Your Guide to Arts & Culture in Staunton, VA October 15, 2021 by StauntonVA From Shakespeare performances to giant metal sculptures to delicate glass art, Staunton offers its residents and visitors a wealth of artistic experiences. Make sure you help keep the arts and culture scene alive and thriving in Staunton. You’ll also enrich your life! American Shakespeare Center Staunton’s most famous contributor to the arts and culture scene is American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. Not only does the playhouse perform Shakespeare’s masterpieces (and more), it also lets you get a sense of how the plays were actually performed in the space. Visitors to the Blackfriars can attend performances that include scholarly lectures or talk sessions with the actors. They can take behind-the-scenes tours of the space and sign their kids up for camps. During the pandemic, the Blackfriars shifted gears and offered performances in alternative spaces, including outdoors on the lawn at the Blackburn Inn. The Blackfriars also filmed seven productions to air digitally on BLKFRSTV. Camps still educated young people, but they were virtual. The ASC SafeStart program will bring “safe, live theatre to audiences online, outdoors, and inside in our beloved Blackfriars Playhouse.” Staunton Augusta Art Center Located in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, the two galleries at the Staunton Augusta Art Center host regular shows of work by regional artists. With the beautiful, historic hotel building designed by T.J. Collins in 1893 as a background, the curated exhibits will inspire you. Original work is available for sale in the gift shop as well as the annual Art for Gifts sale each winter holiday season. The SAArtC also hosts the annual, juried Art in the Park Festival. Enjoy a day in Gypsy Hill Park exploring the vendor’s open-air displays while live music happens on the bandstand, and kids take advantage of a number of free activities. The art center runs workshops and summer camps for children. There’s a community arts calendar on their webpage that gives you a centralized schedule of all the upcoming arts happenings in the area. CoArt Gallery & Beverley Street Studio School After you contemplate paintings, photographs, and more by local artists at the CoArt Gallery, you should buy your favorites to take home and display on your own walls. Serious art students can sign up for a class with the Beverley Street Studio School. Lectures, workshops, and classes for teens and adults are held in a variety of forms including in-person, Zoom, and outdoors. Love nature? Sign up for plein air painting this June or a course devoted to drawing trees. Staunton Music Festival The Staunton Music Festival presents nearly 40 concerts each year, featuring more than 80 acclaimed professionals from around the world. The highlight of each season is the annual Summer Festival in August, a time when each day offers visitors multiple concerts of chamber, vocal, and symphonic music. During the Spring and Fall, SMF presents more intimate concerts often focusing on specific repertoire, from Baroque to Modern. Heifetz International Music Institute The Heifetz International Music Institute educates young musicians in their artistic growth and treats the community to a variety of world-class listening opportunities. After a year of online programming and virtual concerts during Covid, Heifetz will perform live music again as part of its Ensemble in Residence concert series. Sunspots Studio & Glassblowing You don’t have a Sunspots glass ornament hanging in your window or on your Christmas tree yet? Don’t worry. Not only can you purchase glass art, glassware, vases, and jewelry at Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing, you can make yourself comfortable in the onsite studio and watch the artists making the art. The live demonstrations happen every day, and the artists will explain what they’re doing in each step of the blowing, coloring, and shaping process. Once the glass cools, you can come back and take it home with you! Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile travels around Virginia carrying selections from the VMFA collection to share with visitors. As visitors view the art, they’ll actually be connected with museum educators via Wi-Fi, so they can get a real-time lesson! If you miss your chance to see the artmobile in Staunton, you can catch it at Waynesboro’s Fall Foliage Art Show. Murals Make time to walk down West Beverley to the corner of North Central Avenue to visit the “You Belong Here” mural. Painted in 2019, by Charlottesville artist Christy Baker, this colorful painting covers the entire side of a building with its welcoming message and Shenandoah Valley imagery of cardinals and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nearby Waynesboro also boasts murals along its Street Arts Trail. More than a dozen interesting and beautiful works have been created during the annual Street Arts Festival. Giant Metal Sculptures You can’t miss the giant watering can as you turn under the railroad tracks and head into Staunton’s downtown, but did you know you can find more giant metal sculptures if you know where to look? Ferguson Metal Fabrication created carbon steel flower pots, nuts, books, eyeglasses, crutches, and shoes for the city and area businesses, and they bring a surprising touch of whimsy to the urban landscape. Oak Grove Theatre and ShenanArts Staunton is home to two community theaters that, in normal years, offer robust schedules and a chance to enjoy lots of local talent. Oak Grove continues to offer virtual programming and hopes to resume some of its outdoor productions this summer for its 68th season. Each year ShenanArts produces an ambitious schedule of plays and musicals by and for participants of all ages, always striving for material that appeals to the broad tastes of the community, to promote a culture of excellence and inclusion. Shops Offering Handmade and Fair Trade Crafts The Potter’s Daughter Studio is home to both a pottery and painting studio and Concepts Creative constructs custom furniture out of reclaimed wood and other materials. If you’re looking for handmade and fair trade crafts, clothing, art, and jewelry by both domestic and foreign artists, make sure to visit Harmony Moon, Latitudes, Blair Made, and Made; By the People, For the People. The Sparrow’s Nest and Medieval Fantasies both carry cool, handmade products.