The Visual Arts Center of Richmond engages the community in the creative process through the visual arts.

We believe there is a creative spirit in all of us that nourishes our humanity and enriches our society. We foster a creative culture that encourages people of all backgrounds, ages and skill levels to explore, participate and experiment in the visual arts.

Affiliate support for the Visual Arts Center of Richmond is provided by investors in the ArtsFund, grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Arts and Cultural Funding Consortium and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Center provides opportunities for people to express themselves through clay, wood, fiber, painting, photography, printmaking, glass, metal, drawing, writing and the decorative arts. It also offers six exhibitions annually, with work by emerging and established artists and a focus on innovative materials and processes. The Center is located in a newly restored, 30,000-sq.-ft. historic building in the Fan District of Richmond, Virginia. Staffing includes 10 full-time and seven part-time employees, 110 adjunct instructors, and 175 volunteers. The annual operating budget is $1.7 million.


Founded in 1963 as the Hand Workshop by Elisabeth Scott Bocock, the Visual Arts Center began in a house on historic Church Hill where craft artists worked, exhibited and taught neighborhood children to create with their hands. For the next 22 years, it operated in various locations in Richmond. In 1985, the Center moved to the historic Virginia Dairy Building on Main Street where it leased space for 17 years before purchasing and later renovating the building. Completed in 2007, the renovation transformed the facility into an inviting and inspiring space and a state-of-the-art regional arts center. Since then the Center has continued to expand programs, raise its visibility within the community and increase its support base. The Visual Arts Center now is one of the major arts organizations in Virginia.