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

2022 West Virginia Emerging Artists Juried Exhibition

Currently on display in the Commissioner’s Gallery of the West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. This year’s exhibition features 58 creative pieces representing the talents of 44 West Virginia artists from 19 counties. Eligible artists had to be 18 years of age and older and maintain a permanent domicile in West Virginia. Each artist could submit two pieces for the exhibit jurying in painting, print/drawing, mixed media, craft/wall hangings, photography, digital art and/or sculpture. All pieces must have been created between 2020 and 2022.

The juror for this year’s Emerging Artists Exhibition was Lauren Frances Adams. Adams teaches full-time at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Md. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she trained in mural painting, and from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2007. Her work has been exhibited widely in artist-run spaces, historic houses, university galleries, museums and public spaces. Adams has been a visiting artist and critic at Valand Academy in Sweden, Funen Academy in Denmark, and at universities, colleges and museums throughout the United States. Adams has exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Warhol Museum, Nymans House National Trust in England, Royal NoneSuch Gallery, The Mattress Factory, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Smack Mellon, and CUE Art Foundation. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and has held residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, La.; Cité internationale des Arts in Paris, France; Sacatar Foundation in Bahia, Brazil; and Back Lane West in Cornwall.

The exhibit will be on display until April 15, 2023.

2023 Congressional Art Exhibition

Currently on display in the Balcony Gallery of the West Virginia Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. There are 158 pieces on display from 134 West Virginia students ranging from 15 High Schools across 11 counties. The exhibit is open to the public during normal business hours, Monday through Saturday, 9AM until 5PM and not require a scheduled tour to see.

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.

West Virginia – A Scenic State of Mind

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History opened a new photography exhibit, “West Virginia – A Scenic State of Mind” on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in honor of the 45th anniversary celebration of the department. The exhibit will remain on display until October 16, 2022.

Forty-five photographers from across the Mountain State will be featured in the exhibit sharing some wonderful scenes of West Virginia. The invitational exhibit gives a glimpse of our beautiful state and will help commemorate 45 years of the department. Click here to see photos from the event opening.

Upcoming Exhibits

A sewing, quilting and weaving exhibit will open soon in the Theater Gallery in April 2023.

A Sesquicentennial ten year anniversary exhibit will open in the Commissioner’s Gallery in late April 2023.

The annual Quilts and Wall Hangings exhibit will open in the Great Hall opening Memorial Day Weekend 2023.

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.