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March

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Shaping the Future of Harrisonburg

JMuse Cafe continues partnership with community groups to continue conversation

By Courtney Herb ('15)

Shaping Spaces In the fall of 2013, Harrisonburg community members came together to discuss the past and present of the city they call home. This spring JMuse Cafe is continuing the conversation, but with a look toward the future.

Established by the James Madison University Libraries in fall 2011, JMuse Cafe is an informal and lively forum for students, faculty, staff and the Harrisonburg community to come together and explore topics of public interest.

Sponsored by a partnership of civic and educational groups, JMuse's "Space, Place, and Community" series will offer the opportunity for thoughtful public dialogue through two community conversations. These dialogues will focus on the city's future, and examine how Harrisonburg residents can create successful public spaces and places that build community. Each conversation will feature panelists that include Harrisonburg residents, civic leaders, educators, and elected officials.

The first of these conversations, "Shaping Spaces," will open discussion on creating successful public spaces in the Harrisonburg community. Panelists include Melissa Fisher, former Chief Operating Officer of Highline Park in New York City; Cecil Gilkerson, former Director of Harrisonburg's Department of Parks and Recreation; Charles King, Vice-President of Administration and Finance at JMU; and Henry Way, Harrisonburg Planning Commission and JMU Professor.

To develop these ideas, the second conversation, "Making Places," will center on using the spaces discussed in the first forum to foster community. Panelists include Linwood Rose, Former President of JMU and Ron Copeland, founder of Our Community Place.

The series will also feature "Poetry, Place, and Identity" an evening of poetry and discussion on displacement, belonging, and the complex relation between one's identity and one's places and origins. Poets present will include Dr. Robert Viscusi, American Book Award Winner for Astoria and professor at Brooklyn College, as well as Dr. Kendra Hamilton, author of The Goddess of Gumbo and professor at University of Virginia.

The first community conversation, "Shaping Spaces" takes place on Wednesday, March 26th from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. in the Harrisonburg City Council Chambers.

The second community conversation, "Making Places," will take place on Wednesday, April 16th from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. at Rose Library in the third floor Flex Space.

The poetry night, "Poetry, Place, and Identity," will take place on Wednesday, April 3rd from 7p.m. to 8:30p.m. at Rose Library in the third floor Flex Space.

This series is co-sponsored by: Campus Community Civic Collaborative, Furious Flower Center, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority, JMU Institute for Visual Studies, JMU Libraries, JMU Office for Diversity, Northeast Neighborhood Association.

For more information on these upcoming events, visit the JMuse Café website.








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