College Avenue was closed from Draper Road to Main Street last Saturday for the community to paint the street, now a mural of bold colors and handprints.
The Blacksburg Regional Art Association, the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech and the statewide MINDS WIDE OPEN initiative sponsored "Color College Avenue," a free public event for children and community members to coat the road.
MINDS WIDE OPEN is a statewide collaboration of artists and organizations to produce and present events that engage children in the arts. People of many ages attended the event and covered the street in designs.
“I love the coming together of the community, first and foremost,” said Susan Mattingly, the Executive Director of the Lyric who came up with the initial idea.
Steven Ross, Blacksburg’s Deputy Town Manager, said that his favorite part of Color College Avenue was that it brought families out to be together, which makes for a healthy community.
He also said that it's a good outlet for young people to channel their energy in a positive direction.
Mattingly said there are limitless possibilities as to what could be painted in the town.
Both parents and college students were there to interact with the children as they painted.
Blacksburg resident Julene Rice said she was excited to bring her children to the event because it fostered their creativity on a larger scale than what they could do at home.
“The freedom of it is amazing,” she said. “They will remember this, because any experience that is different changes how you view the world. They’ll be more open to new things. I hope they do something like this regularly."
“I don’t think any of us are particularly artistic,” said Nadia Tuck, a senior human development major. “I like seeing the creativity people are expressing.”
Local school teachers also attended to paint with their students and be with their families.
“It gets them to see that art is everywhere,” said Rebecca Gove, Harding Avenue Elementary School’s art teacher.
Gove said the event provided an opportunity for people to express what they have inside of them and lay it out on College Avenue.
“Art is about expressing your inner soul,” Gove said. “No one hesitated to grab a brush.”
The paintings will remain until construction of College Avenue begins later in the summer for College Avenue Promenade.