A healthy arts community

Published 6:10 pm Saturday, January 25, 2014

When people think of Suffolk, a vibrant arts scene probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Indeed, other parts of Hampton Roads have larger arts facilities and organizations that aim to support and nurture a growing arts community.

Though it operates on a smaller scale, Suffolk arts community is as much a part of what makes the city special as, for instance, the Virginia Beach arts community is in that city. And there’s a full calendar of arts events here in Suffolk during these cold winter days.

At the Suffolk Art Gallery this month, Glen McClure wrapped up his “Faces of Suffolk” photography exhibition, which highlighted the gallery’s annual Winterim show. A festive reception on Saturday closed out the two-and-a-half-week showing.


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McClure’s wife, Marshall McClure, meanwhile has helped set up a separate exhibition at the Shooting Star Gallery on North Main Street in the downtown area through March 10. The letterpress show and sale highlights artwork from Old Dominion University, from Hatch Show Print, a working letterpress print shop located in Nashville, Tenn., and from collector Ken Daley and others.

Over at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, a juried exhibition of outstanding work by African-American artists continues through Feb. 28. The arts center also has been a place for Suffolk residents to see excellent children’s theater events and stretch their own creativity during various events and classes this month.

February promises to provide even more artistic enlightenment, as the city’s public downtown arts venues prepare to celebrate Black History Month with different exhibits, speakers and events, while student art will be displayed at the Suffolk Art Gallery.

A burgeoning arts community is a sign of a healthy city whose residents have the time and interest to pursue ideals that go beyond earning a paycheck. Judging from what’s has been happening downtown, Suffolk has just such a community.