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Downtown News

The Best of Valentine’s Day in Downtown Harrisonburg: This Year’s Sweets, Treats, Deals, and Special Events!

January 26, 2022 by Christi Criqui

Looking for fun ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in the Friendly City? Look no further than this year's Valentine's round-up featuring gift ideas, local restaurant specials, sales, and events happening all weekend long! Don't miss out on planning the perfect date night or celebrating your galentine's and loved ones! more

Event Recap: Best.Weekend.Ever. with Intern Eleanor

September 20, 2021 by Eleanor Weber

Looking back on the events of last weekend, it’s safe to say that Harrisonburg really saw the Best.Weekend.Ever. Between kids events, live music, restaurants galore, and art walk tours, the city came alive Labor Day weekend in a celebration of local businesses and community members.  more

Let the Art Meet You Where You Are: Arts Incarnate’s New Expansion

July 1, 2021 by Kate Harwood

Arts Incarnate is associated with the Church of the Incarnation, an Anglican church located on Liberty Street. Although Arts Incarnate is associated with a church, their commissioned artists do not need to be Christian. Their criteria for art for submission and commissioning is that the art must convey beauty, truth, or justice. Arts Incarnate and the Church of the Incarnation will be moving to their new location, 87 S Mason St, later this fall. The new location will feature a custom-built gallery for commissioned artists and the sanctuary will be repurposed as a music hall for concerts and the performing arts. more

Celebrating Mothers of All Kinds: Earth Week and Mother’s Day Promotions Downtown

April 19, 2021 by Emily Winter

How appropriate is it that Mother’s Day and Earth Day are so close together? Check out how businesses downtown can help you celebrate Mother Earth and every other kind of mother in your life in the upcoming weeks ahead.  more

What’s Up with that Construction Zone Near the Farmers Market?

December 11, 2020 by Andrea Dono

For two months now, green fencing has blocked off an area near our LOVE sculpture and our new downtown sculpture is slowly taking shape. We wanted to update you on the progress. more

“Let Our Yards Be Our Gallery”: Supporting the Arts in the time of COVID with #ArtFeltThanks

June 5, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Time and time again, since mid-March when our community began to undergo significant changes, Harrisonburg has shown resilience through inspired and creative collaborations. The ten hours a week I’m putting in as an intern at Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is nowhere near enough time for me to write about them all. There are simply too many to keep up with: Harrisonburg mobilized fast. Every single week, some fresh idea emerges not from a giant think tank or the board room of a huge, multinational corporation, but from individuals who want to patch the holes this pandemic has ripped open. As the weeks roll on and somber numbers increase, I feel at once guilty for trying to drum up some cheer during a time of global tragedy and intensely called to do just that, as a reminder to myself of the goodness around me. more

Friendly Faces (and Covers) of the Friendly City: Las Traumadas

April 15, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell / Photos Courtesy of Maressa Cortes: Y’all. What a long, strange few weeks we’ve had. I went from a life of being surrounded by noisy, spirited middle schoolers and taxi-ing kids to soccer practice to a life where walking to the mailbox constitutes “going out.” Where just the thought of going to the grocery store induces fear. Where I worry my face will freeze in an unattractive expression during a Zoom meeting with my colleagues.  more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Bahir Al Badry

March 2, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Bahir Al Badry’s art studio sits perched on the 2nd floor of Oasis Fine Art & Craft with a bird’s eye view of the gallery and shop below. Like any nest, it is a place of comfort and creation. Music drifted upwards as I climbed the stairs to meet Bahir, and on entering his space I found myself surrounded by color, meaning, and intensity.  more

The Making Space: Monthly Art and Community at the Lucy F. Simms Center

February 24, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell / Photos by Philip Meador: Remember that Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille, the one where a rat lives inside a chef’s hat and shows the chef how to cook? The idea of rodents anywhere near my food is repulsive, but somehow I found myself loving those little scoundrels by the end of the film. The best part, of course, is when the food critic Anton Ego finally relaxes and reveals a covert truth: “In the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” He admits, at last, what renowned chef Auguste Gusteau stated at the beginning of the film, that “anyone can cook.” Those words are a distant shout to the ordinary guy who aspires to greatness, arriving only as a barely audible yet soul-stirring whisper: JUST TRY. So often a fear of failure or criticism keeps us from trying something new. But the creators of Harrisonburg’s Making Space sincerely believe anyone can create, and they invite you and everyone you know to check your fears at the door and enjoy a couple of hours of free, low-stakes art-making. more

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