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Paint the Pavement logo

The Salisbury Public Arts Commission invites artists of all ages and skillsets to submit their best designs for the second Paint the Pavement project!

Selected artists + teams will paint their design on one of five crosswalks in the Railwalk Arts District - at the intersection of Kerr Street and Lee Street, as well as on a new crosswalk at Lee Street Theatre and the Farmer’s Market Pavilion.

2024 Artist Entry Form Paint the Pavement Packet (PDF) 6 x 25 Crosswalk Design Template (PDF)

There is no cost to enter, and all materials will be supplied by the Salisbury Public Arts Commission. Selected works will receive a $200 stipend after completion of crosswalk. Artwork should reflect the history, culture, and vibrancy of Salisbury, and display creativity and diversity. Designs will be selected by a local and diverse selection committee. Individual Rowan County artists, groups, neighborhood associations, community organizations, businesses, nonprofits, schools and/or churches are encouraged to apply.

Artists may submit up to five entries (map of crosswalk locations available below and in the Paint the Pavement packet PDF). Please submit high resolution designs in the requested template included in the application. Each design will need to fit in a 6’ x 25’ space. 

Selected artists and teams will paint the pavement with City on-site assistance. City of Salisbury Staff will take care of on-site preparations. Work will be monitored and on display for a minimum of one year.

Important dates:

Deadline *extended* for postmarked submittal June 1, 2024
Announcement of selection June 28, 2024
Waiver Forms Due July 12, 2024
Paint the Pavement Weekend To be decided with selected artists - Summer 2024

Contact Us

Staff Liaison

Alyssa Nelson
(704) 638-5235​

Connect with us on Social Media:


To Donate to Public Art in Salisbury:

Please send checks to:
Public Arts Commission
P.O. Box 479
Salisbury, NC 28145
(donations are tax deductible)

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Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include: individual artists or groups of artists representing neighborhood associations, community organizations, schools, organized groups, businesses, or nonprofits. Artists should reside or work in the City of Salisbury or Rowan County. A primary contact (hereinafter referred to as the applicant) shall be designated as part of the application package. The applicant is responsible for submitting the forms identified in the Application Checklist.

Design Requirements/General Criteria

The selected designs will:

  • fit in 6’ x 25’ crosswalk areas
  • reflect the history, culture, and vibrancy of Salisbury
  • display creativity and diversity
  • be suitable for public display
  • include no words, logos, commerical speech or advertising
  • not mimic traffic control devices
  • Use a minimum of three colors

The applicant is advised that the visual images are not intended to create a forum for public expression. The City right-of-way is a closed public forum. The City reserves the right to control what is depicted in the City’s right-of- way.

Applicants must grant permission for all artwork and imagery to be used. This includes permission to use photos of people and images of artwork and a waiver from each designer/artist to the Visual Artist’s Rights Act (VARA). Applicants must also obtain permission from each designer/artist for the City to use images of their artwork in brochures, on websites, etc.

Materials will be provided by the Public Arts Commission:

Traffic paint; brushes; chalk; knee pads; paper supplies (the paint is specifically designed to withstand high traffic areas and is designed to not become slippery when wet).

Application Checklist

  • Application form
  • A color graphical representation of the proposed painting in a minimum 8.5 x 11” format, PDF, Tiff, or JPG. Larger formats welcomed; 11” x 17” template provided in application PDF
  • The model shall fit the dimensions 25’ long by 6’ wide
  • Application includes participating designer(s)/artist(s)/painters
  • To be completed after artwork is selected:
  • Visual Artist’s Rights Act Waiver signed by each designer/artist
  • Completed Temporary Infrastructure Agreement

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who owns the Paint the Pavement final project?
A: Paintings in the public right-of-way become City property. The City has the absolute right to change, modify, destroy, remove, relocate, move, replace, transport or restore the artwork located within the City right-of-way in whole or in part, at the City’s sole discretion. The maintenance and repair of the painting will be at the discretion of the City of Salisbury and the Public Arts Commission (PAC).
Q: Is using a professional artist(s)/designer(s) required?
A: No. Although it is recommended to have a primary designated organizer who can ensure a high quality finished product, a professional artist is not a requirement or an expectation. Even if a professional is not involved, the same information regarding who will be doing the work and the proposed design is required.

