Downtown’s ‘HeART and Soul’

Published 7:32 pm Saturday, June 27, 2015

Artsy folks in the downtown area are trying to rejuvenate an effort several years in the making to form themselves into a more cohesive bunch and let others know about what’s available downtown.

The group, which consists of government, nonprofit and for-profit entities, applied for and received a grant in 2011 for the effort, dubbed HeART and Soul of Suffolk.

“The idea is to promote the arts in downtown Suffolk as a walkable arts destination,” Suffolk Art League Executive Director Linda Bunch said. “We want to promote anything happening with the arts in downtown Suffolk.”

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The biggest chunk of the grant was used to create a website, Bunch said, but the group wasn’t happy with the result.

So the website sat quietly until this year, when a new assistant with the Suffolk Art Gallery was able to revamp it.

“We’re much happier with it and ready to advertise that it is available,” Bunch said.

The website features a calendar of special events, a list of arts destinations in downtown and photos from past events.

“We’re trying to recognize ourselves as a walking art destination, so you can walk from attraction to attraction,” said Theresa Earles, Tourism Development Manager. “It’s kind of a grassroots effort, so to speak, of the different arts locations working together to promote pedestrian traffic from venue to venue.”

The arts venues already do that, Earles noted, but the redesigned website “put a little more wind in our sails, so to speak.

“We want to bring in people from the outside,” she said. “We also want our citizens to be aware of some of the wonderful things we offer.”

The website is, and there is also a Facebook page. Bunch said the group looks forward to ideas and suggestions.

The partners in the effort are Jester’s Gallery Gifts, The Plaid Turnip, Shooting Star Gallery, Suffolk Art League, Suffolk Art Gallery, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Suffolk Visitor Center and Great Dismal Swamp Gallery.