Art galleries are abundant across the Commonwealth, featuring a range of works that will satisfy just about any art connoisseur. The artistic spirit of Virginia flourishes in its many spaces to observe both local and renowned art. Many Virginia artists even open up their very own galleries, or join a co-op, to showcase their works. Here are our 10 favorites.
The Artists Gallery in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads Award Winner. The space operates like a cooperative, with its artists managing the space. Artists from all over the region can apply for a spot in the gallery to show and sell their prints, paintings, photographs, sculptures, pottery, and handcrafted jewelry. Volunteers are always welcome to apply. In addition, traveling artists and regular workshops make The Artists Gallery a worthwhile stop.
Since 1975, McGuffey Art Center has provided a home to the artistic denizens of the greater Charlottesville area. The cooperative association “supports the artistic growth of emerging and professional visual and performance artists” by providing space for artists to showcase and sell, as well as lessons for emerging and amateur artists. Private lessons for disciplines as wide-ranging as glassblowing and modern dance are available. McGuffey goes out of its way to invite the community to participate in the art with programs such as the twice-weekly Open Figure Sessions, in which the community is invited to come paint or draw volunteers and share their work.
The Warehouse Art Gallery is appropriately located inside an historic warehouse building with over 10,000 square feet in Luray, Virginia. Over 1,000 works are on display from almost 100 artists, including sculptures, paintings, stain glass, bone signs, turned bowls, painted children’s furniture, and more. Events are scheduled regularly, including live music and pop-up restaurants, so make sure to check back often.
The CoArt Gallery in Staunton, Virginia, is the “largest cooperative gallery with more than 40 member artists” in the Shenandoah Valley. Month-long events showcase new member artists and visiting artists’ work. Many of the artists on display are award-winners, and each brings something different to the gallery.
The Torpedo Factory is a brilliant example of repurposed historic space. In many ways, the irony of using a factory designed to build weapons for creating new works of art is an incredible art piece in and of itself. I’ve found walking around the gallery to be endlessly inspiring, with over 80 artists’ studios crammed into every corner of the building. In addition to the working artists, the Torpedo Factory hosts seven galleries, two workshops, and a school.
When visiting Tidewater, you may find yourself in the mood to take a bit of the ocean home with you. A quick stop by Skipjack’s Nautical Wares and Marine Art Gallery in Olde Town, Portsmouth will scratch that itch better than anywhere else. Skipjack specializes in marine-inspired art, which ranges from handcrafted porcelain octopus lamps to steel link anchor chains. You never know quite what you’ll reel in at Skipjack’s, but you know it’ll be fun to go fishing.
Art Works in Richmond, Virginia, is a 25,000-square foot studio, event, and gallery space available to artists for rent. Many of the artists use the space as a workshop to create, while others display their work for sale. The floor is open to the public most days of the week, with art shows every fourth Friday. Besides providing space for artists, the gallery is used for weddings, kid’s classes, and parties.
The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton isn’t just an art gallery, It’s a full-on center for all kinds of expression with classes for traditional artistic mediums like painting, ceramics, and photography, but also theatre, culinary arts, and dance for all ages. Special events, such as the collector’s showcase in March and Workhouse Carnival and Art Party in June keep things fresh. Eight full galleries showcase resident and visiting artists, and the recently opened Prison Museum offers a special experience.
Telegraph Art and Comics in Charlottesville, Virginia, is unique among this list because it is not only an art gallery featuring high quality screen prints created by comic book artists, but also it is a retail comic book shop. Many of the prints are limited edition and numbered. This isn’t a traditional gallery by any means, but if you’re looking for a different kind of experience and are a fan of comic books, then this is definitely worth stopping by.
Twenty permanent artists call The Loft Gallery in Occoquan, Virginia, home. This co-op has showcased watercolors, oils, pastels, acrylics, original prints, collagraphs, lithographs, stained glass, and more for over thirty years. Each of the artists brings with them a unique style. The Loft hasn’t gone unnoticed: It has been featured in several news articles, including The Alexandrian Magazine, Mount Vernon Gazette, and Gallery magazine. Art classes and workshops are offered.