The mission of Blue Ridge Arts Council is to provide a broad base of support for the visual and performing arts, in all segments of the community, by increasing awareness, interest, knowledge and participation. Founded in 1987, Blue Ridge Arts Council is celebrating 35 years of service to the community. A 15-member community-based board governs the work of the council and employs a full time Executive Director and a part-time office administrator.
The arts council coordinates several gallery spaces throughout the county, and exhibits and sells fine art by local and regional artists. Music and Art Lessons are offered at our Main Street Gallery throughout the year. Each summer the council presents “Gazebo Gatherings,” a summer concert series held at the Town Commons each Thursday evening at 7pm, in June, July, and August. Special events throughout the year include our Annual Arts Citizen of the Year Dinner and Roast, and the annual community holiday kick-off event Deck the Halls (held the 3rd Thursday/Friday November).
The arts council primarily serves the Town of Front Royal and the County of Warren and draws a significant audience and support from the residents of Winchester, Rappahannock, Frederick, Clarke, Fauquier and Shenandoah counties. For a majority of the local community, Blue Ridge Arts Council is primary arts resource. The Arts Council staff and a community based board research, plan, implement and review each program offered by the Council.
Major Program Areas
- Summer Outdoor Concert Series
A ten to twelve-week summer outdoor music and entertainment series at the Town Gazebo, highlighting a mix of music types, utilizing artists from the region and the eastern United States. The concerts are free and open to the public, and generally attract audiences of 200 to 500. This series is sponsored through a partnership with the Town of Front Royal, the County of Warren, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
- Warren County Public School Arts Enrichment Resource
Provide input to the local public-school system and work to advise on a variety of arts disciplines and resources for bringing professional experiences into the public schools, servicing 5,100 students in grades K through 12.
- Art Exhibits
A nine exhibit per year program showcasing a variety of regional and national artists, including new and emerging artists, in our gallery at 305 East Main Street. The council also coordinates showings at the satellite gallery at the Warren County Community Center.
- Community Outreach Programs
A variety of entertainment programs offered throughout the year to increase awareness and enjoyment in the arts presented in a variety of performance formats. Programs include community concerts, youth recitals in voice, piano and guitar, and seasonal performance offerings. The council is also active in many community organizations and helps in the production of many community events.
- Instructional Programs
Periodic continuing learning for adult and youth population is provided through a series of seminars, workshops and classes in the visual and literary art areas. We have ongoing class offerings for youth and adults in visual and performing arts, including dance, piano and voice, utilizing the gallery space throughout the week.
Blue Ridge Arts Council operates on a budget of $70,000 for the current fiscal year. Approximately 20% of our funding is supplied through the Creative Community Partnership Grant, a matching state and local funding program with partners Virginia Commission for the Arts, County of Warren, and Town of Front Royal. The remaining 80% of our revenues are derived through membership, gallery sales, and special event and projects fundraising.
Kym Crump, Executive Director
Amber Mitchell, Office & Financial Manager
President – Mary Ruth Alred Follett
Vice President – Lorraine Hultquist
Treasurer – Jennifer Patton
Secretary – Katie Tewell
Avie Megeath Aleshire