resident or business owner investing their energy right here, right now, pursuing their dreams, shaping the future, and making the community a better place. Subjects can be actively making the community better in many ways, including through the arts. They might be using their creativity to build a business, improve a neighborhood, or connect neighbors. More than one subject can be featured in a work. Tell us who inspires you, and then tell us how you will artistically celebrate this Roanoker!

What about your medium? In addition to two- and three-dimensional visual art, the performing arts such as dance, drama, and musical composition are eligible and encouraged! Film and animation are welcomed. Proposals can mix art forms; don’t worry about challenging us with your particular and unique approach, tailored to your subject. We’re game!

Keep in mind that we want to share this in an exhibition at the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, so no matter what form of art you choose, we’ll want an engaging representation to display to interest viewers and connect them to your final work. The maximum size for visual representations is 24″ by 36″.

See our new FAQ at the bottom of the page!


A panel of volunteers organized under the Roanoke Arts Commission’s Collections Committee will select 40 artists to receive payment and produce their work. (We chose 40  because 2023 is the Roanoke Arts Commission’s 40th anniversary.)

Applications will be reviewed for artistic excellence and the storytelling potential around our theme. Selections will also be made to best communicate a wide range of subjects, with the intention of reflecting the full diversity of our community. We’ll select a broad mix of subjects, artists, and media.

Each selected artist will be paid $500 for a year-long loan of their work and the rights to use the content of their work to celebrate, educate, and promote our community.

This paid call is for area artists portraying residents and business owners in the City of Roanoke. While the call is for adults 18 years and older, we are exploring a related youth project. Show us who’s at work creating this place.

It’s here that we’re making it happen, and the time is here for our community to shine. It’s here!

Download the Call to Artists (PDF)
Watch the full Buzz episode: Arts + Economic Development.
Listen to the Buzz Podcast on Arts + Economic Development
Watch the video for the song It’s Here!
Download the song.
Get the complete song lyrics.
Watch the 6/22 WDBJ news story
Learn about the Roanoke Cultural Endowment
Grab the arts toolkit from Economic Development.

June 21 – Announcement
July 12 – Proposals due
July 17 – Selection panel meets
July 18 – Roanoke Arts Commission approval
July 19 – Artist notification
August 11 – Invoices, W-9s, and draft images due
September 8 – Final work due at the Municipal Building (215 Church Ave. SW)
September 186 PM – Opening reception prior to City Council meeting
Third Monday Gallery Talks with artists and subjects begin in October


Q: What’s the largest size allowed?
A: 24″ by 36″ is the maximum size for a two dimensional visual art. But if you are proposing a dance, who’s to say?! For a dance you can submit an image up to 24″ by 36″ with a QR code to a dance filmed all over the Star City!

Q: Does the person have to be alive?
A: We often celebrate people after they are gone. While that’s important as well, we’re celebrating Roanoke as a place for investing. “It’s here” means that this is the place and now is the time. Let’s build and celebrate those around us, which is sometimes harder. We’re human after all, and even someone really making an impact can frustrate you at times. Work through that and celebrate the good in them and the good they are doing. Let’s give the flowers to the living on this one.

Q: Does the person have to live in Roanoke?
A: The person has to live in or be investing in our community through a business. While the artist doesn’t have to live within our jurisdictional borders, the person has to be active here. We are paying for this project with Roanoke’s City tax dollars, and we want to use them to grow success in the city. Have questions about where the City borders are? Check out city maps here.

Does a portrait have to be a painting?
By no means! Please propose a portrait in any form of art, performance, or hybrid. We can’t wait to see what you come up with?

More QUESTIONS? Contact douglas.jackson@roanokeva.gov or 540-853-5652.