Piedmont Arts is Your Art Museum

Your Art Museum…

Over my five plus years as executive director of Piedmont Arts and prior to that as a Piedmont Arts board member, I have heard some people say that the perception of the museum is that it is elitist and only for a certain demographic of our community. I believe this is a common misperception among people who do not attend the various programs and activities provided by Piedmont Arts. I also believe it is a problem that many museums face across the country.

On October 31, Piedmont Arts hosted one of its free Family Days and it was so gratifying to see the diversity of those who attended the event…Hispanic/Latino, African American, Indian, Caucasian; young and old, families, couples. The event, which was part of Celebracion de las Artes, was attended by more than 100 people from Martinsville-Henry County and surrounding areas, and they were there to celebrate arts and culture through dance, visual arts, crafts and food. A few weeks later, Piedmont Arts hosted Andes Manta, a group of four brothers from Ecuador, who use music to teach about their culture in the Andes. Well over 1,000 students learned about Ecuadorian culture and Andean music through Piedmont Arts educational outreach programs during that week.

It is always free to visit the galleries at Piedmont Arts, which removes the economic barrier that some families face when looking for something to do with their children. A recent New York Times article about the Museum of Modern Art increasing their admission fees, stated that “at a time when unemployment is high and disposable income is short, there is an even greater need for people to seek inspiration from art and connect culturally with the wider community. It may only be five more dollars for some people, but for others, it is the deciding factor in whether or not they visit the museum.”

At Piedmont Arts, we want the entire community to enjoy their museum. We offer free exhibits and many low-cost events, as well as educational outreach programs at no cost to our schools. On any given day, visitors to Piedmont Arts could be anyone…a student from Patrick Henry Community College working on an art assignment, a group of elderly citizens from Kings Grant, people of all ages taking one of the many art classes offered by the museum, families attending a Family Day or concert. Piedmont Arts was started by a grassroots movement of individuals who wanted to make art accessible to all…this is your museum, no matter your age, gender, socio-economic level or cultural heritage. All are welcome!

Director's Note is a monthly blog by Piedmont Arts Executive Director Kathy Rogers, examining the impact of the arts in our community. 

Contact Kathy at kathyrogers@piedmontarts.org.


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