artists resources       first fridays downtown        get involved       


The Arts Council of the Valley acts as a conduit for community-based partnerships. We advocate for all forms of artistic expression – public art, visual art, theater arts, film and video, music, dance, literary arts, and interdisciplinary arts. ACV offers quality programs at low costs and we frequently extend complimentary activities to our community.

Art education is at the heart of everything we do. Our education efforts include: Art in the Park, Court Square Theater and various collaborations with nonprofit groups, local businesses, schools and universities. Programs such as our First Fridays Downtown cooperative and our Advancing the Arts Grants afford us the opportunity to work with diverse populations and to create one-of-a-kind experiences for the citizens of Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Art in the ParkIMG 2571 e1366657173865 Education

The Arts Council of the Valley (ACV) provides art and art education opportunities to the community one Saturday per month, April–October, 9am-12pm and in conjunction with the Harrisonburg Farmers Market event. Art in the Park takes place on the lawn directly behind ACV’s Smith House, located at 311 S. Main Street, Harrisonburg. Activities art making projects, performance art, collaborative public art installations, dance, and music. Each Saturday event focuses on a theme that addresses a specific social issue such as recycling, sustainability, and homelessness. The goal of the program is to encourage families to work together to create art while learning collectively about various societal concerns.

2014 Art in the Park dates:

  • Saturday, April 12, 9am-12pm
  • Saturday, May 10, 9am-12pm
  • Saturday, June 14, 9am-12pm
  • Saturday, July 12, 9am-12pm
  • Saturday, August 9, 9am-12pm
  • Saturday, September 13, 9am-12pm


First Fridays Downtown

This monthly, annual event is led by the Arts Council of the Valley in partnership with more than thirty downtown businesses and countless regional creators in the visual, performing, and literary arts. First Fridays runs from 5pm until 8pm and participating venues display art and host music, poetry or lecture events. Since 2009, the Darrin-McHone Art Gallery, the Arts Council’s visual arts space, has presented over 60 month-long art exhibitions by some of the area’s leading artists. Our exhibition openings take place on the first Friday of the month. For a list of First Fridays dates and participating venues, visit our Special Events page.

ff ww2 Education ff larkin2 Education


Advancing the Arts Grants

In the past decade the Arts Council of the Valley has awarded more than $310,000 in grants to support community-based initiatives in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham area. Mirroring the image of the community’s creativity, these funds are awarded to organizations and artists working in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Grant information is disseminated mid-summer and grant applications are due in September annually.

SUBMIT A GRANT | 2013-2014 Grant Cycle is now closed for projects occurring November 1, 2013 – May 31, 2014

Arts in Education for educators serving students in Harrisonburg/Rockingham.  These grants are available for projects that include writing, poetry, dance, music, filmmaking, and visual and performing art.

Creative Inspiration for artists living in Harrisonburg/Rockingham.  This grant is open for writers, poets, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual and performing artists!


Congratulations to the 2013-2014 Advancing the Arts Grant Recipients!

Stone.Street.Elementary Education

CREATIVE INSPIRATION GRANTS – for individual artists and arts groups 
  • Wade Vanover for the film project “Repeater”
  • Rebecca Silberman for the photography project “12 x 12″
  • The Artery collaborative artist group
ARTS IN EDUCATION GRANTS – for public schools, colleges, universities, and other arts education-related endeavors
  • Elkton Elementary School Annual Art Contest, teacher Martha Yankey
  • Stone Spring Elementary School, ”Aleatoric Explorations,” teacher Kate Nesmith
  • East Rockingham High School, “ERHS Mosaic Letters,” teacher Michele Rosengarth
  • Spitzer Art Center, “Market Street Mosaic” — Artists: Charlotte Shristi, Barbara Gautcher, Jauan Brooks, Pat Augburger, Kelley Shradley-Horst and Jewel Hertzler
  • James Madison University: Art Education, “JMU Sharing Cross-Curricular Lesson Plans in Harrisonburg Public Schools and across the Commonwealth” – Organizer Dr. Roger Tomhave, JMU
  • River Bend Elementary School Annual Art Contest, teacher Martha Yankey
  • Reel Change Documentary Film Festival, festival organizers Shaun Wright and Shelly Hokanson

Previous Advancing the Arts Grant Recipients:
Elkton Elementary School, South River Elementary School, Skyline Middle School, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Lacey Spring Elementary School, Stone Spring Elementary School, James Madison University, Keister Elementary School, Redeemer Classical School, Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir, Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music, Harrisonburg High School, Career Development Academy’s Children’s Program, Visit from Latin Ballet of Virginia - Harrisonburg City Public Schools Foreign Language Department, Poetry Hit Squad - JMU Secondary Education & English, Residence & Refuge Mercy House with Sarah Murphy and Karen Baxter, Dr. Carl Donakowski for Roberto Sierra Residency in conjunction with Arcos Trio Latin/American Chamber Music Festival, Daniel Robinson for Ambrotype Landscapes, Brian Sampson for Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and Dr. Wanchi Huang for String Classical Music Outreach.

Past Venue Grant Recipients:
The “Go Local” Film Series, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Valley 4th, Block Party in the ‘Burg, Write-Brained Network, Shenandoah Writer’s Group, SuperG8 Film Festival, The Valley Playhouse, The Collins Center, and First Night Harrisonburg.

additional opportunities

A designated Arts & Cultural District, Harrisonburg, Virginia is home to a thriving arts community that represents a variety of different backgrounds. Our galleries glorify the dedicated work of local artists and artisans, our theaters host exciting lineups of award-winning films and performing art entertainment, and our museums capture enriching history and culture. Explore Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Virginia in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley where artistic expression of public art, visual art, theater arts, art education, and film and video, are at the heart of everything we do.