Roanoke revives Parks and Arts program

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) After a summer off, performing and visual arts are coming back to Roanoke city parks.

The city's Parks and Arts program will kick off June 25 in Golden Park.

One of this summer's highlights is a concert in Elmwood Park by the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Pops. " It will be a free concert for the public," symphony executive director David Crane explained. "The first time we've been able to offer it for free. It will be a program really for all ages, an exciting program with patriotic music, some movie music and some surprises for the audience."

Here is the complete announcement and schedule:

Roanoke, VA – The City of Roanoke announced today, that after a successful series in 2013 and 2014, the award-winning “Parks and Arts: Celebrating Roanoke’s Neighborhoods” series will return to five different neighborhood parks this summer. The program is organized by the Roanoke Arts Commission, the Office of Neighborhood Services and the Parks and Recreation Department.

The Parks and Arts program is designed to celebrate Roanoke’s neighborhoods by taking performing and visual arts directly to communities all across the city. This year’s Parks and Arts program is funded by the city with support from Freedom First Credit Union.

Working with the Office of Neighborhood Services and leaders of Roanoke’s neighborhood organizations, five city parks have been selected for programming through an application process working with neighborhood organizations. Also considered were need, accessibility, and proximity to adjacent neighborhoods. The following parks have been selected:

· Golden Park – June 25 – Noon to 3 p.m.
· Preston Park – July 16 – Noon to 3 p.m.
· Mountain View – Aug. 6 – Noon to 3 p.m.
· Elmwood Park – Aug. 27 – Noon to 3 p.m.
· Horton Park – Oct. 1 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Parks and Arts is also a partnership between the city and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. A highlight of this year’s event will be the performance at Elmwood Park by RSO Pops. The entire event is free and open to the public for the first time in RSO history. Also new this year, Parks and Arts will work with the Roanoke Public Libraries to enhance their Fall Festival in the Melrose Neighborhood. "The Roanoke Public Libraries are excited to expand our annual Fall Festival in the Melrose Community! This year, we are collaborating with the Parks and Arts series to make the event greater than ever. Highlights of the day will include live music, numerous community vendor booths, free books through Star City Reads, and a Kids Zone sponsored by First Baptist Roanoke. All activities are free for attendees and are made possible by generous donations from local organizations, said Libraries Director Sheila Umberger."

Parks and Arts events will provide venues for a wide variety of local and regional artists, dancers, and musicians to showcase their talents. With a focus on community settings, these events will meld the outdoors with the arts, engage residents in art, and promote neighborhoods’ diverse cultural and historic resources.

Through the program, the city hopes to strengthen support for neighborhood-based art and culture; attract and retain artists by supporting programs that encourage them to live and work in Roanoke’s neighborhoods; and develop new audiences for arts and cultural groups and individual artists.

In 2014, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized Roanoke's Parks and Arts program with the Outstanding Achievement Award in their City Livability Awards Program.