Top 13 Places to Experience the Arts in Richmond, VA

The city of Richmond has a rich history that reaches back to the 1700s. In modern times, Richmond has grown to become the fourth-most populous city in Virginia and, in addition to holding the title of the state capital, it is also known for being home to a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies and a vibrant arts community. For residents and visitors to the Richmond metro area, there are many different arts and cultural activities to enjoy year-round. At Aspire, we urge residents to get out and enjoy the different arts events around the city with family and friends as often as possible. Whether you’re new to the area or simply looking for great places to go and things to see in Richmond, VA, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. Keep reading to check out a few of our favorite Richmond art scenes below.

Top 13 Places to Experience the Arts in Richmond, VA

1. 1708 Gallery

Founded in 1978, this hip gallery has showcased work by artists like Richmond-based sculptural artist Tom Chenoweth, the late painter Gerald Donato and more. Since 2008, 1708 Gallery has also acted as host to InLight Richmond, a popular public exhibition of light-based art pieces and performances. Whether you’re interested in their current exhibitions or one of their many monthly events, 1708 Gallery won’t disappoint.

2. Art Works

Looking for a great excuse to get out and enjoy local and international works? Then you should grab a few friends and take a tour of Art Works. Located in the Old Manchester neighborhood, and just minutes from downtown Richmond, there are more than 75 different artists’ studios to explore here. You can browse paintings and sculptures, buy jewelry, photography prints and more.

3. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

A visit to Richmond wouldn’t be complete without checking out the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Featuring a collection of over 35,000 pieces that span 5,000 years of world history — this is one experience that you won’t want to miss. Spend the day examining art from the Art Deco period, South Asia, Fabergé and much more.

4. Visual Arts Centre of Richmond

Home to the largest non-university community arts program in the state, the Visual Arts Centre of Richmond is an eclectic and welcoming space that features work from a revolving door of artists. Recently relocated to the 30,000-square-foot, newly renovated Virginia Dairy Building, you’ll find at least 6 different exhibitions to enjoy annually here.

5. ADA Gallery

The ADA Gallery is located in the heart of Richmond’s downtown art scene. Since 2003, this beautiful gallery has been dedicated to showcasing the very best work from emerging artists in the contemporary art field. However, much of their gallery space is dedicated to artists based in the MidAtlantic states. Some recent exhibitions worth noting include XOXO, a series of acrylic paintings by Kottie Paloma and Geometron, a series of geometric sculptures created by Virginia Commonwealth University artist Sarah Bednarak.

6. Richmond Symphony

Interested in an afternoon or evening spent enjoying the classics played live? The Richmond Symphony features a variety of great orchestral, contemporary and chamber concerts all year long. The symphony also plays host to a number of community-based performances and music education opportunities for people of all ages. Whether you have always wanted to perform on stage yourself, or you have a grandchild who would love to break into the world of performing arts — the perfect opportunity may be waiting at the Richmond Symphony.

7. First Fridays Art Walk

If you really want to immerse yourself in Richmond’s current art scene, you need to check out one of the downtown neighborhood’s First Friday Art Walk events. This long-standing art show takes place all year long on the very first Friday of each month and features not only great pieces of artwork but access to galleries, shops, restaurants and more! This is the perfect event to attend with visiting friends and family members.

8. Anderson Gallery

The Anderson Gallery is located at the VCU School of Arts and works as a non-profit art space. Originally founded in 1931, the gallery has been steadily evolving in the last 35 years to offer a wide variety of exhibits put on by VCU students. Many of the exhibitions also feature work by established American and international artists, helping Anderson Gallery to stand at the forefront of Richmond’s rich art scene.

9. Richmond Ballet

The Richmond Ballet was founded in 1957 and existed for nearly 20 years as a small, civic company. Later, when the School of Richmond Ballet was created in 1975, the Richmond Ballet grew into a new space on Lombardy Street. The Richmond Ballet went on to become the first professional ballet company in Virginia and has since moved to a newly renovated space in the heart of downtown Richmond. Visitors can catch a number of different performances throughout the year and support the ballet at other fundraising events throughout the city as well.

10. Artspace Gallery

Artspace Gallery is another great non-profit gallery that has been operating in Richmond since the 1980s. Originally founded as an artist-run collective, the gallery has gone on to showcase many innovative and cutting-edge visual contemporary art, as well as performance art, exhibits, poetry readings, musical performances and much more. Some notable recent artists exhibited at Artspace Gallery include North Carolina-based printmaker Scott Ludwig, ceramic artist Sukjin Choi and local painters, Dada Frostick and Kathleen Westkaemper.

11. Virginia Opera

If performance art is more your style, you have to attend one of the many annual shows put on by the Virginia Opera at the Dominion Energy Center. For the 2019-2020 season, the opera house will have tickets available for Tosca, Il Postino, Cinderella and Aida. Fully renovated and restored, the Carpenter Theater at Dominion Energy Center features world-class performances, concerts, plays and Broadway shows year-round. So, if you think you’ve missed your favorite show, chances are another event will be coming up right around the corner!

12. Reynolds Gallery

Named after owner, director and patron of the arts, Beverly Reynolds, the Reynolds Gallery has been a fixture in the Richmond contemporary art scene for over 30 years. Here, you will find everything from creative new local work, exhibits from nationally beloved artists and international favorites as well. The gallery typically runs around 15 different exhibitions each year, and with more than 4,400 square feet of space to fill up, there really is never a dull moment here. Some of the most recent acquisitions at Reynolds Gallery include works by American painter Donald Baechler, Norwegian artist Anne-Karin Furunes and contemporary greats like Jasper Johns.

13. Gallery 5

Located in the Jackson Ward district, Gallery 5 has been welcoming artists and visitors alike since 2005. The gallery opened its doors with a two-fold mission in mind: to establish a space where cutting-edge performance artists could showcase their latest work and to save the life of one of Richmond’s most beloved historical buildings — Steamer company No.5. Named the ‘Best Independent Art gallery’ by several local publications, Gallery 5 is known for exhibiting a number of popular art shows including recent works by realist figurative painter Sean Maha, paper sculptor Matthew Shlian and more.

Check Out More Great Community Events in Richmond with Aspire at Carriage Hill

There really is so much to see and do in the greater Richmond area all year long. Whether you are considering Richmond as your ultimate retirement destination or you are new to the area, checking out the local arts scene is a great way to familiarize yourself with the community and make new friends. In fact, you don’t even have to know much about art to enjoy milling around some of our great local studios and events. Touring the many different art galleries and event spaces in the area is also an ideal way to introduce family and friends to our fair city. You can browse art to add to your personal collection, take painting or sculpture classes, catch a Broadway-style performance and even go to a chamber concert all within the Richmond city limits. When it comes to expanding your mind and finding new ways to express your artistic tastes, the city of Richmond does not disappoint.

At Aspire, we know just how wonderful it can be to live in a city like Richmond. With a thriving art and cultural scene, access to many beautiful outdoor spaces, shopping, restaurants and more — we are happy to call the city of Richmond our home. Want more information on the latest arts and culture events here in Richmond, VA? If you are recently retired and have been considering making the move to a luxury independent living community in Virginia, Aspire at Carriage Hill may just be the perfect fit! Visit Aspire online today to learn more about our vibrant arts and culture scene or contact our team to get information about the admissions process for our distinguished independent living community.

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