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What is the Virginia arts scene like, both in Virginia Beach and in Virginia, the state? The most notable art festival is the official Virginia Arts Festival, a touring event that hits the top cities of Virginia, including Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.
The festival has been running since 1997 and has brought world-class artists to the event for well over ten years. The festival was created by the city of Norfolk and was meant to promote tourism in the Hampton Roads area as well as other important locales in the state. What can you expect from the Virginia Arts Festival? Every spring you can find a variety of artists congregating at the festival.
Music is a big deal here and there are performing artists in genres of ballet, Caribbean and Reggae music, dance, jazz, country and rock. There are also comedy groups and unique events like the Virginia International Tattoo, which has gained a worldwide following. Sometimes celebrities show up at the event; in recent years the festival had welcomed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the Russian National Ballet, the monks of the Drepung Monastery, Bela Fleck, Kelli O'Hara and Liza Minnelli.
Not only is the festival great entertainment but it also provides support to new artists through in-school performances and workshops. In spring for 2011, look for artists like Joshua Bell, the Dance Theater of Harlem, Jane Krakowski and Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. This non-profit organization is funded by grants and donations. Besides business grants and commercial support, the festival is supported by volunteers and regular patrons. The festival is currently ongoing and will continue through June.
Another popular festival in Virginia, and one similarly named, is the Virginia Highlands Festival, which begun in 1948. It features arts and craft shows, as well as live entertainment and music. It also brings together writers, lecturers and performing artists. This is considered one of the top 100 festivals in the nation, according to the Art Fair Source Book. The next festival will be held July 23 through August 7, 2010.
As you can see, Virginia is a very artistically motivated state. While you’re vacationing in Virginia Beach and enjoying the art of nature, be sure to come visit these art festivals and enjoy the art of your fellow man. It’s just a short drive away from the beautiful beaches of Virginia Beach—The Resort City!