Importance of Arts to Our Cultural History

When we talk about the value of arts and culture to society, we always start with its intrinsic value: how arts and culture can illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world. This activity encompasses a broad range of disciplines that ranges from performing arts production and presentation, to visual arts exhibition, to arts education and arts in healthcare, to preservation and interpretation of our collective heritage. This is what we cherish.

However, we also understand that arts and culture have a wider, more measurable impact on our economy, health and wellbeing, society, and education. It is important we also recognize this impact to help people think of our arts and culture for what they are: a strategic national resource.

Essentially life without the collective resources of our arts communities would be static and sterile—no creative arguments about the past, no diverse and stimulating present and no dreams of the future.

For more information on our current, upcoming or past exhibitions, contact Rachel Keeney, Exhibits Coordinator for the department, at (304) 558-0220 or

Current Exhibitions

2023 Almost Heaven Governor’s Art Exhibition

Currently on display outside the Governor’s Office at the State Capitol in Charleston until September 2023. The exhibition is sponsored by Gov. Jim Justice, along with the West Virginia Department of Tourism and the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. Designed to showcase student creativity and the arts, this year’s exhibition called for one-of-a-kind postcard designs, illustrating your favorite West Virginia park (state, city, or county).

Awards were given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in three divisions: Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. Winners will receive Blick Art Materials gift cards in the amounts of $100, $50, and $25, respectively. Selected postcard artwork will be used by the Department of Tourism to personally invite travelers to Almost Heaven, West Virginia.

You can view a virtual gallery here.

2023 Quilts and Wall Hangings Exhibition

The 2023 Quilt and Wall Hangings Exhibition, the premier showcase for arts, heritage, history and culture opened on Friday, May 26, 2023 at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. An awards ceremony to honor the winners for the exhibition was held in the Culture Center theater. The exhibition itself will remain on display in the Great Hall and Balcony Gallery until September 2023.

Ten Years Later: Sesquicentennial Artist Invitational

Ten years ago the Commissioner’s and Museum Galleries housed the Sesquicentennial Artist Invitational, showcasing thirty of the best West Virginia artists working at the time. The works in this exhibit highlight the artist’s mastery of their craft as well as the industrious, imaginative, and innovative spirit that is a treasured aspect of West Virginia identity.

Stitching Together the Past: Creating Comfort Through West Virginia Textiles

The art of creating textiles was a crucial part of life for those that came before us. Stitching Together the Past: Creating Comfort Through West Virginia Textiles features a selection of artifacts from the West Virginia State Museum Collection from many different textile disciplines, from embroidery and weaving to quilting and clothes making. These artifacts span from the turn of the nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, highlighting the influence of technology, innovation, and the ever evolving creative nature of West Virginians. We work to uphold these traditions of textile craft through exhibition and education so that we can continue to pass down these Appalachian traditions to the next generations. This exhibit will be on display through October 2023.

“Life Through the Lens of Bob Bird”

A small gallery of photographic works from the collection of Bob Bird are on display outside the Archives Library.  Born in Charleston, WV on October 3, 1960 he graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in 1978. While attending West Virginia University, he was a member of the WVU Marching Band (1978-1983) and was a photographer for the school newspaper, the Daily Athenaeum.   He was well known for his booming voice and personality, his photography skills, and his abilities as a thespian. Bob used these traits throughout life to earn a living. He was a talented photojournalist as well as a large part of the acting community. Throughout his life, Bob served as Editor / Publisher of RESQ WV, freelance reporter at Reuters, freelance photographer with the Associated Press, Editor of the Boone Examiner, and worked at the West Virginia State Capitol covering the legislature and many gubernatorial events through his company Capitol Hill Photography.  He was a former Paramedic with Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, a former Paramedic and Firefighter at Pinch and Marmet Fire Departments and used his skills of Rock Rappelling and Scuba Diving for rescue. He also studied Emergency Services Management at Marshall University.

Upcoming Exhibits

A three-dimensional exhibit will open in the Balcony Gallery in June 2023.

Past Exhibits

Click here to view current and past Department of Arts, Culture and History exhibits and exhibitions. The Department of Arts, Culture and History youth programs exhibits can be viewed here.