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Downtown News

VISIONARIES: A Changing the Narrative Art Project

February 18, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

When you see Zaharia Ford-Byrd’s painting, currently housed in the Arts Council of the Valley’s Smith House Gallery, of a Stars and Stripes wrecking ball slamming into a bright, colorful, enlivened house, you might recall artist Hugo Gellert’s image of a strapping, muscular man wielding a sledgehammer over the quaint town beneath him. Gellert’s image, however, was used in a 1946 pamphlet titled “THIS IS IT,” generated by Norfolk’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority to promote the “creative destruction” involved in urban renewal initiatives. The simultaneous resemblance and contrast of these two images highlights an urge to conveniently blur the line between progress and violence. Hearing the voices of the urban residents on the receiving end of the wrecking ball lends the balance needed to understand the consequences of urban renewal and opens a space where it’s possible for healing to begin.  more

Winter Wine Weekend: A Chat With Bluestone Vineyard’s Lee Hartman

February 12, 2020 by Andrea Dono

Ahead of the upcoming Winter Wine Weekend at Hotel Madison February 21-23, we sat down with Bluestone Vineyard winemaker Lee Hartman to talk about his love for the process, why Virginia is the best place to make wine, and what he's most excited for at the Winter Wine Weekend (or, as he calls, it "a giant wine party")! more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Sara Christensen

February 6, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell / Photos by Philip Meador: If you ask a small child what they want to be when they grow up, they often have very creative answers, like “ice cream taste tester” or “ninja mermaid.” I once had a dream of being a backup singer for Pat Benatar. Usually, however, we don’t wind up doing what we dreamed of as a child. If we’re lucky, we can earn a decent living and once in a while, taste a new ice cream or find a karaoke joint. Sara Christensen, the fantastic human behind The Lady Jane on S. Main Street, dreamed as a child of owning a shop, even though she knew she’d be a school teacher. more