Title photo by Paul Somers.
As is often true in many close-knit communities, the creative, professional, and social lives of Nicole, Jeff, and Mike have crossed often. Having all grown up in the area, the artists have a number of common memories. Nicole and Jeff went to school together from elementary through high school and did improv theater together on a competitive team in late high school. Mike and Nicole’s paths crossed even earlier when Mike’s dad built her family’s house when they moved to the area. The two later reconnected when Nicole worked on several creative projects with Mike’s wife Rachel and convinced the couple to star in a short film she created for the local Super Gr8 Film Festival. Until writing this page, Nicole forgot that Jeff and Mike didn’t know each other before LOVEworks Harrisonburg, as the two get along so well and seem to have known each other for years.
When the manager of Harrisonburg Tourism, Brenda Black, invited Nicole to a preliminary interest meeting about the LOVEworks initiative, Nicole eagerly volunteered to lead a project that would create a LOVEworks artwork for Harrisonburg. She knew exactly who to ask to be her fellow artists. For four months, Nicole, Jeff, and Mike planned, sketched, gathered, and constructed the materials that would become LOVEworks Harrisonburg. Along the way, they had a wealth of support from friends, family, and community partners. Before they knew it, LOVEworks Harrisonburg became a reality!
Nicole Martorana is an artist from Harrisonburg, Virginia and a graduate of James Madison University with a degree in Media Arts & Design and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. She specializes in travel and street photography, film, food styling, writing, and mixed media, and her work often focuses on cultural identity and community.
She also works as the Promotions Manager for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and enjoys collaborating with local businesses and community members to revitalize the historic downtown district. She hopes that LOVEworks Harrisonburg will be a place for community gathering and engagement and a valuable contribution to the growing arts scene in Harrisonburg.
Jeffrey (Jeff) Guinn is a native of Rockingham County and attended Spotswood High School and James Madison University. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Graphic Design and a minor in Art History.
Jeff is part owner of The Mark-It custom apparel shop in Harrisonburg, where he works as a designer, manager, and screen-printer. He and his wife Emily live on the west side of Harrisonburg and are expecting their first child in August 2013. It is Jeff’s hope that LOVEworks Harrisonburg will be a catalyst for more public art in the city.
Mike Herr was born in Elmira, New York and moved to Harrisonburg in 1985, with his father and two brothers. He grew up in Harrisonburg and moved to the outskirts of town after high school.
He started working with the family business, Herr & Co., in 2006. He enjoys fly-fishing, gardening, wood-working, and spending time with his family, friends, and 3-yr-old son, Cole.