January 11 2018                                                                                                             Valley Gets Good Feedback on Business                                                              Marina Barnett                                                                                                               whsv.com

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Harrisonburg and Rockingham County businesses are getting feedback on how well they are doing.

On Wednesday morning, the Community Land Use and Economics Group (CLUE Group) presented data from a ninemonth long study at Court Square Theater on how business in the Shenandoah Valley is doing.

Most of the news reported a healthy, growing economy. There were some things they can work on, too. The presentation allowed for many suggestions on how to grow small businesses in the area. CLUE Group Principal, Kenendy Smith, said the Valley is in such a good place right now, it's about looking to the future for business. 

Kennedy said the Valley is a great place for economic development opportunities and hosting things like "Shark Tank" competitions can help future businesses try out their ideas. 

Kennedy suggested pop-up shops and even mobile shops for businesses to get to the "next level."

Andrea Dono, the executive director for the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, said this study provides a lot of information for the local businesses to take in and try to implement.

"What we're looking forward to is putting some of those tools in place that were recommended for us and continuing to partner with the SPDC, with JMU, with the city, to make some of those things come to fruition in the next few years," said Dono. 

Peirce Macgill, the assistant director of Economic Development for Harrisonburg, said this study was good because it gave Harrisonburg and Rockingham County a chance to work together on a project. He was pleased with the results of the study. 

"Incredibly positive and that may be the most surprising thing about it, just how positive the study was, from people's perceptions downtown, be it students and residents to the retail sales gap," said Macgill.

In February, there is a workshop scheduled for local business owners in the city and county, which can help them to take the ]rst step in right direction to the "next level." The workshop is called "Bricks and Clicks" where local businesses can learn how to make their stores a "destination" offline and online.


All Events


January 5 2018                                                                                                           First Friday Art Show at Three Notch'd Valley Collab House, Harrisonburg                                                                                            allevents.in

EVENT DETAILS: January First Friday Art Show

Join us for the kick off of 2018 First Fridays Downtown through the Arts Council of the Valley. 

Check out our featured Artist of the Month, Nidhi Vinod and enjoy some live acoustic tunes provided by the one and only Maggie Hagy kicking of around 7:30pm.

Happy Hour 4-6pm.
Specialty small batch tapping at 4pm.

You may also like the following events from Three Notch'd Brewing Co. Harrisonburg Taproom (https://allevents.in/org/three-notchd-brewing-co-harrisonburg-taproom/6032992):

This Saturday, 6th January, 10:30 am, Winter Bend & Brews Taproom Yoga in Harrisonburg (https://allevents.in/harrisonburg/winter-bend-and-brews-taproom-yoga/138676963498855)

Also check out other Arts Events in Harrisonburg (https://allevents.in/harrisonburg/art), Craft Events in Harrisonburg (https://allevents.in/harrisonburg/crafts).

Augusta Free Press

December 28 2017                                                                                                       Court Square Theater kicks off New Year with Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys                                                          augustafreepress.com

Arts Council of the Valley’s Court Square Theater announces the arrival of renowned bluegrass band Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys, performing Friday, January 19.

Ralph Stanley II, son of original Clinch Mountain Boy Dr. Ralph Stanley, is a multi-award wining songwriter and musician. After being taught the banjo by Ralph Sr., Ralph II found himself captivated by the guitar, an instrument he’s been playing ever since. A 1977 video of Clinch Mountain Boys lead singer Keith Whitley inspired Ralph II to pursue music professionally, eventually leading him to join Ralph Sr. and The Clinch Mountain Boys in June 1995.

With six solo albums and two Grammy nominations for albums recorded under Rebel Records, Ralph II is no stranger to acclaim. In 2002, he earned his first Grammy nomination alongside his father for the Jim Lauderdale collaboration “Lost in the Lonesome Pines.” Now, Ralph II leads Clinch Mountain Boys John Rigsby (fiddle and mandolin), Alex Leach (banjo), and Noah brown (upright bass) for a foot stompin’ show every time.

Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys will perform at Arts Council of the Valley’s Court Square Theater on Friday, January 19th. Doors open at 6:00 PM with the show beginning at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $18 advance and $21 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit valleyarts.org or call 540.433.9189.

Arts Council of the Valley’s Court Square Theater is located at 41-F Court Square in Downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Augusta Free Press

December 18 2017                                                                                                       Hank Williams Tribute Show at Court Square Theater on Dec. 28              augustafreepress.com         

Tribute to Hank Williams, a country, honky tonk, swingin’ extravaganza of musical friends collaborating to bring to life classic songs from the real roots of country music, is coming to Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

GRAMMY® winners Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer host the evening with the master of the telecaster, Bill Kirchen, and Prairie Home Companion stars, Robin & Linda Williams. Add to that a fabulous band and you’ve got a great country show – one that sells out every year!

Hank Williams was a consummate country songwriter, with hits that included “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “The Lovesick Blues” and “Jambalaya”. He died at the age of 29, on New Year’s 1953, leaving behind a legacy of songs and performances that will not be forgotten. In the six years of his recording career, Hank Williams songs created the definition of the perfect country song. This popular show brings together an all-star cast of friends who get together just once a year to celebrate the songs of a country music idol.

Bill Kirchen: The guitar slingin’, honky tonkin’, country croonin’ Kirchen has a brand new album, Transatlantica. The man is simply addicted to music, music halls, hot licks and country twang.

Robin & Linda Williams: From The Grand Ole Opry to Austin City Limits, Music City Tonight to Mountain Stage, Robin & Linda never cease to wow audiences wherever they go. “Individually their voices can melt cheese, and in duet they can do all-purpose welding.” Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: Known for their tight harmony singing and stellar instrumentation on guitar, banjo and mandolin, winners of 2 Grammy® Awards, 60+ WAMMY Awards and 14 GRAMMY nominations. Billboard Magazine called them “As close to flawless folk/bluegrass as it gets.”

Patrick McAvinue: Patrick leads the new generation of hot fiddlers with exquisite taste and versatility.  He has just joined the bluegrass supergroup Daily & Vincent and is in the prestigious class with this year’s Artists in Residence at the Music Center at Strathmore.

Mark Schatz: Mark tours with Claire Lynch and performed with Nickel Creek, Footworks Percussion Ensemble, Tony Rice and Bela Fleck.

Tickets are $24 in advance and $28 at the door. Court Square Theater is located at 41-F Court Square, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.

For more information visit www.valleyarts.org/cst or call 540.433.9189.


Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce

December 7 2017                                                                                                           Arts Council of the Valley Announces Smith House Galleries 2018 Exhibition Schedule                                                                          hrchamber.org

HARRISONBURG, Va. (December, 07, 2017) – Arts Council of the Valley (ACV) has dedicated
itself to providing memorable arts experiences in its Smith House Galleries. Exhibition
submissions are accepted year-round and are reviewed in late fall by board members on ACV’s Exhibitions Committee.

The Council is pleased to announce its full slate for the upcoming 2018 season:
• February – Photography from the Collection of Frank and Janet Marshman
• March – artVISION: Rockingham County Youth Art Month Show, sponsored by
Rockingham County Public Schools
• April – Kappa Pi Juried Art Show
• May – Wonder Kitten
• June – Watercolors: Jude Dayton and Peg Sheridan
• July – Elise Trissel: Suspending the Ink & Stars
• August – Rocktown Camera Club
• September – Companion Paintings by Eight JMU Fine Arts Graduates
• October – John Ros and Rob Mertens: Installation
• November – ACV’s 3rd Annual Artist Member Exhibition
• December – ACV’s Small Works Invitational

With works ranging from installation to watercolor to photography, the exhibitions are a unique visual blend. “We are so excited for the variety of works we are showcasing,” raves ACV Executive Director Jenny Burden of the forthcoming season. The 2018 season also balances emerging and established artists, a goal Burden notes the Council has committed itself to more fully in recent years.

