A Fresh stART
Waynesboro and the surrounding area boast a vibrant artistic and cultural scene, with everything from live theater performances, to galleries filled with beautiful works, to street art, and more. The Wayne Theatre has launched a new program to highlight and promote some of the amazing art venues in the central Shenandoah Valley, called Reimagining Excitement for Arts, Culture, and History (REACH). Read on to plan your next adventure through the arts today!
The Wayne Theatre has a long, rich history of drawing the arts to the Valley since opening in 1926 as a vaudeville house. In recent years, the Wayne has brought more than 300 high-quality performances and events to the community annually. Known best, perhaps, for its musical theatre productions, the Wayne also hosts other forms of performing art, a classic cinema series, science and history lectures, and curated art shows in its exhibit hall. The Wayne provides both a venue and a community for the arts. When so much was shuttered during Covid, the Wayne shifted focus and continued its mission of educating and enriching the community by designing a wealth of at-home experiences for all ages. The online “At Home with the Wayne” program has consisted of classic film screenings and discussion, pop-up performances, virtual art exhibits, workshops and lectures, and more. Now that we better understand how to stay safe from Covid and more people have the vaccine, the Wayne’s events calendar is filling up with more live options like concerts and movies on the big screen. Check the schedule for current offerings and make sure to get your tickets early, since seating will be limited in order to ensure social distancing. Virtual programming will continue as well, and many live events will also be available for streaming at home.
Shenandoah Valley Art Center
Since 1986, the Shenandoah Valley Art Center has been providing exhibit and studio space to local artists. Each year, the SVAC hosts four to six community exhibits, nine members’ exhibits, and ten main exhibits, including the recent Breathe: Protections, Paradigms, Pandemic, in which artists expressed themself about life in our current times. The SVAC also plans and presents the annual Virginia Fall Foliage Art Show, which brings 150 fine artists and their work to the Valley and provides a festive atmosphere in which to appreciate the arts. The SVAC has also brought art education to the community with summer studio camps and weekend classes for children as well as classes and workshops for adults. Painting enthusiasts can join a casual and free weekly painting group. Classes for adults are being run with safety measures in place, including small class size for social distancing, mask wearing, and sanitizer stations. Visit the SVAC gallery and gift shop Tuesday – Saturday, or shop for art online.
P. Buckley Moss Gallery
The P. Buckley Moss Gallery celebrates the work of Waynesboro artist P. Buckley Moss, known for her “Valley style” watercolors. Moss’s work is largely inspired by the Shenandoah Valley’s people and scenery, especially the traditions of the Amish and Mennonites. In addition to providing a vivid visual representation of Valley history and culture, Moss has given back to the community in many ways, including through the Moss Foundation for Children’s Education, which seeks to integrate the arts and art education into school curriculums. Visitors to the downtown gallery will find a large collection of artwork to view and purchase. The gallery is open from Tuesday - Sunday. Check the calendar for dates Moss will be in town to talk to collectors and sign copies of her work.
More to Explore in Town
Waynesboro’s Street Arts Trail embraces and explores art both in and out of the gallery. Download the Traipse app and explore the street art that’s been appearing in Waynesboro’s public spaces in recent years thanks to the annual Street Arts Festival. The interesting, and sometimes surprising art draws attention to the contrasts between downtown Waynesboro’s industrial architecture and mountainous backdrop.
Another interesting place to find art is the Russell Museum, which features artwork created by Walter Russell and displayed at the beautiful, marble Swannanoa Palace when Walter and Lao Russell used it to house the University of Science and Philosophy. Visitors can enjoy more than 40 tons of Russell’s paintings and sculptures, as well as occasional exhibits showcasing the work of other local artists.
If you want to drink coffee while contemplating your next favorite work of art, visit Farmhaus Coffee Co., where they display (and sell) the work of local artists on their walls. Pyramid is another good stop for products created by local artisans. You can find jewelry, pottery, wooden cheese and cutting boards, incense burners, and more.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile mobile museum and studio travels around the Commonwealth connecting communities with artwork from the VMFA collection. Visitors will be able to see the artwork in person and connect with educators via Wi-Fi. The Artmobile is coming to the Sunspots Pavilion in Staunton on May 29 and 30. It will be at Waynesboro’s Fall Foliage Art Show on October 9-10.
American Shakespeare Center
Staunton’s American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse is a recreation of Shakespeare’s theater, which performs Shakespeare plays (and more) year-round and offers behind-the-scenes tours, scholarly talks, and educational experiences for children. The playhouse is currently broadcasting performances digitally via BLKFRSTV. Tickets will soon be on sale for the upcoming Actors’ Renaissance Summer Season, and performances will be conducted with Covid safety in mind.
Staunton Augusta Art Center
The Staunton Augusta Art Center regularly rotates high quality exhibits by regional artists through its gallery space in downtown Staunton. At various times each year, the center runs workshops and camps for kids. It also hosts the annual Art in the Park Festival, where visitors can view and purchase juried artwork, listen to live music, and enjoy watching their children take part in art experiences. Check the webpage for upcoming classes as well as a community arts calendar, which pulls together all the arts exhibits, festivals, workshops, and other experiences in the Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County area.
CoArt Gallery & Beverley Street Studio School
Downtown Staunton’s CoArt Gallery displays the work of over 40 local artists working in a variety of media. The space features different artists monthly, and work in watercolor, printmaking, oil, photography and more is available for purchase. The CoArt Gallery shares a space with the Beverley Street Studio School Gallery. Inspired by what you see on display? Sign up for a class or a lecture. Classes are held in a variety of forms including in-person, Zoom, and outdoors.
Sunspots Studio & Glassblowing
You’ll love wandering the gallery at Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing, browsing unique and beautiful art glass. Select from vases, blown-glass ornaments, jewelry, glassware, and more. The best part is that visitors can visit the onsite studio and watch artists actually blow and shape the molten glass into the pieces displayed in the gallery during live demonstrations.