Arts & Culture

Charlottesville and Albemarle County have an arts and culture scene that draws artists you'd expect to find performing in much larger cities. Just look at some of the performers who have swung by recently; Sheryl Crow, Lady Gaga, U2, Jay-Z, Kenny Chesney, Elton John, Jimmy Buffet, Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen (twice). With all those big names, it's easy to forget Dave Matthews started his band while bartending on our Downtown Mall and regularly plays sold out shows in Charlottesville.

The area continues to serve as an incubator for the next big artist to emerge from its thriving local scene, and concert venues of all sizes support the diversity of performers. From the 15,000+ seat John Paul Jones Arena, to the historic Paramount Theater (pictured above) and intimate, one-of-a-kind establishments like The Southern, Charlottesville provides a range of venues that attract both the world's biggest performers and small emerging artists.

On a quieter note, Charlottesville is home to a historic and established arts scene. After all, it was Georgia O'Keeffe who had quit painting at age 21 before she had moved to Charlottesville.  A few University of Virginia art classes later, and she was on her way to becoming one of America's most revered artists.  Currently, Charlottesville is home to dozens of art galleries and museums that highlight the works of internationally and locally renowned artists.  

Year round, Charlottesville hosts an assortment of festivals and events that are enjoyable for all types and ages.  Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock, Anthony Hopkins and thousands of movie buffs have all attended the annual Virginia Film Festival.  The Virginia Festival of the Book brings together writers and readers every year in March to celebrate literature. For an inside look at the creative lives of professional Virginia artisans, check out the Artisans Studio Tour, typically held the second week of November. In 2019, the Artisans Studio Tour celebrated its 25th year--and it's still going strong! Twice a year, people flock into Albemarle Country to witness a premier steeplechase event called the Foxfield Races.  And whether you've got a green thumb or can just barely keep a cactus alive, Historic Garden Week celebrates spring blooms at their finest.  Whether it's inside or outside, Charlottesville has numerous other events and festivals to keep everyone entertained.

Engrossing art can be found year round at IX Art Park. A one-of-a-kind fully immersive art experience, The Looking Glass, can be found through the Rabbit Hole at IX Art Park.

Take a look at our thriving events calendar to see what happenings fit your entertainment needs.