Letter: A visionary comes to Gloucester
In the winter of 2010, a retired architect who is passionate about art came to Gloucester where she hoped to find a building suitable for the arts that would benefit Gloucester County.
She found a building on Main Street which had once upon a time been a car agency, antique store and eventually a storage place for the Court House Players which she bought and brought up to code. That building today is Gloucester Arts on Main—a 4,000-square-foot gallery space which, in 10 short months since it officially opened, has hosted individual shows of four different artists, numerous fundraising events for local charities like the Humane Society and Laurel Shelter, a rehearsal space for the Court House Players and a wedding, not to mention various exhibits, lectures and workshops from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and a partnership with the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.
We have formed a non-profit corporation to continue to pursue our mission to support knowledge and appreciation of art though education, to develop artistic and creative events and exhibitions and marketing strategies to promote sales of the artists, and engage the community in the creative process.
There is a phrase that states, "Build it and they will come." That is what Kay Van Dyke has done. We are a center for the visual and performing arts as well as a venue for public and private events and meetings.
Art is very important for a series of reasons. First, it teaches a person how to think outside the box, outside the envelope; and secondly, art has the very important cultural and sociological function of preserving the culture as well as creating a way for society to reflect upon itself. I think President Kennedy said it best in a speech he gave at Amherst College in 1963:
"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not the engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But (in a) democratic society … the highest duty of a writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which distains the mission of art invites … the fate of having nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope."
"Freedom isn’t free"—and neither is art. We at Gloucester Arts on Main are asking you to be part of our passion about the arts. With your support, Gloucester Arts on Main can continue to bring you exhibits of artists, performing arts, classes, events and more to educate and enrich the members of the community as well as enhancing the economic climate of Gloucester.
Join us and be part of art—because art is a part of you!