Beauty in the heart of Steubenville

Via Facebook.

Via Facebook.

A city that’s lost its luster is receiving some TLC from it’s local university students.

A group of students from Franciscan University of Steubenville have set out to revitalize their downtown by turning a vacant music hall into a concert venue. The idea is to draw people to the ailing downtown by hosting concerts and free music lessons for kids who would otherwise be unable to afford them.

Steubenville, Ohio is rich in history and culture, but has suffered over the past few decades since the steel industry slowed in the 1980s. Many beautiful, historic buildings have been left to gather dust – or worse – to crumble due to lack of upkeep.

This group of students have dubbed their plan “The Harmonium Project.” For months they’ve been working to renovate the ballroom of the historic Oddfellows building right in the heart of downtown.

Their hope according to one of the founders, Marc Barnes of the Patheos blog, Bad Catholic, is that by “plant(ing) something beautiful” they’ll encourage students from all over the Tri-State area to “enter into communion with their city, to be united with their neighbor in the mutual enjoyment, the mutual contemplation, even, of something good.”

To be sure, Steubenville is a beautiful city, but it has fallen on tough times. These students are working to change their city (and they do claim it as their city now) into a place where people will want to gather and where businesses will, once again, want to open shop.

Already, the group has hosted musicians such as Audrey Assad and Sam Rocha at local bars around the city to raise money for the project and allow people to enjoy good music.

To reach this goal, the students are asking for $250,000 to renovate and operate the music venue in the heart of downtown.

At the time of writing this, the students only have 13 hours left in their fundraising campaign and have raised just over $13,5oo. Although it’s an impressive sum, they still need more to make this place operational.

To donate and to learn more, visit: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-harmonium-project.