Staff writer Mike Gangloff has an intriguing story this morning about the project in Blacksburg called “Untagging the Town.”
Blacksburg murals bloom amid graffiti
“Untagging the Town” artists make downtown a giant canvas.
By Mike Gangloff
BLACKSBURG — New, public murals are flowering this summer on walls across downtown, the fruit of a several-year alliance between town officials battling graffiti and an arts entrepreneur who wanted to boost the town’s hip quotient.
“Everybody’s got their own idea of what art is,” Blacksburg Neighborhood Services Coordinator Kim Kirk said Wednesday. “I giggle about this. I call it random acts of excellence.”
Scattered throughout the town’s oldest area, within easy walk of where Virginia Tech’s campus meets the town at College Avenue, new paintings – some abstract, some cartoony, some exactingly realistic – are blooming across walls where spray paint scribblers had left their marks for years.
The first signs of what’s being called “Untagging the Town” came last summer along Draper Avenue. On a retaining wall that runs along Draper’s intersection with Jackson Street, a field-guide-like depiction began of the flora and fauna that surrounded Stroubles Creek before it was banished to below-ground channels – basically beneath the mural itself – as the modern town was built. A half block away, another, more stylized salute to the Blacksburg Farmers Market appeared on a building wall flanking the market, the first of what is envisioned as five-panel display.
This summer, those early murals are to be joined by as many as a half-dozen more, said Kirk and Hart Fowler, publisher of the 16 Blocks arts magazine and the other central organizer of the murals project.