Community Spotlight: Arts Council of the Valley

The non-profit works to support both artists and our community.
Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 10:11 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - When it comes to showcasing the arts in Harrisonburg, the “Arts Council of the Valley” comes to mind. They’re the non-profit behind Court Square Theater, “First Fridays,” and the gallery in the Smith House. Their goal is to help local artists and educate anyone willing to learn the universal language.

“The arts are universal,” says Jenny Burden, executive director of the Arts Council of the Valley. “‘It’s a universal language and everybody can react, and respond, and talk about art.”

Since opening in 2000, the Arts Council has found ways to give artists the spaces they need to tell their own story.

“Artists create what we leave behind,” says Burden. “how do we know about the Greeks, the Romans? It’s by what they left behind and largely their art.”

When the pandemic hit, the Arts Council still found a way to show support. Last year alone, they were able to award more than $54,000 to local artists.

“We are the Friendly City,” said Burden. “I want anyone and everyone who comes to Harrisonburg to see we support artists, we love artists.”

As life slowly returns back to normal, so does the art scene downtown.

Starting Friday, June 9, they are hosting their first in-person exhibition since the pandemic started. Venues involved with “First Fridays” are slowly opening and welcoming back the public. Court Square Theater has announced it will be reopening, but the date has not yet been announced.

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