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

Denton Building Community Meeting Recap

January 23, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

The Denton sign is a beacon to Harrisonburg locals and visitors alike, and now that the building’s future is uncertain, people are getting concerned. Last night, about 200 folks gathered to hear an informative presentation about the situation. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance executive director Andrea Dono presided over the meeting, which also featured Dr. Carole Nash, associate professor in the School of Integrated Sciences, of James Madison University, who talked about how Court Square downtown has changed through the years. more

Downtown Courts Expansion & The Historic Denton Building

December 18, 2019 by Andrea Dono

For several months, HDR has been working to separate fact from rumor in relation to the expansion of the court facilities downtown. Knowing that the Denton Building, which many recognize as the home of Larkin Arts, figures prominently into those rumors and that its demolition is likely if chosen as the expansion site, we have been very concerned. And, we are not alone in our concern; countless community members have asked us what is going on and what they can do. more

We’re Speaking the Language of Love

December 11, 2019 by Andrea Dono

(Pictured: an artist rendering of the future Language of Love sculpture) more

grace+main coffee shop Welcomes Harrisonburg Residents

November 13, 2019 by Guest

By David Tremain — Located inside Hotel Madison on the corner of Grace Street and Main Street, grace+main coffee shop welcomes JMU students and faculty and city residents to their morning cups of happiness. more

Small Business Saturday (and Black Friday) Downtown

November 13, 2019 by Jeslyn Stiles

Shop small this holiday season! You won’t find big box stores, long lines at the register, or mass-produced items in Downtown Harrisonburg. You’ll discover quality, one-of-kind, artisan items that you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll receive personalized attention from small business owners and employees who are knowledgeable about the products they sell. Most importantly, you’ll make a significant impact on our community by investing your money locally. By shopping small, you’re investing in our schools, roads, and other services we use daily. more