2019 Virginia Main Street Idea Pitch: Making Ideas Happen!

Main Street Idea Pitch!
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Do you have an idea for a new Main Street revitalization project idea you would like to start?  Are you positive it’s something that will be a slam-dunk success? Then you do not want to miss Virginia Main Street’s second annual

Main Street Idea Pitch competition.
Main Street Idea Pitch is a downtown revitalization idea competition during Virginia Main Street’s Downtown Intersections conference, July 22-24, in Lynchburg. It is an opportunity to win a $5,000 grant award to implement the idea. The competition will begin the morning of Wednesday, July 24 and culminate with the winner announcement later that day during the Virginia Main Street Merit Awards Luncheon.
The Main Street Idea Pitch competition is geared towards stimulating the Virginia Main Street network of communities and professionals to craft imaginative Main Street project ideas. Projects should:
  1. Connect to the community’s vision to create vibrant, people-centered places to live, work and invest.
  2. Support any of the four key areas Main Street programs have been using as a guiding framework for over 35 years: economic vitality, effective promotion, quality design and sustainable organization.
  3. Focus on highly visible changes and measuring progress and results that demonstrate the revitalization effort is under way and succeeding.
Potential project ideas can include, but are not limited to:
  • Nonprofit organizational development
  • Market studies and strategy development
  • Downtown organization website development
  • Design and place-making projects
  • Entrepreneur support programs
  • Buy local and extended store hours programs
Pitch applications must be received by 5 p.m. on May 3.
Find out more to become a pitch presenter and make your ideas happen >>>
Check out the video below to find out how last year’s VMS Idea Pitch winner, Downtown Blackstone Inc., was able to utilize the $5,000 grand prize to beautify their downtown!

Save The Date: 2019 Downtown Intersections


Downtown Intersections

July 22-24 | Lynchburg, Virginia

Save the date and mark your calendars to attend Downtown Intersections, presented by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, on July 22-24 in Lynchburg, Virginia!

This two-day event promises a packed schedule full of sessions spanning topics geared toward strengthening your downtown revitalization efforts and helping your community create its ideal downtown destination marketplace.

Arts and the economy converge at South Boston conference

Economic development and arts professionals convened in South Boston last week to explore strategies for harnessing the “creative class” in their communities. The conference, “Art and the Creative Economy,” featured notable speakers presenting examples of how small towns and cities have enhanced their economies by embracing the arts. The term “creative class,” as coined by Richard Florida, describes the class of workers that earn their living from their ideas and not machinery.  These individuals may be artists, designers, scientists, and researchers, to name just a few. As manufacturing leaves more small towns, this “creative class” just may be the economic boon that can make the difference.

newsThe Prizery, a shining example of adaptive reuse for a tobacco warehouse, made a great venue for the conference. Featured speakers included Joy Gieseke, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Joy spoke about the organic growth of Mineral Point’s artist community, emphasizing that it is not an artist commune, but just a town that supports its artists. Today, Mineral Point is a town of 2,600 residents with 17 galleries and 30 artists living in town.

Marian Van Landingham spoke about her involvement with the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. Her work is an excellent example of how an artist studio and workshop can become a top tourist destination.

The keynote address was given by Mayor Joseph Riley of Charleston. He gave examples of how art has enhanced the renaissance Charleston has experienced since his first term in 1975.

After several more speakers, the day concluded with a bus tour of South Boston and Halifax including a visit to artist Bob Cage’s Sculpture Farm, Parson-Bruce Gallery and Convergence Art Guild. Later that evening, many folks from the conference attended the Suzanne Vega concert held in the Chastain Theater.