When I first moved to this area, one of the major draws was the availability of the arts. The 757 has many wonderful opportunities to wet your artistic whistle, and we are not shy of wonderful art museums as well as a plethora of galleries. Take some time to visit some of these when you can. If we’ve missed one that you are fond of, please leave it in the comments.
Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries
Just situated near the Old Dominion University campus, the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries offer rotating exhibitions, artist receptions, and discussions.
Blue Skies Gallery
Stop by Blue Skies Gallery in Hampton where you may run into any of the various local artists. Check out their changing exhibits, events, artists who teach classes, or even display your own work.
Christopher Newport University Art Galleries
Attend an exhibition or an opening reception for any of the wonderful art exhibits at the Christopher Newport University Art Galleries located in Newport News.
Chrysler Museum of Art
Probably my favorite place to visit on a whim, the Chrysler Museum of Art is located in Norfolk, and is a gem within the city. While funding allows, entrance is free, and there are multiple floors of different types of art, as well as visiting exhibitions that change through the year.
The museum hosts events (with special evenings for members only), is family-friendly, and well worth the visit. Across the street, they also have the Perry Glass Studio where you can see live demos, create your own masterpiece, or periodically shop creations from the staff. In addition, you can visit some of the Historic Houses to get a glimpse of Norfolk in the past.
Gallery 21 tries to create a space for the residents of Hampton Roads to connect with local artists. It offers various exhibitions as well as events and space rental in Norfolk.
Hampton History Museum
While at first you may think that the Hampton History Museum is only focused on historical information, within the history museum you can find various art collections. The photographic art and artifacts feature scenes and relics from Hampton’s history.
Hampton University Museum
It would be a disservice to leave out the university museums that are in our area, and that are open to the public. The Hampton University Museum features over 9,000 objects, and according to its website, it is the oldest African American museum in the United States.
Enjoy your visit to Harbor Gallery in Norfolk. Located in historic Ghent, this store offers works of art from sought-after artists in Hampton Roads. As a plus, when you visit, you get to be greeted by a sweet cat or adorable dog as you enter.
Hermitage Museum & Gardens
A quiet place to visit right on the water, the Hermitage Museum & Gardens is a lovely place to visit. With its own art collection, exhibitions, and beautiful gardens, it is a nicely hidden treasure in Norfolk. The museum has special events (regular summer evenings as well), offers a camp for kids, and is not to be missed.
Jones Art Gallery
With many pieces that have graced the covers of New York Times bestselling novels, the Jones Art Gallery began in the 1950s as a family gallery. You can see pieces of art on their website and even shop from your computer. But I would recommend stopping by for a spell.
Old Dominion University’s Barry Art Museum
Just recently opened, the new building for the Barry Art Museum is just off of Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk. The museum features collections of paintings, glass art, dolls and automata, as well as drawings and prints. It also showcases the private art collection gifted by founders Richard and Carolyn Barry.
One 11 Art & Foundation
Located in the Riverview neighborhood of Norfolk, the One 11 Art & Foundation includes works in the Kennedy Gallery, honoring long time Riverview residents Jack and Betsy Kennedy, as well as the studio with local gallery artists.
Peninsula Fine Arts Center
The Peninsula Fine Arts Center (PFAC) offers many different things, but one of the draws is the art exhibits that change throughout the year. PFAC strives to create a stronger community through art.
Suffolk Art Gallery
Check out the Suffolk Art Gallery that, according to its website, is home to the oldest and largest juried photography exhibition in Hampton Roads. It showcases art from local and regional artists.
The Gallery at East Beach
Visit the paintings at The Gallery at East Beach. This small gallery showcases local artists and offers framing for your own masterpiece.
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (or MOCA) is situated in Virginia Beach, not far from the Oceanfront. The museum focuses mostly on artwork made by living artists and those who were radical in their time or who found new approaches to art.
The MOCA offers educational programs, student studios, special events, and free family days periodically.