The Heart at Work: Looking Back on What We Learned Through the Finding Main Street Series

In 2018, Virginia Main Street (VMS) crossed the state, exploring communities through the lens of songwriter and author Dar Williams’ What I Found in a Thousand Towns. In the resulting Finding Main Street series, staff interviewed downtown champions on issues that engaged them and challenges that excited them.

In the heart of the community, VMS found the heart at work!

We’ve since lost at least one of the changemakers that was interviewed — History United’s Emma Edwards — and it underscores the point: life is too short not to do work that matters, and the work that matters is that which ignites you or sets your heart aflame. Maybe it was Valentine’s Day that has us so heart focused, or maybe it’s the emergence of the daffodils. It could well have been the company of Main Street directors at their recent retreat in Wytheville, Virginia. Whatever is responsible, it has us thinking about what gets us going and what keeps us going.

Join us in looking back at some of the themes of what makes a place great. You might feel the rekindling, the reminder that yes, your passions matter, whether they center on art, local food or history, or, well, you tell us! The passions people carry with them may also be a key in connecting them to your work. What we care about most may help make for a better community, a stronger place for our hearts.

Chapter Discussion Guide (Example towns – TRAILER, VIDEO, Facebook Launch)
Created Spaces (Beacon, NY, and Martinsville – TRAILERVIDEO9/10/18 FB Launch)
Natural Space (Moab, UT, and Norton – TRAILERVIDEO9/17/18 FB Launch)
Waterfronts (Wilmington, DE, and Lynchburg – TRAILERVIDEO9/26/18 Launch)
History (Phoenixville, PA, and Danville – TRAILERVIDEO10/2/18 Launch)
Arts & Culture (Carrboro, NC, and Berryville -Oct. 9) – TRAILERVIDEO10/9/18 Launch)
Food (Finger Lakes, NY, and Cape Charles – TRAILERVIDEO10/19/18 Launch)
Partnerships (Middletown, CT, and Fredericksburg – TRAILERVIDEO10/22/18 Launch)
Bridgers  (Gainesville, FL, and Wytheville – TRAILERVIDEO11/19 Launch)
Building Positive Proximity (StauntonTRAILERVIDEO11/3 Launch)

Want to get a book discussion going in your town? We’ve got Finding Main Street Book Discussion Tools! Want to brainstorm? Contact Doug Jackson, Capacity Development Specialist, at