Friday, October 7, 2022

Celebrate the new mural in downtown Newport News

Mural by S. Ross Browne (HNNDaily Photo/ Courtesy of the City of Newport News)
Mural by S. Ross Browne. (HNNDaily Photo/ Courtesy of the City of Newport News)

NEWPORT NEWS — The city is having a reception at the Boys and Girls Club to celebrate the new mural in downtown Newport News on Tuesday.

The mural, which faces Jefferson Avenue, depicts local community leaders from the Marshall-Ridley neighborhood:

  • Calvin Hopson, former executive director of Greater Hampton Roads Boys & Girls Club.
  • James “Poo” Johnson, former executive director of Greater Hampton Roads Boys & Girls Club.
  • Jessie Rattley, former mayor of Newport News and the first African-American and first woman mayor of the city.
  • Ella Spratley, civil rights activist and former commissioner of Newport News Re-development & Housing Authority.
  • Chief George Austin, the first African-American police chief in Newport News.

The 325-square-foot mural was created by S. Ross Browne, an artist known for creating portraits of African-Americans and imagery that is rich in cultural and historical context, according to a news release from the city.

Residents chose Browne’s proposal earlier this year after several community meetings, said Latara Branch, neighborhood revitalization coordinator for the Department of Planning.

Browne was one of six artists considered for the project as part of the City of Newport News’ and Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s transformation plan for the Marshall-Ridley Choice neighborhood.

The plan is funded through a $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the city website.

The mural was completed in June and Browne received $20,000 for his work, Branch said.

The reception honoring Browne and celebrating the new mural will be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club – Greater Hampton Roads, 629 Hampton Ave.

The even is open to the public and light refreshment will be available. RSVP is not required. For information about the event, visit the Marshall-Ridley neighborhood website or call the office of the Newport News Planning Department, 757-926-1357.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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