Reasons to head outside

Published 8:42 pm Thursday, January 6, 2011

With temperatures struggling to climb into the 40s here in Suffolk recently, folks have plenty of motivation to stay inside. It’s far more comfortable to stay curled up in a blanket or by the fire, watching television or reading a book, than it is to head out into the bitter cold that seems by now to have been here almost forever. Even the act of bundling up against the freezing temperatures and blustery winds to go to the grocery store or out to eat sometimes can seem like just too much effort on days like those we have had for the past few weeks.

Suffolk, however, has a couple of often-overlooked treasures downtown that offer not just shelter from the cold but also a series of good reasons to get off the couch, grab a coat and actually get out of the house and do something.

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts and the Suffolk Museum are both offering interesting, entertaining and enlightening programs this month, and far too few Suffolk residents have explored either resource.

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The museum’s annual January event, Winterim, draws 500 or more people during its three-week run, which starts today, officials said this week. But even at 500 visitors, the exhibit, a collection of 60 artworks by art teachers from around the Tidewater area, including several from Suffolk, is far less popular than one might expect for a free showing of some top Tidewater talent. Some of the work is especially subtle and displays a mastery that seems to belie the fact that the exhibitors are only part-time artists.

For a more interactive experience, head over to the SCCA, where a variety of shows during the next three months or so will help dispel the wintertime blues for those who take advantage of the opportunities. There will be jugglers, a dance, a historic American hero, a community theater production and even a night with the late Albert Einstein.

Shows at the Center are always entertaining, and there are no bad seats in the auditorium. Reasonable ticket prices, a gift shop and a restaurant onsite — not to mention a number of popular eateries in nearby Downtown Suffolk — promise to provide a fine evening of entertainment in the midst of the dull winter.

For more information about the Suffolk Museum, visit 923-2371. To learn more about the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts and its offerings, call 923-2900 or visit