Published on Wed, 08/19/2020 – 12:00am
Article by Ed Smith, News Gazette
Buena Vista is to receive a $7,000 Virginia Main Street commercial district affiliate grant to help pay for a town square mural planned by Action BV, a citizens group formed last year to promote economic development and beautification of the downtown area.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced last Tuesday, Aug. 11, that Buena Vista was among 18 communities that would share $278,000 worth of Virginia Main Street grants to accelerate economic revitalization of downtowns as part of Virginia’s COVID-19 economic recovery strategy.
Fran Elrod and Jamie Goodin are spearheading the downtown mural project on behalf of Action BV, which applied for the state grant. The concept of the planned mural, explained Elrod, “is to tie the history of Buena Vista with a vision for the future. We’re encouraging members of the community to bring ideas. We want to capture the spirit of the community.”
The artwork is to go on the east brick wall of 121 W. 21st St., which faces a town square area where Frank’s For The Memories café was formerly located. The site is adjacent to and across the street from a “Greetings From Buena Vista” mural that colorfully depicts various city landmarks. This mural, at 131 W. 21st St., was done in 2018 by artist Melissa Wheeler with financial assistance from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
Artist Benjamin Frey, a dual resident of Buena Vista and Philadelphia, has been selected to do the latest mural. Frey, said Elrod, “will work with Action BV to solicit community input to gather meaningful future-focused image(s) that emphasize the strengths of Buena Vista. We want the image to inspire passers-by to stop and engage, perhaps by posing for photographs with the artwork.”
Kristina Ramsey, economic development director for Buena Vista, praised the efforts of Action BV and its success in securing the grant for the mural. “I have to say, we are really proud of the work and dedication we have seen come out of this community-led group, and more specifically this project,” said Ramsey.
Goodin described Action BV as “the nascent form of what we hope to cultivate into a Virginia Main Street community. We invite anyone interested in making BV all it can be to join the effort” by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Main Street grants such as the one awarded to Buena Vista are administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. An objective, according to a press release from the governor’s office, is to “help to reenergize development of downtown communities, while utilizing their cultural assets and character.”
Original article: https://www.thenews-gazette.com/content/another-mural-works-buena-vista
The mural is set to be installed downtown by the Spring of 2021! We aim to create a (second) lasting public mural in the center of Buena Vista, one that highlights the beauty and strengths of the town, and community and which gives viewers a chance to engage and interact with the art and subject. The artist, Benjamin Frey is interested in creating a work that optimistically expresses, through his own perspective and artistic voice, some of the shared values and assets of the community. Please be part of the creative process and share your (positive) thoughts with Ben.