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.

Current Exhibitions

The Sounds of Music Exhibition is currently on display in the Theater Gallery of the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston through October 2022.

This exhibition utilizes the many artifacts from the collection such as parlor organ, roller gem organ, musical cylinders, early stereo’s, record players, musical instruments from donors. Additionally, the exhibition highlights donated musical instruments that pertain to Vandalia Gathering, as well as related musical instruments and artifacts, all from the State Museum’s collection. Finally, the exhibition also displays artifacts from various successful West Virginia performers including those that excelled such as Eleanor Steber, Randall Reid-Smith, and George Crum. 

For more information, contact Laiken Blankenship, exhibits coordinator for the department, at (304) 558-0220 or [email protected].

The 2022 Almost Heaven Governor’s Art Exhibition is currently on display outside the Governor’s Office at the State Capitol in Charleston until September 2022. 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, depicting the theme: “What does America’s newest national park – the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve – mean to you?”

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.

The Faces From the Past Exhibit is currently on display as of March 24, 2022 in the Commissioner’s Gallery of the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, in Charleston until November 2022. features West Virginians from three different centuries. The selection of art from various mediums had become part of the West Virginia State Museum collection through donations by families and organizations as well as purchases from past juried exhibitions.

There is a series of the Thomas family, who founded Stone & Thomas Department Store, from the mid-1800s; a self-portrait by Grace Martin Taylor; a painting of Poet Laureate Louise McNeil Pease; a painting of mathematical genius Lightning; and a painting of a young girl laid to rest by folk artist John Riley Fleming. These works and many more from notable West Virginia artists of the past are documented in the collection and have been selected for this exhibition.

For more information, contact Laiken Blankenship, exhibits coordinator for the department, at (304) 558-0220 or [email protected].

Upcoming Exhibits

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History’s 41st annual Quilts and Wall Hangings Juried Exhibition will open Friday, May 27, 2022 with an awards ceremony at the annual Vandalia Gathering at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex. The free summer-long exhibition will be displayed through Sept. 13, 2022.

A quilting workshop will be held on May 6 by Juror Linda Luggen titled “Ironing Out the Wrinkles.” Participants will bring their problem pieces for a troubleshooting Q & A. There are limited spaces available and an RSVP is required.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Laiken Blankenship at (304) 558-0220 or [email protected].

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.