Saturday, July 16, 2011

Market building gets a splash of color – video

Artist Cheryl Foster

The push is on and Mayor David Bowers’ state of the city address is set to be held in “Charter Hall” on the morning of August 25.

Artist Cheryl Foster was finishing the second installation of a mosaic Friday afternoon while Local Colors Taste of Culture was hosting food and culture of the Philippines. Wall Street was closed off and the smell of food pulled hundreds in for the lunch time festivities.

Foster of Temple Hills, Md. specializes in glass mosaics and has completed public art projects in Maryland, Florida, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina. Four commercial porcelain glazed tile mosaics will welcome visitors into the renovated Market building. She also designs mosaic murals with stained glass.

The entrances are lighting up with color noted pedestrians who stopped to gaze. The design of a fruit and flower vendor is positioned at the front entrance, a butcher with sausage on Wall Street, an N & W Pullman porter on Market Street and a boy with a banjo still hidden in a truck will grace the Salem entrance. The $75,000 cost comes from the one percent for arts program.

The Friday lunchtime crowd ate and Pearl Fu of Local Colors and Amor Hype with the Philippine congregation explained Philippine culture. Dancers were performing a pre-spanish dance called tinikling. A very tricky dance performed by stepping between moving poles.

Mayor Bowers stepped in and surprised Pearl Fu with his quick stepping bare feet. It wasn’t the electric slide that Bowers was accustomed to but he allayed Pearl’s fear and got through it unscathed. Others joined in and seemed to catch on quickly to the rhythm of the bouncing poles.

All the while people marveled at the mosaics unfolding piece by piece. With some custom grouting, face shadowing, and five coats of sealer Foster’s work will be complete by mid-week. “To get the colors I needed to order 4000 pounds of tile,” said Foster. The project will use half of it. Nipping each peace of tile was a tedious task she performed with ease.

After the citizen’s panel had approved the four smaller sketches of the mosaics Foster drew them to scale. “Two of the sketches were approved right off the bat but two needed tweaking … coming from the outside you don’t always know what’s important to the folks,” said Foster.

All the work was completed in Maryland with pieces taped and numbered by row. “When I got here I just took it off the truck in order,” said Foster.

Bowers while gazing at the mosaic of a butcher holding sausage said to a puzzled Foster, “you know hot dogs are important to Roanoke.” Susan Jennings, public art coordinator grinned amusingly along with Foster.

Foster patiently put Bowers to work crafting a tile and pasting it in place. Foster later said, “I’d be happy to have a Mayor like that greet me any day.”

The market building is scheduled for a ribbon cutting August 25. Mayor Bowers plans to give his state of the city address on the renovated third floor of the Market Building at 7:30 a.m. “It will be a riveting memorable speech you won’t want to miss,” said Bowers ostentatiously.

The third floor has been named “Charter Hall” and already has a wedding scheduled. There is also interest in using the hall for business conferences and non-profit events according to Jim Deyerle the leasing agent with Hall Associates, Inc.

Having a tile crew from Roanoke was a plus said Foster. Not only that but Art Tile, Inc. owner Yordany Rosento is the fifth restaurant leasing space in the building. Habana Café will take the corner on Market Street and expand using the adjacent retail space and outdoor seating.

Habana Café joins returning tenants Hong Kong Restaurant and New York Subs and newcomers Euro Bakery and All Sports Café.

“Lease negotiations are underway with the three remaining food slots,” Deyerle said. One of them still negotiating is former tenant Roger Lamm. Lamm’s Tavern on the Market would occupy their former location at Wall and Campbell. The others have letters of intent and the few remaining retail spaces are getting serious interest. “There is even the possibility of drive-in retail … we’re almost done,” he said.

Most of the kitchens especially the corners are utilizing adjacent retail outside spaces. The grand opening is still scheduled for Labor Day weekend with a soft opening set for the week prior. The signed tenants are just beginning building out their spaces.

“It’s going to be snug but I’m confident we’ll have [tenants] in there by the end of August,” said Deyerle.

The only cost to the city will be the debt service for the renovation and the promised $35,000 maximum enticement for former Market vendors to return. The city will receive historic tax credits to offset the $7 million renovation.


Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Local Events, Video

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