The mission of The Arts Center In Orange is to increase the quality of life in our community by promoting an appreciation for fine contemporary arts in diverse styles and ideologies. This is done by providing: a forum to promote artistic excellence; scholarship and education; a venue for artists and artisans to work, teach, exhibit and sell work; and a place for the community to learn skills, and to participate in and enjoy the arts.
Established in 1997, The Arts Center began by offering classes and having small gallery shows in a series of buildings leased to us at reduced rates. In 2000 Bob Morin, a local businessman, donated a 10,000 sq-ft building on Main Street to The Arts Center. We renovated approximately 3500 sq-ft, and began operations here in February of 2001. Since that time we have seen our programs and community involvement expand dramatically.
The Arts Center now houses a large gallery and gift shop, classrooms, and The Orange Studio. The gallery provides exhibit space to display the work of emerging artists in eight shows annually. Virginia artists stock the gift shop with fine contemporary art, pottery, sculpture, fiber art, glassware, metalwork and jewelry. Classes offered for children and adults include drawing, painting, clay, stained glass, basketry and a variety of other arts and crafts. The Orange Studio is an Arts Center program for adult artists with mental illness and/or learning disabilities. The Arts Center provides these artists with studio space, art supplies and artistic support for the creation of their work. Artists participating in the program are gaining recognition, exhibiting nationally. When their work is sold, half of the proceeds go to the artist, and the other half helps to fund the program. The Arts Center also organizes public art projects (several of which can be viewed around town), free film fests and open studio tours, and offers community outreach to serve children, seniors and others (over 5,000 to date) who, due to age, income or handicap, would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in the arts.