Arts and Entertainment
The artisans of the Southwest Blue Ridge Highlands region of Virginia produce a unique blend of arts and crafts, and they blend age-old traditions with modern tools. Galleries, art centers, craft shops, and antique stores are easy to find year round in the small towns of the mountains. Pottery, painting, sculpting, wood instruments, ceramics, bookbinding, quilting and more can be found in many locations in the area. During the summer, Abingdon and Damascus hold festivals and individual crafts classes for promoting the area’s history and craft trades. Walking into a craft shop in the area reveals to you the voices of Appalachia with craft trades that have been passed down through generations. Abingdon’s art centers offer a chance to visit artists’ studios with works in progress and view international art exhibits during special features.
Creeper Trail Info hopes to reach out to local artists in the area to help promote and tell the stories behind their art. You can get a good idea of what life is like in the mountains by seeking out art made by the hands of people in Appalachia. People’s homes are filled with crafts and antiques that came right from their own communities. Local musicians covet instruments that were skillfully crafted in the mountains. The people of the area have a great commitment to the arts and that passion shows throughout our small communities. Come visit the towns of the Creeper Trail Region and take a part of Appalachia home with you.
Abingdon Historic District
The Abingdon Historic District is a collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century domestic and commercial buildings that illustrate the variety of architectural styles and forms that appeared on the main thoroughfare of a rural Virginia town in the last century. Abingdon‘s 20-square block Historic District includes: Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum, which shows how a typical family lived in the pre-Civil War period; Cave House Craft Shop and Guild, housing pottery, weavings, woodwork, and basketry in a Victorian landmark; Arts Depot, an 1870 restored railroad station featuring artists at work in their studios; William King Regional Arts Center, an affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia; Martha Washington Inn, a Four-Star, Historic Hotel of America which was built in 1832; and much more. Handicap Accessible
Telephone: (276) 676-2282
The Depot Artist Association is a non-profit corporation, dedicated to the support of local and regional artists, arts educators, and promoting arts in the community. The Arts Depot building, a converted freight station, houses two galleries as well as a classroom and working studios. Visitors to the Depot can see artists at work in various mediums and enjoy rotating shows in both galleries.
Telephone: (276) 628-9091
The legends come to life at Barter Theatre, The State Theatre of Virginia and one of the longest-running professional regional theatres in the U.S.A. Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, Hume Cronyn, Gary Collins and Larry Linville are among more than 100 well-known stars of stage, screen and television that launched their careers here. Barter was founded during the Depression by Robert Porterfield, an actor who returned to his native Washington County with an extraordinary proposition: to barter with produce from the farms and gardens of the region to gain admission to see a play. Admission was 40 cents or the equivalent in produce when Barter opened its doors on June 10, 1933.
Telephone: (276) 628-3991
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Bristol Mall, VA
It was in 1927 that the “big bang” of country music took place. Victor Records talent scout Ralph Peer discovered Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter family, the first two major country music stars. The Bristol Sessions, by virtue of Rodgers and Carter’s impact, laid the groundwork for what became the “Country Music Industry.” These echoes of the mountains wrapped in song and music are a legacy the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance wishes to preserve. The concert series has found a home in the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, as well as outdoor music sessions in front of the “Birthplace of Country Music Mural” on State Street at the Farmer’s Market every Thursday night during the summer. Telephone: (423) 645-0035
‘Round the Mountain
Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network
Linking visitors to southwest Virginia to the artisans, farms, galleries, craft venues and other points of creative interest in this region.
Telephone: (276) 492-2080
The Lincoln Theatre, located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Marion, is a rare surviving example of an ornate moving picture palace that first opened to the public in 1929 and closed in 1977. The three-story brick cinema still retains its original integrity, with most of its decorative features intact. The theater building has no façade and is not visible from Main Street because it is located behind the Royal Oak Apartment House. The Lincoln Theatre is located at 117 E. Main St. in Marion. The Lincoln Theatre, Inc. is a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting cultural arts in Southwest Virginia. Telephone: (276) 783-6093.
Downtown Bristol, TN
A national historic landmark, this restored 1931 Art Deco theater is the setting for concerts, plays, movies, dance and other entertainment. It has hosted some of the finest guests such as Chet Atkins, Steppenwolf, Hootie and the Blowfish and more. Tours are available, but must be arranged in advance.
The Crooked Road
“The Crooked Road” is Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, a driving route through the Appalachian Mountains from the western slopes of the Blue Ridge to the Coalfields region of Virginia. The trail connects music venues in the Appalachian region such as the Blue Ridge Music Center, Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, and the Carter Family Fold. A wide variety of traditional handcrafted arts can be found along the music trail in unique general stores and small country workshops.
William King Regional Arts Center
The Arts Center is an Affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and other cooperatives. Exhibitions are varied: multi-cultural traveling exhibits on loan from museums around the country; exhibits which display the art of internationally recognized contemporary artists; juried shows highlighting Southern Appalachian artists; and exhibits which focus on the folk art and crafts of the region. Telephone: (276) 628-5005