Community-building “Stars” named by Virginians for the Arts

Two Main Street communities pulled top honors in the Virginians for the Arts’ Arts Build Communities Awards. The awards recognize arts organizations that best demonstrate the ability to enhance the community, lift spirits, and build a better quality of life. 

Read more "Arts Build Communities" stories here.

The Barter Theatre in Abingdon was named Shining Star:  With 150,000 annual patrons, The Barter Theatre was selected for the extraordinary impact it has had on the Abingdon community, the region, and on the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The theatre, Abingdon’s 10th largest employer, was founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, when patrons could exchange vegetables for a ticket. It was awarded the Shining Star designation, since it has stood the “test of time.” 

For more on its economic and community development impact, read The Barter Theatre’s story.

South Boston’s Prizery Center for the Performing Arts was named Rising Star:  “Founded only in 2004, the Prizery has galvanized support for the fine and lively arts across the region, and it has become a mecca of performances, exhibits, and classes. Housed in a donated circa 1903 building, which underwent a $7 million adaptive re-use overhaul, today it is a major regional attraction for visitors and business prospects.  Among its significant programs supporting K-12 education, The Prizery operates a unique Pre-K Arts Academy for every public-school four-year-old, partnering with the Halifax County Public Schools. Its work has helped spawned businesses that include three restaurants, a retail art gallery, a clothing boutique, a home décor shop and an artists’ guild. The organization has sparked an entirely new way of community thinking about the region’s potential in a post-tobacco, post-textile era.” 

For more on the economic and community development impact, read The Prizery’s story.

Eighty other community arts assets were nominated for awards. For a full list of recognized organizations and communities, read the November 23 press release.  Awards will be presented at the ArtWorks for Virginia Conference 2010 Luncheon on January 27, 2010, in Richmond, Virginia.