This art center is not only a gallery — it’s also a community space

The Virginia Beach Art Center is open to the public for viewing as well as giving classes. (Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)
The Virginia Beach Art Center is open to the public for viewing as well as giving classes. (Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The Virginia Beach Art Center recently opened to the public, offering a space for the community to take classes, check out the art and interact with local artists.

The space has been open since early May and already the foot traffic shows it to be a space for not only locals but tourists to come and experience the art, said Jean Rawls, chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Virginia Beach Art Center.

“Our calling is to provide a space for the artist gallery and to promote the arts,” she said.

The Artist Gallery takes up residence inside the newly opened Virginia Beach Art Center, she added.

The road here

The road to get to where the center is now has had it’s twists and turns.

The art center was looking for a way to become a nonprofit space for local artists to interact with the community and after working with both the city and the ViBE District, the art center was able to open, Rawls, said.

A big portion of that journey started when the city’s Parks and Recreation Department decided to close down its pottery classes.

The city had been holding pottery classes for nearly 30 years, it left people without a space to go to when it closed down, she said.

So, through a grant and pottery equipment donated by the city, the Virginia Beach Art Center was able to give the pottery classes that the public wanted to take, Rawls said.

The Virginia Beach Art Center is open to the public for viewing as well as giving classes. (Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)
The back portion of the center hosts the pottery studio with equipment donated by the city. (Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)

The art center doesn’t just give pottery classes, though.

Residents can sign up for adult and youth classes on topics such as water color painting, drawing, oil painting, mixed media and so on.

To view a full calendar of classes and pricing, click here.

Another way the center is seeking to promote the arts in the city is through its exhibitions.

While there are paintings for sale within the artist gallery portion of the center, it is free to come in and check out the art and even chat with the artists who are working in their studios that day, Rawls said.

Each artist rents out a portion of the space to exhibit their work. The pieces are for sale but it's free just to walk around. (Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)
Each artist rents out a portion of the space to exhibit their work. The pieces are for sale but it’s free just to walk around. (Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)

“We’re here to be a community space to teach about art, to celebrate creativity,” she said.

The future of the art center is all focused on serving the community and local artists, she added.

To come view the many different types of art on display or take a class, stop by the art center in the ViBE District on 532 Virginia Beach Blvd.

The art center is currently looking for volunteers as well and Rawls encourages those interested to either call 757-425-6671 or email create@artcentervb.org

Always be informed. Get the latest news and information delivered to your inbox

Print Friendly, PDF & Email