Youth Art Month, and the Main Street Gallery

When approached by Jon Ross from the NRV Fine Arts Center about the idea of a main street gallery, I was ecstatic. It was such a great idea to counter the closing of school’s art gallery due to COVID-19. These kids work hard on these pieces, and you can see it in the art. It is stunning to see how young and truly talented some of these artists are. Now these kids not only have a chance to show what they’ve worked on, but also get a chance to see themselves reflected on main street. I mean that literally and figuratively.

I thought Jon’s idea was brilliant from the start, but it really hit me when I saw a young artist posing with her piece as her parents took her picture. We often think about what we want to do on main street. Getting dinner, going shopping, etc., but we also have to remember that out downtown community is a place for children to find themselves somewhere to belong as well.

Kids from all across the county got to see their reflection in main street businesses, and buildings. Hopefully we as adults can create oppurtunities for these children to find a place inside these buildings as well.

We Are Collecting Toys for Toys for Tots!

William Paine, SWTs

Join us as we collect toys for Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots helps those children who are less fortunate, yet no less deserving of the joy of Christmas. We are working with Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce to bring the county together for the spirit of giving. Toys for Tots mission is to provide a “tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas” and your donation will do just that and more.

We the community have the opportunity to help our children this Christmas, and to reward that kindness The Chamber is offering a prize to a lucky donor! Your donation will be met with 5 entries into a drawing for a grand prize of $1000! So, bring a toy down to Pulaski on Main and help your community!

This year we are accepting gifts at our new office, located at 87 West Main, Pulaski VA, 24301 through to December 16th . Our regular hours are from noon to 5pm, Tuesday through Friday. If you would like to donate during our off hours, or just have any questions, feel free to reach out via email at
pulaskionmain@gmail.com! Drawing will be held on December 18th .

Patrick Ford
Program Director at Pulaski on Main
87 West Main St, Pulaski VA, 24301

Scholastic Arts Event held on February 23rd

The Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley is Southwest Virginia’s sponsor of the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a program of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.  The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are a powerful tool for building a sense of community, advocating for arts education, and fostering the creativity of emerging local talent. Through the regional program of the Awards, students are encouraged to express themselves through the arts and are rewarded for their creativity. A successful regional program is able to bring the high quality, creative works of secondary school students to a wide audience; to provide teachers and students with the opportunity to see the achievements of students from schools throughout the region; and to highlight the importance of arts education within the community.

As Southwest Virginia’s sponsor of the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the FAC NRV serves students from Pulaski, Bland, Botetourt, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Montgomery, Patrick, Smyth, Wythe, and Roanoke counties, and the cities of Roanoke, Salem, Radford, Martinsville, Bristol, and the Salem Art Center. Tazewell and Washington counties have recently asked to participate, and the FAC NRV hopes to be able to accommodate their needs.

Sometimes locality leaders overlook the importance of the arts to our economic success. Here are some numbers for you to consider. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 conducted in 2015. Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity during 2015—$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This activity supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments (a yield well beyond their collective $5 billion in arts allocations).

From that same study, we know that each ticket purchased to say a play, a show, or a special exhibit at a museum generates an additional $31.47 for the local economy. That figure consists of that lunch you might have with your family before a show. Or the gas purchased to drive to an event.

Pocket Park Naming Update

Pocket Park Naming Update!

All the entries are in and did we see a surge of interest within the past week. As of Jan. 27, Pulaski on Main had received 63 entries. But many were pondering up until the 11th hour because when the polls closed at midnight on Jan. 29, we had 136 entries.

Pulaski lovers near and far provided a broad range of ideas. Many are suggesting we use this opportunity to celebrate our revitalization with names like “Second Chance Park” and “Revivify Park.” There are others with a look back in history honoring many notable citizens like Dr. Mary Umberger or our town’s namesake, Casimir Pulaski, either by name or his title as in the “Count’s Court” and “Casimir Corner.”

