Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

Visit our Facebook page.

RSS feed of this blog

From the dais to the canvas

painting by Matt Kelly

What do you do after eight years on the City Council? Former Ward 3 Councilman Matt Kelly has been trying to push all those meetings out of his head by taking painting classes with Bill Harris at Liberty Town Arts Workshop, but it seems some issues of local public policy have found their way into his work.

Kelly is taking suggestions for a title for the above painting, one of his first, which he says might be featured in a student show at Liberty Town in January.

Not too long ago, Kelly and his colleagues on council were going back and forth over whether to paint the low brick wall in the picture–intended to keep VRE riders from walking into traffic–a more neutral hue. The council eventually dropped the matter, but it turns out Kelly got his own chance to “paint the wall.”

“Someday this wall will be no more (hopefully) and I wanted to document it as a lesson to future generations so that they can learn from our mistakes. It’s the historian in me,” Kelly writes.  “Also, this scene has a lot of straight lines and no people. Not ready for a lot of curves and odd shapes yet. ”

Speaking of the arts, a plan to establish an arts and cultural district downtown will be up for a hearing at next Tuesday’s City Council meeting. This district would allow the city to waive some fees and taxes for arts-focused businesses, and would allow for some small tax rebates for restaurants and other businesses that allow local art to be exhibited in their public areas. Look for more in the paper on this plan before Tuesday.

Post tags: | |


  • intheknow

    Council was given several options for the wall at a work session, including two much less expensive ones that matched the color of the surrounding structures. Matt was there and approved the option selected. It also happened to be the most expensive one. Look it up.

  • http://ClarificationIITheSequal Matthew Kelly

    Incorrect-Actually, local residents got a bid for $600.00. The money was raised through resident donations. Staff decided to up the ante to put an anti-graffiti coating on the wall which is not on it now. Never got to a vote on which course to take. When I brought the issue up again, as to whether to proceed, I didn’t make a specific recommendation. Council just changed from a 7-0 vote to paint the wall to a 6-1 vote not to paint the wall. No explanation given. Look it up.

  • LarryG

    I think Kerry Devine had a name suggestion recently… :-)

  • intheknow

    Matt, I was refering to the original selection of the style of the wall. Council approved it and even had photoshop images of what it would look like in place. Look it up.

  • http://ClarificationIITheSequal Matthew Kelly

    Correct–There were serious safety issues with train commuters crossing the street where the visibility, due to the bridge was limited. It was an accident waiting to happen. Staff advised the wall to be of a neutral or natural stone color after questions from Council. Good idea, bad execution.

  • http://72B2 intheknow

    Nothing wrong with the wall, it is the same style used around the Washington Monument. It was also the style approved by the Darbytown neighborhood association and Council, so don’t try to pawn it off on staff. Perhaps it is the context; too nice for the crumbling bridge and trashy looking Janney Marshal property. Seems the usual whining of the usual few still carries too much weight in the City.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention From the dais to the canvas - City Beat --

  • http://ClarificationIITheSequal Matthew Kelly

    Wrong Again–Darbytown didn’t approve the wall. It was not brought up to them as I understand it until after it was up and this whole discussion started. Was not aware a vote was taken at that time. What staff initially presented, and they will agree, was a stone colored wall.

  • intheknow

    Wrong again. Council was shown photos of various options and went with the colored wall recommended by staff. Check the minutes.