SALEM, Va. -

The Salem Museum is receiving a painting by the famous local illustrator Walter Biggs.

BB&T Bank made the donation.

The work portrays a scene from the Water Street neighborhood, which was the main African American community in Salem.

The street, now South Broad, showed up in many of his works. 

The painting hung for many years in the College Avenue branch in Salem, which will soon move to a newer building.

Assistant Vice President Dan Toti proposed the bank donate the painting to the Museum since it portrays a local scene.

Biggs’ sensitive portrayal of African American subjects, unusual for a white artist in the segregated south, earns him much acclaim today.

Known for his illustrations in national publications during most of his illustrious career, Biggs retired to his hometown of Salem for the last years of his life and continued his career. Since his death in 1968, his local paintings have become particularly prized by collectors.

The Salem Museum, Roanoke College, and the City of Salem recently collaborated to have a roadside historic marker for Biggs placed in front of his home and studio at College and Boulevard, not far from the bank branch where this painting hung.

The Salem Museum is located at 801 East Main Street in Salem, and is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission is free.