Here’s what happens next. A group of citizens involved with the Downtown Revitalization project (especially those who have been regularly attending our monthly meetings) will convene with Town staff members to review names. We’ll develop a shortlist of options and a second committee will be responsible for managing the final selection. Once a name is selected production of the iron arch to the entry of the park will begin. We’ll plan a special celebration around the official park ribbon cutting. Watch this space and our Facebook page for updates.

And to all those who participated! Thanks for playing!

Flash Mob Covers Main Street

Hundreds of Pulaski Residents Participated in a Flash Mob

When the clock struck noon on January 25th, Main Street Pulaski broke into dance.

The festivities were led by a group wearing white “We Heart Pulaski” t-shirts all grooving to the tune of Our House by Madness. They slid and shimmied their way down the street, to be followed by hundreds of citizens, members of the Pulaski Fire and Police Departments, representatives of faith dressed in red robes, and assorted Pulaski County High School musicians.

This impromptu parade wasn’t just for fun. It has a deeper goal. HGTV will be hosting a show titled Home Town Takeover in which they’ll help a town of 40,000 inhabitants or less upgrade their look. The show hosts, Erin and Ben Napier, regularly make over homes. With this project, they’ll be expanding to restore an entire town. The town hopes to inspire Erin and Ben to select Pulaski with an application featuring video footage captured during the local-business-led event.

Erin and Ben will come away from the viewing knowing that, if selected, many enthusiastic citizens of Pulaski are behind them.

Planning for Innovation (and a Second Chance) in Pulaski

The Town of Pulaski in partnership with Pulaski on Main will host an Informational Open House for interested citizens to learn about Pulaski Works, a year-long planning project funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission, on Friday, Jan. 31 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Located at the Pulaski Train Depot, 20 S. Washington Street, the meeting will allow interested citizens to visit at their convenience and learn more about the initiative from project organizers. The Project Team includes representatives from Pulaski County, New River Community College, and the New River/Mt. Rogers Regional Workforce Board. Work on the project began in mid-October.

“The Pulaski Works project represents an opportunity for the Town to work with important partners to consider how we can enhance entrepreneurial and workforce opportunities,” said Nichole Hair, Deputy Town Manager for Pulaski. “The Open House will engage residents from Pulaski and across the New River Valley on ideas to consider as we study a proposed facility to be located in downtown Pulaski.”

“Pulaski Works: Community-Based Planning for a Training Center and Makerspace” will study the need for and viability of a training center and makerspace to be located in downtown Pulaski developed (a) to increase the number of workers trained in regionally-needed skills and (b) to provide a location for innovators and entrepreneurs, while also (c) designing programs to meet the needs of individuals traditionally unable or disinclined to seek training (e.g., second career-seekers or those who have recently struggled with addiction or incarceration.

“The concept of creating a center for innovation and entrepreneurial development aligns with the vision established for Pulaski during the Community U sessions held in 2016,” added Catherine Van Noy, Interim Director for Pulaski on Main. “The Open House will introduce interested parties to the project and gather their input on programming or areas of focus they would like to see in the space.”

The ARC-funded project runs through September 30, 2020

First Board of Directors Meeting Held

On January 11th, the first Board of Directors gathering was held at Pulaski On Main.

The directors discussed the logistics and rules of regular meetings. The Pulaski On Main strategies were discussed:

  • Welcome new and potential residents
  • Support emerging and existing businesses
  • Activate a downtown bike and pedestrian system
  • Improve community appearance

Catherine Van Noy, Interim Director, presented a brief history of work already done and underway.

The new at-large directors are:

  • Steve Critchfield
  • Chris Conner
  • Janet Hanks
  • Justin Kemp
  • Nancy Lawson
  • Tammy Parks
  • D. Jacob Prine
  • Cathy Stripling
  • Mary Terry
  • Sally Warburton
  • Walter White

The current standing directors are:

  • Mayor David Clark, Town of Pulaski
  • Elaine Holeton, Pulaski County
  • The Chamber and Redevelopment and Housing Authority representatives are pending.
  • Nichole Hair, Deputy Town Manager, serves as the Town’s appointment staff member.

