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Downtown News

Free Outdoor Dance Performance!

August 31, 2021 by Andrea Dono

Join TRYST in downtown Harrisonburg for a unique performance of dance and song. This site-responsive performance explores the power of connection and community through presence and play, drawing on the inherent wisdom of the body and our evolutionary powers as social creatures. 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