With so many new and evolving changes in our district, there are a variety of ways to eat, shop, live, and play in downtown Harrisonburg. Do you love trying craft brews at our downtown restaurants‘ steal-a-pint nights or trolling our many boutiques for the latest fashion trends? Are you devoted to discovering local artists at First Fridays Downtown or listening to bands at MACRoCk every April? Design Downtown is your chance to show us how you do downtown!
What is Design Downtown?
The annual Design Downtown art contest, presented by Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, is focused on showcasing the work of local artists that celebrates the positive growth and changes of our historic district and illustrates the spirit of downtown Harrisonburg. One of the best parts of our community is the diversity of viewpoints, influences, and backgrounds present and how everyone can experience downtown in a different and unique way. Design Downtown is an opportunity for our community artists to share their unique experiences in downtown Harrisonburg.
The competition began in 2009 as the Do Downtown Poster Contest, which served as a promotional effort and vehicle to reach out to university/college student artists. Last year, we decided to revamp the contest, rename it Design Downtown, and open it up to all local artists (still including university/college students) in any medium to gather a larger diversity of entries and to be more reflective of our growing arts scene.
Good Morning, Harrisonburg
The winning Design Downtown 2012 entry, titled “Good Morning Harrisonburg,” was created by local artist Don Denny, a graduate of the VCU School of Design and a local graphic designer. Inspired by the morning light that plays off the buildings of Harrisonburg’s historic Court Square, his design captures a visual style in tribute to the WPA poster program from the 1930s.
In addition to being reproduced as a poster, Don’s design can also be seen as the label artwork for “Downtown Reviver,” HDR’s first downtown coffee. This custom coffee blend was developed by Shenandoah Valley-based Cabin Creek Roasters in collaboration with HDR staff, and the coffee’s name was selected through a community poll on HDR’s Facebook page.
Downtown Reviver is currently available for purchase at the Rocktown Gift Shoppe and the Cabin Creek Roasters website, with intentions to expand into further sales and service at other downtown locations and events.
HDR specifically selected coffees for the blend that were fair-trade, organic, and bird-friendly. A portion of all sales benefit Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.
HDR plans to reproduce the 2013 winning artwork on another line of consumable merchandise, in addition to reproducing it as a poster. Possible collaborations include a local brewery, vineyard, or chocolatier.
Other Past Winners
The 2010 downtown poster was created by Ryan Madden (JMU , 2011). Ryan created this poster from a combination of watercolor and graphic design.
The 2009 downtown poster was created by Emily Street (JMU, 2009). Emily received a BFA in Art with a concentration in Printmaking and a minor in French. She accepts commissioned work requests and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of the downtown posters are available for sale at the HDR offices and pricing information can be found on the HDR Merchandise page. Special discounts are available for Friends of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and Harrisonburg Chamber of Commerce members.
So how do I enter Design Downtown 2013?
The winning 2013 design will have high artistic merit and promotional value and it will capture the nuances of our unique community. Our panel of judges is looking for a design that best illustrates the positive growth in downtown Harrisonburg and captures the spirit of our community. The design can be in any medium (2D or 3D) as long as the design can then be effectively reproduced (scanned or photographed) in a 2D format for reproduction on merchandise and promotional materials.
The winner will be announced on May 3, 2013 on HDR’s Facebook page and website, as well as here on the Do Downtown blog. An exhibit will be held that evening as part of First Fridays Downtown that will feature the top designs of the contest, with a special highlight about the winning design. The winning design will be reproduced on downtown merchandise to be sold by HDR at events and in various venues throughout downtown.
Entry forms and instructions are available on the Design Downtown page of the HDR website. Judges are accepting submissions now through Friday, April 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm.
So get started on your entry today and show us how you see downtown!
Nicole Martorana is the Editor of the Do Downtown blog and the Promotions Manager for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.