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Staunton Augusta Art Center

Mission: The mission of the Staunton Augusta Art Center (the Art Center) is to provide diverse experiences in the creation and appreciation of the visual arts to children, adults, and visitors to the region and to support artists by offering teaching opportunities and venues to exhibit and sell their artwork.

Community Need: There are few fine galleries between Winchester and Roanoke. The Art Center’s galleries fill that gap and attract a competitive field of exhibiting artists who offer cultural enrichment to area residents, tourists, and potential re-locators. The Art Center’s Art in the Park, one of the first in the country, is an event for all where the community and its visitors come together.

The Art Center also helps fill the gap for children’s art education by offering art classes every Saturday in March (National Youth Art Month), Summer Studio (art day camps), and quarterly seasonal workshops. Art classes for adults are offered at various times and fill the gap for those seeking quality art education on a novice to intermediate level. In a society where athletes and sports events are most widely recognized and celebrated, the Art Center counters with its most heavily attended art opening of the year, the Annual Juried Youth Art Show where participating artists understand and appreciate the honor of having their work selected and exhibited in a professional setting.

Some facing mental health challenges find a voice, comfort, or healing through art. The Art Center hosts an annual exhibition of works by mental health clients. Opening night includes a key note speaker who describes his/her value on the visual arts where thoughts and feelings can be expressed with a therapeutic result. The experience of the viewer in the gallery and the listener at the lecture has, at times, changed perceptions of those who lacked an understanding of the struggles of one enduring mental illness.

Constituents Served: All, including tourists, are welcome, at no charge, to view gallery exhibitions and to attend the annual, two-day festival Art in the Park. Students ages 4 through post-retirement are served via art classes. Low income students are provided scholarships to Summer Studio. To further inclusivity, the Art Center partners with other organizations to focus on specific populations in its exhibit. Internships are also offered to university students. Estimated total served last year: 18,000.

Primary Activities: State-of-the-art galleries house quality, juried exhibits that change every six weeks. Mission accomplished: art offerings are culturally enriching to viewers – and – exhibiting artists are supported through gallery sales. Artists and art educators are also supported through teaching opportunities. Classes, workshops, and week-long day camps are offered at various times throughout the year starting with age four through post-retirement.  The organization’s signature event, Art in the Park at Gypsy Hill, is a two-day juried festival of fine art and fine craft.  Now in its 52nd year, this event has established its own reputation as an intimate, quality event serving as a well attended, art-related family experience; and another avenue to support artists.  The Art Center eagerly collaborates with others to strengthen community bonds and to enhance the area’s identity as an arts destination which results in a positive impact on Staunton’s economy.

Amount Requested: $10,000

Operating Budget: $194,000

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