It’s hard to believe that snow sprinkled campus last week, leaving JMU students miffed that spring is scheduled to arrive. While it seems Harrisonburg has yet to adhere to the season, locals can take matters into their own hands and create colorful, spring-themed paintings at Restless Moons Brewing.
Restless Moons Brewing is hosting its first Crafts with Craft Beer event this Sunday in collaboration with the Village Arts Center. Jeffrey Moon, the owner of the brewery, opened his business in November 2017 and renamed it in February — changing it from Wolfe Street Brewing to Restless Moons Brewing — and has taken advantage of the vibrant art scene in Harrisonburg.
“I definitely like working with the artist community,” Moon said. “We get [musicians] in here every month and we got a local artist to do our mural ... It all comes back to us liking the people we work with.”
Moon, though not an artist himself, was inspired to hold an art class at the brewery after meeting with Dawn Murray, a member of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, as well as the owner of The Village Arts Center in Broadway, Virginia. Murray introduced herself to Moon while visiting his business and gave him information about her art center. Once Moon realized he wanted to have more artistic events in his brewery, he knew just who to call.
After becoming a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Murray has been active in the local business community. She spent the majority of her years being employed by someone else so opening her own business was a tough transition. However, with the support she’s received from other local businesses, she knew that she made the right decision.
“I’m really passionate about a different type of networking,” Murray said. “Not where you just get together and talk for a few minutes about your business, but where you really support one another.”
Murray has been supporting Harrisonburg companies, as well as a plethora of others in the surrounding areas. She opened her art business two years ago, motivated by the idea of reinventing her life’s purpose. After realizing that she “was supposed to bring joy to people through art,” opening The Village Arts Center made perfect sense.
Murray’s destiny became a reality as people have flocked to her business, where she employs numerous artists to teach and showcase all kinds of art mediums. Murray will teach watercolor painting for all ages at the brewery, but is encouraging people to embrace their own definition of art and focus on what’s enjoyable for them.
“I’ve always loved art … but it seemed like nobody has the time to set their stuff out and play,” Murray said. “It’s really fun and it’s not stressful; it’s a way to relax.”
Melanie Payne, a regular participant in the art center’s classes, found out about the business through Facebook. After attending her first class, she knew she wanted to learn more.
“There are so many different kinds of classes and it’s something new every time,” Payne said. “It’s absolutely relaxing and it’s fun for everyone.”
Payne is a resident of Mount Jackson, Virginia which is approximately a twenty-minute drive to Broadway where The Village Arts Center is located. However, she doesn’t mind the trip because she always looks forward to alleviating stress and visiting Murray.
“Dawn is wonderful,” Payne said. “I bring the kids I babysit to the center and they get super excited every time I say we’re going … it’s fun for everyone.”
Payne admits that she’s “not an artist per se” and luckily the event Murray will be teaching at the brewery is a beginner session that allows for one’s individuality to seep through the canvas. Along with Murray, Moon also wants to encourage the community to attend different events, even if they aren’t accustomed to the activity. Moon’s “try-anything” philosophy is translated through his frequent booking of artistic events that draw people out of their comfort zones. By doing so, Moon hopes that locals treat his space as “a place to make new friends.”
Seeing friendships develop in his brewery and watching the community come together to enjoy an event is significant to Moon. Murray also shares this joy and cherishes amicable business relationships that brings businesses and people together.
“There’s a real beauty in collaborating with other businesses and sharing your talents to make a really great event,” Murray said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to see both businesses supporting each other.”
Tickets for the event are $10 for children or designated drivers, and $15 for others who want to try some of Restless Moons Brewing craft beers. Murray and Moon want to emphasize how this event is appropriate for all ages and doesn’t discriminate against people who don't consider themselves Picassos.
“I’m hoping that people will realize that you don’t have to be an artist to participate in an art event,” Murray said. “You’ll have fun making memories as much as you’re making art.”
Contact Brooke Imperial at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.