CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hours after artists who painted murals on Interstate 64 bridge columns last summer were honored by City Council, organizers were making plans for a third round of the Peer to Pier project.
This year they're targeting the 12 piers along Virginia Street -- six on each side of the road -- beneath I-64 near Pennsylvania Avenue.
"It's time to get a round started for 2013," Lori Brannon told members of the Strong Neighborhood Task Force on Wednesday.
Brannon, a neighborhood planner in the city's Planning Department, convinced task force members to start the pier project two years ago after seeing similar murals in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.
In 2011, artists painted murals on 10 piers beneath I-64 along Washington Street, five on each side of the street. Last summer they painted another 10 piers on the north side of Kanawha Boulevard.
While the task force hopes to tackle all the cross streets from Washington to the river, Virginia Street rose to the top this year.
"One reason Virginia Street is good," City Councilwoman Mary Jean Davis said, "Virginia Street directs you to the Civic Center, so it's going to get a lot of visibility.
"One thing that impresses me is you need to stop to appreciate the murals," she said. "On Washington Street, I saw a class group walk around each of the piers and look at them."
Fundraising for this year is already underway, Brannon said. Davis has secured a promise of $10,000 of city funds, which would need City Council approval, she said.
"I talked to [FestivALL Director] Larry Groce. They're going to ask the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation for funding again. That gets us to $20,000." FestivALL organizers provided $10,000 for the murals in each of the first two years as part of their support of public art.
The mural project will cost more this year, Brannon said, because there are two more piers than in past years. That adds $4,000 to the budget. And the task force needs at least $3,000 to pay for scaffolding rental and clear coating the finished murals.
Assistant Mayor Rod Blackstone said he's got some ideas on how to raise the missing $7,000.