State announces grants for downtown revitalization, small-business projects; more …

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to [email protected].

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State announces grants for downtown revitalization, small-business projects

More than $2.9 million in Virginia Main Street, Community Business Launch and Virginia Business District Resurgence grants have been awarded to 45 projects across the state, including several in Southwest and Southside.

The projects are designed to revitalize historic commercial districts, expand small businesses and bolster local economies, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers all four programs.

Community Business Launch projects work with entrepreneurs and small-business owners to develop business ideas that they pitch to a panel of judges, with the winners receiving grant funding and support services.

Virginia Main Street Downtown Investment Grants support Advancing Virginia Main Street communities and can be used to fully fund projects, or to provide seed funding or gap financing to get projects off the ground.

Virginia Main Street Community Vitality Grants help communities revitalize their downtowns and are available to all active Exploring Main Street and Mobilizing Main Street communities and organizations.

Virginia Business District Resurgence Grants projects support Virginia-based community development financial institutions.  

The grant recipients include:

Virginia Main Street Downtown Investment Grants  

  • Believe in Bristol: $75,000 for Bristol Public Art Initiative.
  • Destination Downtown South Boston: $75,000 for Wayfinding Signage Program.
  • Downtown Lynchburg Association: $75,000 for Bright Nights on the Bluffwalk.
  • Farmville Downtown Partnership: $50,000 for Facade Grant Program 2023.
  • Tazewell Today Inc.: $32,000 for Greenspace/Main Street Park.
  • St. Paul Tomorrow: $10,000 for Gateway Art.

Virginia Main Street Community Vitality Grants

  • City of Galax: $24,000 for Galax CVG Project 2023.
  • Gate City Frontier Inc.: $15,000 for Gate City Proud.
  • Town of Halifax: $15,000 for Downtown Connections 2.

Community Business Launch Grants

  • Downtown Lynchburg Association: $100,000 for Launch LYH 2024.
  • City of Covington: $50,000 for City of Covington Community Business Launch.
  • Town of Wise: $50,000 for Community Business Launch 2024 — Town of Wise.

Virginia Business District Resurgence Grants

  • Downtown Lynchburg Association: $135,000 for Downtown Lynchburg Association Retail Environment Initiative.
  • Bristol Chamber of Commerce: $100,000 for Made in Bristol.
  • Destination Downtown South Boston: $100,000 for South Boston Keep Entrepreneurs Program Vol. 2.
  • Downtown Wytheville Inc.: $100,000 for Small Business Sustainability and Utility Stabilization Incentive Pilot Program.
  • City of Galax: $100,000 for 2024 Galax Main Street Strategy.
  • Town of Altavista: $57,000 for Spark Innovation Boost Your Business Series.
  • The Harvest Foundation: $50,000 for A Foundation for the Martinsville Minority Business Consortium.

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‘Start-Up Slam’ returns in Danville

Danville’s River District Association it hosting another “Start-Up Slam,” an event where members of the community can share business ideas and compete for a cash prize.

The next Start-Up Slam will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 26 at Ma’s Cakes, 318 Main St.

Up to 15 participants will be chosen randomly to share their new business ideas with the crowd (3-minute limit), and attendees will vote on their favorite at the end of the evening. The top vote-getter takes home all the cash collected at the door.

The event is open to the community, but reservations are required and the event will be capped at 100 people. Admission is $10 per person, cash only at the door. Children under 5 can attend free but won’t get to vote for their favorite idea.

To reserve a seat, register online, call the RDA office at 434-791-0210 or email [email protected].

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Roanoke College names first director of marching and spirit bands

Roanoke College has named Terrell Smith as its first-ever director of marching and spirit bands.

Terrell Smith. Photo courtesy of Roanoke College.

Smith, who has 16 years of experience in music instruction and band program leadership, comes to Roanoke from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he had served as director of athletic bands since 2021, according to a news release announcing his appointment.

He was previously assistant director of bands for Stevenson University and marching percussion coordinator for the University of Maryland.

At Roanoke, Smith will build a new marching band program that could grow to as many as 50 students.

The marching and spirit bands program is part of a larger plan to bring varsity football back to Roanoke after an 80-year hiatus. The team is set to start as a club sport in fall 2024 and advance to varsity status in 2025. The college also will create a competitive cheerleading team.

Smith is completing a master’s degree in music education with the University of Maryland and holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. He’s a composer and performer who has founded several nonprofit youth and community music programs.

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University of Lynchburg names new museum curator

The University of Lynchburg has named a new director for its Daura Museum of Art.

Brooke Marcy. Photo courtesy of University of Lynchburg.

Brooke Marcy, who previously served as curator at Riverviews Artspace in downtown Lynchburg, will assume the role Sept. 18.

Marcy also is an adjunct professor of art at the university and has taught at Randolph College and George Mason University.

She recently curated the “Art to the People” project, which was exhibited at sites around Lynchburg, and was a guest curator at the Legacy Museum of African American History in Lynchburg.

Marcy has worked at the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Capital Group, both in New York, and is an oil painter who has a studio at Riverviews.


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