“It represents love” International & local artist paint new mural highlighting local resident

Published: Oct. 5, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - An artist from South America joined a local muralist to paint something special for the Northwest Roanoke City community.

Spreading joy in a community one spray at a time. That’s the goal of Brazilian artist Thiago Valdi who is in town as part of a partnership with Sister Cities International.

“For us to improve and make more strong connections between the two countries, two cities,” explained Valdi.

Together with local artist Jon Murrill, they are gifting Northwest Roanoke a new mural.

“I think artwork can be a really powerful thing for the community,” added Murrill.

To make it even more impactful – they asked residents to submit pictures for their chance to be painted.

“There’s a lot of beauty and power in the people who live near the walls,” said Vladi. “So, I think it’s more meaningful if people see themselves on my painting.”

Of 50 submissions submitted, both artists chose to illustrate Danielle Johnson, a Roanoke City Public School social worker.

“We’ve had so many residents stop by and say, ‘I know Danielle, I know that she works in Roanoke City what she does and that’s what we want to make an impact in people’s lives in the community and spread positivity and joy through our artwork,” said Murrill.

Humble Hustle Founder Xavier Duckett helped the artist find their muse. For him, it was important to see the neighborhood highlighted in a positive light.

“This mural represents strength, it represents love, it represents womanhood, and you know it represents the unwavering work that’s constantly being done by our people in our community,” said Duckett.

They hope the mural inspires other artists to find the blank canvases in need of color in the Star City.

You can find the mural here: