VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Art has found a new home at the Oceanfront.
The newly-expanded Virginia Beach Art Center (VBAC) opened its doors on Friday, introducing itself at the new haven for The Artists Gallery, the City of Virginia Beach’s Parks and Recreation pottery program and more.
The center’s first exhibition is titled “Imagine,” featuring a collective of over 45 artists’ work that made the location a reality and be on display through March 31.
The Artists Gallery opened its first doors 30 years ago in a building on 24th Street at the Oceanfront. 17 years in, the building was sold without notice and they were left with nowhere to go, according to a press release from ViBe District Executive Director Kate Pittman.
Founder and director of The Artists Gallery, Constance Fahey, says they were welcomed by the The Shadowlawn Community Association in a building on Norfolk Avenue, but quickly outgrew the space.
Fahey teamed up with former Virginia Beach City Council Member John Uhrin and the City of Virginia Beach’s Office of Cultural Affairs to find a new home for The Artists Gallery in the ViBe District, according Pittman.
Around the same time, the City of Virginia Beach’s Parks and Recreation pottery program was searching for a new home due to issues with its facility. The two groups starting talking about finding a space that could house them both.
The Artists Gallery created the VBAC as a sister organization to get nonprofit status and add an educational component. According to the press release, having the nonprofit allowed them to raise funds to get a space large enough to house The Artists Gallery and the City’s pottery program.
Years later, Brian Jones decided to put his family-owned property on 17th Street in the ViBe District towards the good cause. The site became the official home for the VBAC.
“My family has owned property on 17th Street for decades—I grew up here and hope to pass this property on to my son one day,” said Jones in the press release. “We are supporting The Artists Gallery and the ViBe District because we know it’s a good thing for our community.”
What was once an old office warehouse building, is now a place where art and community meet. The center was under construction for four months before it officially opened on March 15.
It features 3,647 square feet for The Artists Gallery, 1,948-square-foot pottery studio and 843 square feet for The Brock Gallery. There’s also a multi-purpose classroom.
You can check out the VBAC at 532 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.