In the coming month, the Board will be working on finalizing the organizational articles and bylaws as we advance toward full nonprofit status.

Get weekly updates on the Pulaski Main Street story by staying tuned to this blog.

Pulaski Residents Invited to Name Downtown Park

Progress on Main Street! Our future pocket park for Main Street looks like a construction zone today, but that won’t be the case this early spring as we begin our conversion to a gathering  spot for visitors and residents. And Pulaski on Main wants you to participate in naming the park.

Pulaski on Main, in partnership with the Town of Pulaski, has issued a call for entries to help name the proposed pocket park to be located directly across from the Pulaski County Courthouse on West Main Street. The park will be established during the upcoming Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project slated to begin construction this fall.

Entry forms can be requested by calling Pulaski on Main at 540-440-8773 or emailing pulaskionmain@gmail.com. Forms can also be picked up in person at the Pulaski on Main offices, 83 W. Main Street in downtown Pulaski between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Forms will also be available at the Pulaski Library. Participants can also vote at https://forms.gle/YCSBGvSyEMgGNeTC8

All entries are due no later than 11:59 p.m. on January 29, 2020.

Anyone living in Pulaski County can participate and multiple entries from individuals are welcome.

“We are excited to open up this competition to our residents and hope that people will take the opportunity to become involved,” said Nichole Hair, Deputy Town Manager for Pulaski. “The improvements on West Main Street are another example of Pulaski’s ongoing revitalization, which involves public and private partners collaborating on multiple initiatives. Sometimes progress takes a while, but we are delighted to know that renovations on various buildings along Main Street and in this new public space will be underway soon.”

The CDBG project along West Main Street will improve 15 facades, upgrade crosswalks, create a walkway along Peak Creek and the subject pocket park. The park will enhance greenspace areas in Pulaski’s downtown and function as a gathering area for the downtown. The $698,846 CDBG is being matched by private and public funds for total improvements of $1.3 million.

Next Level VR Showcases their Store Front

Next Level VR showcased their storefront to the public for the first time on January 4th. Next Level VR is a virtual reality experience center located at 94 West Main St, Pulaski, VA 24301.

At 10 am, the storefront opened and the headsets were immediately booked. Within one hour, the wait time for headsets was at 2 hours. This wait time remained throughout the day until 8 pm, when the storefront could no longer take reservations without staying open past 10. The gaming lobby remained filled and was used for a Super Smash Bros tournament at 4 pm. Super Smash Bros is a video game where players battle each other with characters from the Mario universe. The tournament, which was expected to have 16 participants, ended up having 22.

The event was an extreme success, despite the fact that local colleges were not in session, resulting in students heading out of the area for the holidays.

Next Level VR will have limited hours beginning on January 18th and the Saturdays that follow. In March, they will host a full opening and hours will expand to cover both weekdays and weekends.

You can stay up to date on Next Level through their Facebook and Website

First Pulaski Works Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting held

The first Pulaski Works Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting was held on December 18 at the Pulaski County IT training Room. The Pulaski Works PAC is an ad hoc group organized to advise the Project Team for a year-long Appalachian Regional Commission planning grant.

The Town of Pulaski in partnership with the County and the New River Community College and the New River/Mt. Rogers Regional Workforce Board began work on an Appalachian Regional Commission-funded project in mid-October. “Pulaski Works: Community-Based Planning for a Training Center and Makerspace” will study the need for and viability of a training center and makerspace to be located in downtown Pulaski developed (a) to increase the number of workers trained in regionally-needed skills and (b) to provide a location for innovators and entrepreneurs, while also (c) designing programs to meet the needs of individuals traditionally unable or disinclined to seek training (e.g., second career-seekers or those who have recently struggled with addiction or incarceration).

Representatives from a variety of organizations and sectors serve as a project brain trust of sorts to guide the work and offer insights into project activities.

The PAC will meet quarterly to review progress of the project and provide input relative to the members’ respective expertise.

Watch this site for upcoming information on Community Open Houses to share information about the ongoing project with the public.