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About Hampton Arts
Hampton Arts
About Hampton Arts

Thirty-six years ago this season, the Hampton City Council established the City department known as the Hampton Arts Commission. Since its creation, The Hampton Arts Commission (now popularly known as Hampton Arts) has been a much respected and praised institution responsible for a remarkable renaissance of the arts within the City of Hampton and within the entire Hampton Roads region. Hampton Arts oversees both the venues and the programming at The American Theatre and The Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center.

Hampton Arts’ continuing mission and vision for those three decades has been to advance the performing and visual arts and enhance the quality of life for all Hampton Roads residents and visitors by educating and inspiring teachers, students, and life-long learners to embrace the arts; provide opportunities for Hampton Roads artists to showcase and develop their arts; and present unique, world-class caliber performing artists that appeal to a diverse citizenry and promote a deeper cultural awareness.

The American Theatre

Since it’s opening in 1908, The American Theatre has had a rich history of providing entertainment in the historic neighborhood of Phoebus. The 388-seat performing arts venue typically hosts more than 40 attractions a year—from comedy shows and international acts to holiday performances and Family Fun events. Legends such as Marcel Marceau, Bea Arthur, CeCe Winans, David Sanborn, Tiffany, Claire Bloom, Nell Carter, The Blind Boys of Alabama and a host of other greats have performed in the charming acoustic space.

The Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center

In 1925, Mrs. Grace Taylor Armstrong, daughter of Charles H. Taylor (the Founder and Managing Editor of The Boston Globe), conveyed in trust the land and building to be known as “The Charles H. Taylor Memorial Library — for the use and benefits of the residents of Elizabeth City County, including the City of Hampton and the incorporated Towns and communities within said County.” After the City of Hampton expanded the public library to its current location next door, The Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center reopened in 1989 to further the work of visual artists in Coastal Virginia. Nowadays, the Arts Center hosts annual juried exhibitions as well as new exhibitions focused on diverse themes.