Helpful Resources

Arts and Craft Safety Guide of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Asphalt Art
Pittsburg Art Council - Murals
Durham Pedestrian Crosswalk Art
How to Paint a Crosswalk Mural

Project Location

Five crosswalks in Salisbury’s downtown Railwalk Arts District:

  • Four crosswalks at the intersection of Lee Street and Kerr Street
  • One midblock crosswalk on the 200 block of East Kerr Street that connects the two brick pathways that fill in historic train tracks.
aerial map of the 5 crosswalk locations

Paint The Pavement Project

Supporting Information

“Murals build a sense of community. They make it welcoming and walkable and they make you want to go there.”
- Muralist Grace McAmmond Talking with St. Louis Public Radio

Cities have implemented artistic interventions in recent years. In NC, Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham and more have added painted crosswalks-- and there’s more to it than just curb appeal.

Painted crosswalks present an opportunity to celebrate diversity, inclusivity, enrichment & creativity. The community-sourced creations encourage a sense of connectedness and collaboration, while making art that is accessible to all. Installations in Salisbury’s Railwalk Arts district will transform blasé white striped asphalt into vibrant, inspired installations. If that weren’t enough, painted crosswalks offer these additional potential benefits:

Reduce Traffic Incidents

Seattle’s top traffic engineer explained that painted crosswalks are statistically far safer than federally mandated crosswalks. He called their safety performance "phenomenal… For these locations; we're seeing a reduction in pedestrian collisions to the point that they're not really happening.''

Feel Safer & Happier

A research study found that people felt 40% happier at painted intersections compared with typical intersections nearby; physiologically monitored stress levels were lower and people felt that strangers were more trustworthy. Art installations can also contrast negative mental health effects of concrete and asphalt, and can have therapeutic benefits for mentally ill and homeless populations.

Reduce Crime

Art installations create a sense that a space is cared for, which in turn make crimes of opportunity, vandalism, drug use, illegal dumping, and robbery less likely, according to the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP).

Increase Foot Traffic

Art installations create a “sense of place”, destination, and enliven an urban streetscape, resulting in added foot traffic. CRP found that people were 60% more likely to want to meet friends at a painted crosswalk than other locations nearby. This emotional bond can energize neglected and blighted areas, and enhance districts. In an era of social media, this lends itself to greater art-based tourism, and further defines the artistic identity for the Railwalk Arts District and Salisbury.

Maintain & Improve Property Values

Investing in art in our streets helps maintain property values while deterring crime. As people develop greater attachment to places, they are more likely to return, bring visitors and shop locally. Evidence shows that communities where people have a higher sense of attachment are correlated with higher GDP growth.

Improve Representation and Equity

Culturally-relevant art resulted in particularly increased positive associations with a location, CRP found. Art installations with a focus on diversity, equity and cultural identities can allow healing, and celebration of a shared vision of the future. Who decides on the art matters, too; the Salisbury Public Arts Committee has worked to create a diverse, representative Selections Committee for the Paint the Pavement Project.

“Experiment results suggest that cities can indeed improve wellbeing through interventions that inject nature, color, and unique elements into public space. Participants [...] felt more care for these places. They felt that strangers were more trustworthy. And they were more willing to pick up litter.” - Happy Streets Living Lap Report.<

Heightened Ownership of Our City

Participants in the CRP study expressed greater emotional attachment to the sites where there was more greenery and brightly-colored paint. They were more likely to pick up litter there, and more likely to return. “Sites that indicated community involvement -DIY projects, signs of local maintenance, reflections of local culture- all scored highly among participants for likelihood to return and care for the site.”

Stellar Cost to Benefit Ratio

Art installations can transform blighted areas and are a relatively inexpensive method of urban redevelopment. The “Paint the Pavement” project in Salisbury is budgeted in the Planning and Neighborhoods Department under public art.

The Salisbury Public Art Committee invited artists of all ages and skillsets to submit their best designs for the 2022 Paint the Pavement project! It was the first art initiative of it's kind in Salisbury.

Five murals were completed in September 2022. The crosswalk art installations at the intersections of Lee and Kerr Streets were selected in 2021 but were put on hold due to a paint shortage.

Selected artist and teams painted their design on one of five crosswalks in the Railwalk Arts District. The new art reflects the history, culture, and vibrancy of Salisbury, and displays creativity and diversity.

There was no cost to enter, and all materials were supplied by the Salisbury Public Art Committee. This project was made possible through a Rowan Arts Council grant.

Special thanks to sponsors: City of Salisbury, Public Arts Commission, DSI, Prestige Pressure Wash, Sherwin Williams, and Mean Mug.

About the Art and Artists

mural depicting rainbow bridge with sunshine, trees and buildings

"Let's Walk Together" by Yesi Abney

Description of Artwork:

"Let's Walk Together" is dedicated to all who call Salisbury home. This project required the design to represent Salisbury's history, culture, and vibrancy. When thinking about how to go about it, I knew I wanted the art to tell a story, appeal to children and adults, and project a message of love, joy, peace, and harmony. With all that in mind and a little inspiration from a song made famous by Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World," this crosswalk mural came to be.

