CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After three years and 32 paintings on columns under Interstate 64, the city's Peer to Pier program will go on a one-year hiatus, the program's founder said Wednesday.
Instead, city officials will focus their efforts next year on trying to make the area around the existing murals more friendly to visitors through landscaping, lighting and interpretive signs, Lori Brannon told members of the Strong Neighborhoods Task Force.
In the first three years, artists have painted murals along Washington Street, Kanawha Boulevard and, most recently, Virginia Street.
"This is becoming kind of an art gallery," said Brannon, a neighborhood planner who coordinates the annual mural program.
"But it's messy. There's no lighting. There's no signage."
The mural program could resume after a year off to work on those issues, she said.
Brannon said that decision was made several weeks after City Hall discussions with City Manager David Molgaard and Assistant Mayor Rod Blackstone.
The area under I-64 between the north and south lanes of Pennsylvania Avenue has long served as parking lots, although contractors working on the Fort Hill bridge above have fenced off the area closest to the Kanawha River as a staging area for their equipment for the last few years.