ACV is currently seeking sponsors and musicians to support each exhibition’s opening reception on First Fridays Downtown. Related inquires may be directed to Cate Bruns at

About Arts Council of the Valley
Arts Council of the Valley (ACV) was founded in 2000 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to promoting and providing memorable Arts experiences in the city of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Since its establishment, ACV has grown into a multi-faceted community organization that fosters innovative partnerships amongst area businesses, civic organizations, schools, and artists. Today, ACV manages the

Court Square Theater and Smith House Galleries, supports childhood learning by way of the Any Given Child Harrisonburg initiative, funds local art projects through its Advancing the Arts grant program, and coordinates monthly First Fridays Downtown community gatherings. To learn more, visit http://www.valleyarts.org/.


Cate Bruns

Cate@valleyarts.org or Valleyarts.org, 540.801.8779

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce

November 17 2017                                                                                                       Nothin’ but the best from bluegrass band Nothin’ Fancy, performing at Arts Council of the Valley’s Court Sq Theater                                                    hrchamber.org

Arts Council of the Valley is excited to host the sensational bluegrass band Nothin’ Fancy on Friday, December 8th as part of its ongoing Court Square Theater Music Series.

Formed in 1994 in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Nothin’ Fancy was initially created for bluegrass competitions. The band has grown steadily in popularity, releasing 11 albums and earning a loyal fan base of festivalgoers and bluegrass lovers around the world. In addition to hosting their annual Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival, Nothin’ Fancy has performed at venues in Canada, Norway, and the United States, including Lincoln Center and Virginia’s own Birchmere Music Hall.

Nothin’ Fancy members Mike Andes, Mitchell Davis, Chris Sexton, Tony Shorter, and Caleb Cox are well known for their strong vocals, powerful instrumentation, and energetic stage presence. After self-releasing four albums, the group debuted their album “Once Upon A Road” through Pinecastle Records, which earned them an International Bluegrass Music Association Emerging Artist award in 2002.

Nothin’ Fancy has also been awarded Entertaining Group of the Year six times by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) and been nominated for SPBGMA’s Vocal Group of the Year.

Nothin’ Fancy will perform at Arts Council of the Valley’s Court Square Theater on Friday, December 8th. Doors open at 6:00pm with the performance beginning at 7:00pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit valleyarts.org or call 540.433.9189.

Arts Council of the Valley’s Court Square Theater is located at 41-F Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce

November 6 2017                                                                                                         Arts Council of the Valley Awards Fifteen Advancing the Arts Grants to Community Artists, Art Educators                                                                          hrchamber.org

During the past decade, Arts Council of the Valley has awarded nearly $350,000 to support community-based initiatives in the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County through its Advancing the Arts grants. These funds are awarded to organizations, art educators, and artists working in the visual, performing, and literary arts to support the art that makes for a vibrant community. For the Fall 2017 cycle, fifteen applicants received a total of $10,000.

Advancing the Arts grants are awarded in two categories: Arts in Education, provided to educators and educational organizations, and Creative Inspiration, provided to artists.

The Council is happy to announce its Fall 2017 Advancing the Arts grant recipients:

Arts in Education:

• The Making Space, Lucy Simms Center, Monica Burkholder

• The Art of Needlework, Cub Run and Linville-Edom Elementary Schools, Robin W. Goble

• Exploring Printmaking with Children, Pleasant Valley and Plains Elementary Schools, Amelia Guido

• Boys and Girls Club Art Expansion Program, Boys and Girls Club, Kristin Lewis

• Wall of Wood, Peak View and Lacey Springs Elementary Schools,
Christopher G. Michael

• Socially Conscious Chamber Music, The Second Movement, David Perry

• The Importance of Art from Youth Perspectives: A Mural, Shenandoah Art Mobile, Emily Reese

• Professional Practice Intensive Program for Artists, john ros

• Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Second Home Learning Center, Leeanne

Creative Inspiration:

• On a Silent Night, The Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir, Lorraine

• Bridging the Gap of the Rocktown Ringers, The Arc of Harrisonburg and Rockingham, Inc., Heath Denman

• Buck Gooter Sound System, Buck Gooter and Billy Brett

• Musical Hands, Ice House Studios Photo Exhibition, Lara Ressler Horst

• Confluence: Rivers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Scott Jost

• Steve B.I.K.O. EP Project, Steven Thomas

Advancing the Arts grant applications were available in August and submitted in October.

