6 Places to Find Great Art in Southern West VirginiaMay 22, 2009
Everyone likes to do a little shopping on vacation. Here are some places that you will definitely be able to find great art on your visit to southern West Virginia:
Your list of cool places to stop needs to include Greenbrier County. Lewisburg’s historic downtown is a fun place to walk around, and there are shops everywhere. Harmony Ridge Gallery is just one of the great places to stop, shop and grab a cup of coffee to invigorate you for, you guessed it, more shopping. The artisan community is shockingly vibrant in Lewisburg, especially the performing arts. Head to Lewisburg for live music, plays, and festivals (as well as the shops).
Right along our southern border (Mercer County) is a house, full of art, conceived by Gary Bowling. That’s why it’s called Gary Bowling’s House Of Art. It’s a space that has to be seen to be believed, with what seems like room after room after curious room of art, fine and folk, local and yokel. If you’re planning a trip on the Coal Heritage Trail, start at the House Of Art.
Just up the road from Bluefield is the town of Princeton. The art culture there is all over, including a unique space created by the Riff Raff Arts Collective. In a beautifully restored downtown building, Riff Raff has a gallery, a school, and a performance space, all stacked up on top of one another. And, hopefully, you’ll get to check out something at the brand new Chuck Mathena Center for the Performing Arts while you’re there. If you’re in Princeton, spend some time, explore, and celebrate the arts.
Right in the center of our little map is Beckley (Raleigh County), which is where you’ll find Tamarack. This amazing circular building holds great works from West Virginia artists. Since the building is round, you can make a trip around it and just go ahead and make another one; it’s worth it. Tamarack’s tagline is “The Best of West Virginia”- they live up to it. Pottery, instruments, stained glass, woodworking, blacksmithing… and that’s just what they make on site. Don’t miss it.
Throughout Fayetteville (Fayette County), you’re going to find little stuff here and there to pick up in the historic downtown area. Be sure to go in Studio B Gallery and check out what folks from around the area have done with their inspiration. Other spots to hit would be Trillium Crafts, Wisteria’s, and Upstairs At The Cathedral. If you’re lucky enough to be in town for a production at the Historic Fayette Theatre, make a point to go- you won’t be disappointed.
You’ll find great art all over southern WV– we promise. Just drive around and stick your head into places like Gauley River Pottery or Quilts and More. There’s not much more satisfying than finding that one, hidden, perfect thing that you knew you wanted but never knew existed. That stuff? It’s all over the place down here.