Murals on the sides of structures always seem to be popping up everywhere throughout the commonwealth. They often serve as a symbol of a specific community or idea.
If you’re looking to have your photo taken in front of a captivating work of public art, visit one of these eight murals throughout Virginia. They range from straightforward representations of local history to depictions of abstract societal concepts.
Float was created by James Bullough, an American artist living in Germany, using spray paint over the course of a week in 2015 as part of the Richmond Mural Project.
“My work is intentionally ambiguous in its message or meaning. As someone who creates public artwork, I feel it is my duty to spark conversations with my work rather than project my ideas or feelings onto the public,” Bullough told Dogwood. “Every viewer brings their own experiences and personality to the work the moment they see it and therefore it will have different meanings for different people. For me this is what gives art it’s strength.”
The mural can be found at 620 N Lombardy Street.
If you want to see more of the murals that Richmond has to offer, check out the Richmond Mural Project.
There’s no denying that tobacco played a significant role in Danville’s history. To honor that legacy, the 20-by-30 Tobacco Heritage Mural was painted in 2016 in the city’s River District.
“Nearly 225 years ago, the General Assembly authorized construction of a tobacco warehouse at Wynne’s Falls,” John Gilstrap, the former mayor, said at the mural’s dedication ceremony. “This warehouse marked the start of the town of Danville. By the start of the Civil War, Danville had developed a bright leaf market for the surrounding area. This market would not only become Virginia’s largest for bright leaf tobacco, but it also would be known as the ‘World’s Best Tobacco Market.’”
Danville has other murals, so be sure to check out the Wreck of the Old 97 Mural and the Transportation Mural, both of which also tell the story of Danville and are located in the district.
Those who want to get in a workout while also getting to see some vibrant public art can do so in Roanoke.
Local artist Jon Murrill was commissioned to paint murals on two underpasses—the 9th Street and 13th Street bridges—on the Roanoke River Greenway last year.
“This project represents the strength and beauty of the Southeast Roanoke community and it’s Greenways wildlife alongside the Roanoke River. Through community painting days local volunteers became an exciting part of creating this project,” Murrill told Dogwood. “The mural features the streets and neighborhoods of Southeast Roanoke as well as river wildlife symbolizing the re-birth of its community. Overall, Southeast Roanoke gained a sense of ownership and a passion for inspiring others through this unique piece of public art.”
“I wanted it to be inspired by all the amazing things in the Northern Neck, including the best ginger ale ever,” she explained to Dogwood.
While you’re on the Northern Neck, be sure to swing by Montross, which is considered the “mural capital of the Northern Neck.” Located roughly 50 minutes further inland from Kilmarnock, the town has 14 murals that are painted both on and inside various buildings.
Stimmell Van Latum painted 13 of the Montross murals.
“Each of the murals has a historic or vintage flare that speaks to the rich history of the area,” according to the town.
Elephants on Parade was inspired by a photograph taken in Martinsville in 1920 that depicts the arrival of a circus.
“The photograph was adapted into a vibrant and detailed mural that invites viewers to seek out more information about the area’s history,” according to Piedmont Arts.
A grant was awarded in December of 2020 to restore the original 2009 mural. The Harvest Foundation, which provided the grant, said, “We are excited to see this masterpiece remastered!”
The mural is located on the side of the New College Institute’s King Hall on 30 Franklin Street.
Location: Virginia Beach
A set of murals called Oyster Bloom were installed under the Route 13 Shore Drive underpass in Virginia Beach in October of 2021 by artists Chelsea Henery and Samantha Seezox.
The murals were designed to depict natural themes, specifically an “imaginative view of human relationships with nature.”
It’s hard to miss the murals when entering the city since they are positioned at one of the key entryways.
“These murals are very particular to our Bay area,” Nina Goodale, public art and placemaking coordinator for the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department, said. “It’s really creating that sense of welcome and awe upon entering, but it’s also creating a safer space for our community to walk and bike through.”
Local artist Cheyenne Renee’s inspiration for the Covington Mural came from vintage Blue Ridge Parkway postcards, which featured sharp lines with rich color and a “very recognizable blue ridge mountain scape.”
The mural, which took about 15 hours to complete over the course of three days in early 2022, is located along an alley between the Wells Fargo Bank and Alleghany Foundation.
Renee painted another mural at the nearby Clifton Forge School of the Arts around the same time. The school requested a mural with bold butterfly wings with a landscape, which she delivered.
The murals are part of Renee’s 50 in 50 project. She’s trying to paint 50 murals in all 50 states by 2025.
“I really wanted the first mural in the project to represent what I love painting most, mountains and landscapes,” Renee told Dogwood of the Covington Mural.
While not painted outdoors on the side of a structure like all of the others, the intricateness of the Lincoln Theatre Murals is well worth making a trip to downtown Marion for.
The six large murals that were painted by local artist Lola Poston in the late 1920s depict scenes of American and local history.
It may come as a surprise that the murals haven’t always been as sharp and vibrant as they are today. Following its closure in 1977, the theatre was abandoned for roughly a decade. The murals eventually became “almost unrecognizable” due to exposure to the elements from a 50-foot hole in the theatre’s ceiling.
In the late 1980s, a restoration effort started, which saw the 15-by-20 canvases shipped to a studio in Wisconsin where they were “meticulously brought back to life at a cost of $20,000 each.
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