In the design, you will find two of Salisbury's landmarks. The Historic Salisbury Station, circa 1908, is at the east end of the crosswalk. It is symbolic of what was the community's lifeline, a gateway to the Piedmont region, a gateway to dreams. It represents Salisbury's development and a time of architectural expression.

On the west end is an illustration of The Bell Tower, constructed in 1891, the tower is for many in town the location to ring in the New Year and start a new chapter, and thus, the park is where the community gathers to celebrate and connect.

The color spectrum stands for the wide range of people that make up the community today and the diverse people that settled in the area and were important in shaping the town. In the center is a square, suggestive of Salisbury's town square, the heart of the town, in the color of Salisbury's unique and fizzy wild cherry drink, Cheerwine. The sun pictograph is in recognition of those who came before, the Native American peoples, like the Catawba, to whom this area was home. This sun pictograph depicts happiness and it made sense to place it on top of the Cheerwine red. This colorful footbridge ties to Salisbury's history and future.

Last but not least the cardinals fly free in the open blue sky. They are symbolic of our home state and remind us to have a free spirit, to be encouraged, and to discover!

Artist’s Brief Bio:

Art has been in me since a very young age. Born in Nicaragua, as a Hispanic American, I meld what means home to me in my art, in ways that are meaningful to me. It doesn't matter if I am making a painting or working with Photoshop, my mind is always creating.

I create art with my heart. I am a freelance graphics designer, a social media content creator, and have a passion for photography, especially photo restoration.

mural depicting silhouettes of children playing

"Kids" by David Gaines

Description of Artwork:

The piece is to depict the freedom of joy that we have as children without the worry of criticism. The freedom of dance, play, and creative expression, not being bound by gender, race, and age. Happy times of free is what this represents.

Artist’s Brief Bio:

David Gaines has been involved in creative arts of visual expression since he was 10 years old. As he grew from grade school, to college, visual art always came with him in some form. ART has been his way of connecting people together in various forms of expression, whether through portraits, murals, paintings, or as digital art. He has had works on display in galleries all over the Carolinas and also shared his work in exhibitions in Georgia and Virginia. ART is who he is, and he plans to express it for as long as he can.

mural depicting fists of different skin colors raised in unity

"TRUE UNITY = TRUE POWER" by Karrissian Mickel

Description of Artwork:

The design is to bring, and show, unity and togetherness of the Salisbury community, especially when it comes to art. To show that our community is united and focused on extinguishing hate and racism. That True Power can only be obtained by True Unity of ALL!

Artist’s Brief Bio:

Karrissian Mickel is the owner and founder of KarMick Kanvas Art Studio in Salisbury. He is a middle school art teacher and has taught in Salisbury for five years. He was previously at Isenberg Elementary School, Overton Elementary and Enochville Elementary Schools. He loves the arts and arts culture in Salisbury and is always looking for ways to artistically give back to his community.

mural depicting tree in spring and winter growth with rings of colors and falling leaves

"Growth Looks Different Ways" by Center for Faith & the Arts, Henderson High School Students, led by Shane Manier

Description of Artwork:

The tree shedding its leaves symbolizes how you can still honor the past while letting go of ways that no longer suit the community. The colors represent the celebration of diversity in Salisbury and the oval patterns represent the linking of community between the diverse people of the city.

Artist’s Brief Bio:

Shane Manier is a Creative Coach, Tedx Keynote Speaker, Trauma Informed Care Instructor, Poetry Mentor, Visual Artist and National Spoken Word Poet. She is the founder of Guerilla Poets, a nonprofit with branches in the US and UK and is Center for Faith and the Arts visual artist in residence where she teaches art and poetry at Henderson Independent High School.

mural depicting fresh vegetables in closeup detail

"Nurtured Nature" by Center for Faith & the Arts, Henderson High School Students, led by Shane Manier

Description of Artwork:

This piece caters to the efforts of partnerships through organizations like Happy Roots, who provide community gardens across Salisbury while also serving as a metaphor for nurturing the community through planting seeds for solutions to grow a vibrant and abundant future for all.

Artist’s Brief Bio:

Shane Manier is a Creative Coach, Tedx Keynote Speaker, Trauma Informed Care Instructor, Poetry Mentor, Visual Artist and National Spoken Word Poet. She is the founder of Guerilla Poets, a nonprofit with branches in the US and UK and is Center for Faith and the Arts visual artist in residence where she teaches art and poetry at Henderson Independent High School.

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