In January 2018, Arts Council of the Valley will host a workshop for potential applicants for a second round of grant awards in Spring 2018. Interested applicants can find more information at www.valleyarts.org. The Council encourages all artists and art educators to apply.

Arts Council of the Valley is located at 311 South Main Street in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Cate Bruns, Communications and Administrative Assistant

valleyarts.org, 540.801.8779

The Breeze

October 26 2017                                                                                                           Bluegrass band Special Consensus to play at Court Square Theatre          Abigail Wallen                                                                                                                breezejmu.org

With the leaves changing and the weather finally cooling down, autumn is in full swing here in Harrisonburg. In addition to apple-picking and pumpkin-carving, one local venue downtown is offering students and locals another Virginia autumn classic — live bluegrass music. 

This Friday, the internationally acclaimed bluegrass band Special Consensus will appear in Harrisonburg at the Court Square Theater downtown. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. and tickets can be purchased for $12 in advance, and $15 at the door.

Founded in the late 1970’s and still going strong, Special Consensus originated in Chicago and continues to reach audiences across America, Australia, the UK and even Finland.

“What we really like to do is have it sound like good bluegrass music, but more current,” Greg Cahill, the manager and banjoist for Special Consensus, said. “We try to keep the material just about everyday life now, in the present.”

Special Consensus got its start back in the ‘70s when a group of friends attended a bluegrass festival together in Chicago. The group heard the music and instantly began trying it out themselves, playing their instruments and singing in the hallways during the festival. They soon after decided to form their own bluegrass band.

“We were really all good friends,” Cahill said. “All of us were coming from different musical backgrounds and loved bluegrass music. Because we were all from different musical places, but loved bluegrass, it was a consensus, you know, a special consensus.”

Over 40 years later, the band has branched out far beyond Chicago. Special Consensus continues to play all around the country, especially in areas where bluegrass is most popular. The band just finished a performance in Nashville this past Saturday before heading up to Harrisonburg for their performance this Friday.

In 2016, Special Consensus released its most recent album “Long I Ride,” for which it received its third International Bluegrass Music Association award. The album contains diverse tracks ranging from upbeat, toe-tappers like “Fireball” to more mellow ballads, such as “New Shenandoah.”

The band originally heard about the venue while playing at a festival in Pennsylvania. They were told that the theater had a great reputation with a strong crowd of bluegrass lovers, so they decided to add it to their tour. They now try to come back to Harrisonburg whenever they can. This Friday will be the band’s second appearance at the Court Square Theater, its first being in the fall of 2015.

“We were kind of branching out trying to get new bluegrass acts,” Mark Finks, manager of the Court Square Theater, said. “They definitely got a very warm reception from the crowd. Everyone seemed to really like the show. They put on a great performance.”

The Court Square Theater is a part of the Arts Council In The Valley, a non-profit organization geared toward supporting the local arts community in Harrisonburg. In addition to Special Consensus, Court Square Theater hosts many events geared towards Harrisonburg locals, such as plays and film screenings.

“We’re a community theater,” Finks said. “We’re a non-profit, independent organization, so I think a lot of people like to support that.”

In addition to supporting and promoting music groups like Special Consensus, the Arts Council hopes to encourage JMU students to experience the local art community through attending shows like the one this Friday.

“Something we’re working on in particular is encouraging JMU students to come out of their bubble,” Cate Bruns, communications and administrative assistant for the Arts Council, said. “We want JMU students to know how much we are doing out here.”

The performance this Friday will include some of Special Consensus’ most popular tracks, with a few non-bluegrass numbers thrown in such as a cappella songs and Celtic tunes. “We just kinda mix it up,” Cahill said. The band hopes that the show will have a little something for everyone.

“The audience is as important to the performers as the performers are to the audience,” Cahill said. “It’s all one big connection, and that’s a great thing. We just want to be able to go be part of the show, and forget about the trials and tribulations of everyday life.”