CultureWorks’ artoberVA Returns to Celebrate Local Arts & Culture Scene

by | Oct 11, 2017 | ART

For the second year in a row, CultureWorks Richmond is hosting artoberVA, a month-long celebration of arts and culture in Richmond and the Tri-Cities area every October. In an effort to embody its mission of inspiring and cultivating world-class arts and culture, CultureWorks established artoberVA to promote events, pop-ups, science, collaborations, exhibits, history, and any arts and cultural event happening in the metro region. The 2017 artoberVA celebration features over 200 local arts organizations and businesses and countless individual artists.

“Last year, artoberVA featured 1,400 arts and cultural events happening in and around Richmond,” CultureWorks Richmond’s Program Associate, Terry Gau, said. “Though that showed that they were people going out and attending these events, we would still get asked, ‘Well, what exactly is artober?’ So, this year, we dug deeper.”

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This year’s theme for artoberVA is “Dig In,” and it arose after the increased support of the Richmond community from last year’s event. “It’s been a good year for collaboration,” Gau said. “Businesses that have never done anything with art are expressing interest in collaborating for artober, which is really cool.”

“With the implementation of our new artober calendar, it really offers Richmond citizens access to these events. We want to dig deep locally and get the locals engaged in art. Richmond is known nationally for its arts and culture, bringing tourists, but if Richmond wants art to be celebrated year round, then local has got to support local,” Gau said.

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There are four key areas in which CultureWorks Richmond likes to highlight for all artoberVA events: family-friendly; collaboration; pop-up; and new places. If art and cultural event especially highlights one or more of these areas, CultureWorks will provide extra promotion and outreach for the program. And in the spirit of ArtoberVA, collaboration is one of the main driving points here in the city.

“One of our biggest collaborators would be the Byrd Theatre in Carytown,” Gau said. “The Byrd will be teaming up with Bygones right next door and Carrera’s Jewelers for a free night of jewelry-themed events. Carrera’s has a jewel historian that will host a talk at the Byrd about the history of jewelry and jewelry as art, followed by a showing of ‘To Catch a Thief.’ All free and open to the public.”

Photo by Sin Phrakhansa

Gau said the month-long they are putting a huge emphasis on art in new places. Last year, they had a muralist who traveled to Carter Woods, a retirement and assisted living home in the area, to paint a mural for the residents and this year, she will be adding more to the mural.

“She’ll be adding extinct birds to the mural, and she’ll create a blank bird in the form of a paint-by-numbers so the residents can all attribute to the community mural,” Gau said.

Every Thursday, artoberVA will host events in Carytown.

“To coincide with First Fridays, Manchester Manifest, and other such events, these nights will feature live music and performers, and will also feature several collaborators from Crossroads Arts Center, Carytown Merchants Association, Richmond Urban Dance, and the Kings Dominion’s Gravewalkers band.”

Here are some noteworthy events happening throughout artoberVA:

The National Arts Program Group Exhibition

NOW – October 13

This exhibition currently on display at Pine Camp Arts & Community Center features artwork made solely by employees of the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools and their immediate families. It will feature over 200 works from some 170 artists. The National Arts Program Group Exhibition is made by possible by the National Arts Program Foundation, the City of Richmond Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities, and local Richmond National Arts Program coordinators.

5th Annual “Ladies First” Show & Raffle

October 14 – November 18

This exhibition of all female artists is a benefit for Domestic Violence month. The opening reception will be Saturday, October 14, from 5 to 8pm, and there will be raffles for jewelry homemade by “Sibyil Collections” with all the proceeds going to Yeshua’s House. “Ladies First” will be on display at the Walton Gallery until November 18.

ThinkSmall 9!

October 27 – December 17

With this opening, ThinkSmall! celebrates its ninth installment of the fundraising event at Artspace. The exhibition will feature hundreds of artists from Richmond and farther away that have created miniature masterpieces. Some of the participating artists include: Gwen Parker, Alan D Entin, and Mary Anne Hensley. Everything on display will be for sale, ranging from $50-$400.

Art for the Journey Gala Art Exhibit – “The ART of Wellbeing”

Thursday, October 26 from 5:30 to 8:30

Local nonprofit Art for the Journey will be holding gallery event at the Independence Golf Club to benefit underrepresented communities like youth at risk, elders with dementia, and women in prison. The Virginia Commonwealth University Jazz Department and the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra will be providing live music and refreshments will be provided with the ticket. A silent auction will also take place for the featured works from Bon Air Artists Association, James River Art League, and some artists from Art for the Journey. Admission is $50.

VIRGINIA JAZZ: The Early Years

NOW – April 30, 2018

Richmond Jazz Society presents an in-depth look at 30 jazz artists from Richmond who made strides for classifying jazz as an American artform. This exhibition’s timeline follows the artists from the early 1900s to the mid-1960s. The exhibit will feature local legends like Pearl Bailey, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Elle Fitzgerald.

The Story of Virginia

NOW – December 31, 2017

The newly renovated 10,500 square foot space at the Virginia Historical Society is currently featuring the exhibit “The Story of Virginia.” This exhibition renders a storytelling experience, interpreting 16,000 years of Virginia history. Some of these artifacts include Stone Age tools all the way to the homemade satellite from 2013.

Den of Fear at Dogtown Dance Theatre

October 20 – October 29

Located two miles away from VCU, the high-intensity thrills and scares are apparent from the national haunt artists that are taking over Dogtown to bring Richmond its only haunted house within the city limits. This event features movie-quality horror makeup and a theatrical and interactive experience. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart. No children under 10 and tickets are $15.

To check in with everything that’s already happening in artoberVA, search #artoberVA on all social media or check artoberVA’s calendar for a full schedule here.


*Cover photo by ArtoberVA

Christopher McDaniel

Christopher McDaniel

Christopher Alan McDaniel is a 2015 VCU graduate with his Bachelor’s in English and a minor in Creative Writing. Chris aspires to be a collegiate professor of writing in his future. Until then, you can find him hosting free public creative writing workshops with the Filthy Rich and writing grants for Dogtown Dance Theatre. Chris can also be found around Richmond’s breweries and music venues enjoying what the city has to offer.

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