Downtown mural on Freedom First building is complete

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 10:56 AM EDT
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Time lapse video courtesy Freedom First Credit Union

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/Freedom First Release) - A mural on the Freedom First Credit Union building in downtown Roanoke has been completed, according to the business.

Freedom First had commissioned artist James Bullough to paint the mural on the exterior of the building, across from Elmwood Park. Bullough also painted a mural on the West Station building on Salem Avenue next to Big Lick Brewing. On this project, he collaborated with artist Onur Dinc, according to Freedom First.

The mural faces the 581 southbound corridor, and depicts “a woman climbing up a cliff face with the Blue Ridge Mountains and McAfee’s Knob in the background.” The image is a nod to “Roanoke’s love of the outdoors and the mountains we call home,” according to the credit union.

“We seized the opportunity to promote the Virginia Blue Ridge regional brand with this mural,” said Freedom First President and CEO Paul Phillips. “This region has such rich culture, arts, and heritage – not to mention the breathtaking mountain views and unique outdoor recreation. It’s a destination for people who love the outdoors, and we are proud to be an active partner in promoting that vision for our community.”

Freedom First’s Elmwood headquarters is in an area where Roanoke City is focusing revitalization efforts. The business coordinated with the Roanoke Outside Foundation and Roanoke Arts Commission to develop a concept that would “hold meaning for our region while fitting in with the City’s numerous other mural projects.”

“Freedom First has always been a great community partner, constantly investing in initiatives that build a better community for everyone,” said Pete Eshelman, Senior Director of Creative Strategies at the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Director of the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “They support our organization as well as the events we put on – the Blue Ridge Marathon, Go Cross Cyclocross, and the GO Outside Festival. We’re excited to see an homage to Roanoke’s love of outdoor activity with this mural.”

“Folks now get the power of the City’s mural projects in helping to re-envision areas ripe for investment and rally community energy,” said Douglas Jackson, Arts and Cultural Coordinator for the City of Roanoke. “We’re hoping to get even more art onto neighborhood walls and to get more emerging artists involved. We love the opportunity to help our local artists grow.”

Watch a time lapse of the mural at