Many Harrisonburg apartment residents came to the area drawn by the small town atmosphere that the city embodies, but what may surprise you is the city’s vibrant, diverse, and impressive art offerings. Harrisonburg’s art community contains a wide range of talents and media thanks to students, local and nationally recognized artists. Arts in the Valley are a community affair, supported by and focused on giving back to Harrisonburg’s residents.
Art venues in Harrisonburg are so numerous and so varied that you could easily visit a new gallery and exhibit every week! Here are a few of our favorites to get you started:
Harrisonburg’s community-focused art center promotes and supports artists at every age and level, and includes a well stocked supply store that provides materials for artists and sells their work. Larkin Arts is home to an art school with two classrooms that provide classes for children and adults, summer camps, painting parties and so much more. The Wine-Riner Galleries host exhibitions featuring local, national, solo, group and juried art, and five artist studios provide workspace and meeting space for artists, allowing them to interact with the public.
Smith House Galleries
The “Smith House” was rescued from demolition by the Daily News-Record in 2005 on the condition that it be removed from its location. It was transported by truck to its current Main Street location, and houses the Rhapsody Room and the Darrin-McHone Gallery. The galleries are dedicated to local and emerging artists in their community oriented space.
Spitzer Art Center
The Spitzer Art Center is enthusiastically maintained by volunteers and provides workshops and classes to the community. The Center helps member artists discount their expenses, provides exhibition opportunities for artists, and works to grow and enrich local art and culture in the Shenandoah Valley. A diverse and active event calendar provides countless opportunities for Harrisonburg residents to connect with artists and art.
Oasis Fine Art & Craft
Oasis is known as Harrisonburg’s premiere artist cooperative. The studio features approximately 40 artists from the Shenandoah Valley, providing work that includes masks, metalwork, painting and pottery. Location and affordability validate the name “Oasis” – the downtown gallery is steps away from dining, shopping and museums, and the high quality work is reasonably priced.
The 150 Franklin Street Gallery
This beautiful space on Franklin Street features original work from local and national artists to create the first multicultural fine arts gallery in Harrisonburg. Exhibits include oil and acrylic painting, handmade papers, sculpture, ceramics, watercolor, monoprints, and fiber arts. The gallery is open to the public and welcomes book signings and other events.
James Madison University Arts
The heart of Harrisonburg is James Madison University, and it’s no surprise that the academic community at the University contributes heavily to the arts in our city. The Artworks Gallery is a student run gallery that provides valuable experience for students artists and gives the community a chance to view emerging talent. The Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Arts provides a space for local and academic community members to experience art and discuss the nature of artistic expression. The New Image Gallery is devoted to contemporary photography and media from artists locally, nationally, and internationally.
You Made It!
Pick a piece of pottery and paint it! Learn how to paint on canvas! Make a fused glass sculpture! Play with clay! If you want to branch out and get creative, You Made It! is a perfect place to unwind and tap into your creative side. This place is great for kids, office parties, or just for an afternoon when you’d like to learn something new.
Laughing Dog Studios
Laughing Dog Studios contains a unique and enticing blend of arts, including a print shop, an embroidery and screen printing studio, an art gallery and a gift shop in its Historic Downtown Harrisonburg location. This lively, inviting space features local and regional art and hosts an art show monthly. Don’t forget to say hello to Sparky, the shop dog, while you’re there.
These suggestions are just a sample of the art offerings available right outside your Harrisonburg apartment door. Many of the local restaurants feature art and host art openings on “First Fridays”, Harrisonburg’s monthly celebration of the Historic downtown center and the arts. In addition to the visual arts, Harrisonburg features a rich variety of music and performing arts. No matter where you stand, around every corner of Harrisonburg, from every angle, you can enjoy art!