Tucked away in Bedford, Virginia just a short drive from Smith Mountain Lake is the Bower Center for the Arts, an amazing space for creative artistic expression, enriching the local culture and opening up opportunities to visitors and locals alike—for those who wish to observe and for those who wish to learn and perform. Read on below to find out more!
A Dynamic Cultural Attraction
Located at the corner of Bridge Street and Bedford Avenue, the Bower Center for the Arts offers artistic exhibits, classes, and concerts for your enjoyment from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Tuesday through Saturday. On the second Friday of each month, the center extends its hours until 8:00pm, making it an excellent weekend date night destination during your time in Smith Mountain Lake.
Step inside of the Bower Center for the Arts and you’ll encounter a gorgeous grand lobby and exhibition area. Follow the ascending stairs onto the balcony of the second floor, where you’ll find an exhibit space and the entrance to the Sara Braaten Gallery, which serves as the center’s performance hall. Additional exhibit spaces can be viewed on the terrace level and first floor.
The Bower Center for the Arts also houses a general purpose classroom, two pottery classrooms, and a total of eight private studio spaces. Three private studio spaces are located on the terrace level and five are located on the third floor, functioning as private spaces for a number of the center’s resident artists, such as mosaic artist Dotti Stone, oil painter Suzanne Paddock, pattern designer Peggy Markham, and watercolor artist Perri Mason.
Perhaps one of the greatest things about the Bower Center for the Arts operates as a non-profit organization, meaning that general admission is always free and open to the public, ensuring that both locals and visitors have easy access to stunning works and performances of local art, as well as the artists who create them.
Things to Do Nearby
A trip to Smith Mountain Lake offers up the chance to discover and explore a collection of lakeside communities that each host their own sense of taste and style. While a visit to the Bower Center of the Arts in Bedford is sure to inspire, the Smith Mountain Lake area provides a myriad of other options for things to do nearby that cater to those travelers with a heart for the arts, culture, and entertainment. When you’re hoping to expand your itinerary and create an experience that’s truly creative and unforgettable, here are a few stops to add to the must-do list while you’re in town.
Enjoy Time at All Fired Up
There’s nothing quite like creating a one-of-a-kind souvenir that comes with a personalized touch. When you’re in the mood to make the most of your artistic skills alongside family and friends, a stop at All Fired Up is always a great idea. This ceramic studio is located at 16430 Booker T. Washington Highway in Moneta and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm and Saturdays from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm. During these hours, guests are invited to come on by and pick from over 1,100 ceramic designs that are waiting to be painted. Once you’ve added color and style to the design, they’re put through a glass fire process and eventually returned to you ready to leave as a unique work of art. For questions about group events, please feel free to contact 540-400-2712.
If you’re a traveler to Smith Mountain Lake that’s always been interested in learning to paint a work of art for yourself, making time for a visit to Art Visions Gallery is bound to be an exciting and inspiring stop. Art Visions Gallery is located at 130 Scruggs Road in Moneta and is open for business Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. The gallery is a great place to simply come and browse the fantastic works of local artists but it’s also a place for artists to gather, share insight, swap ideas and enjoy time together with others who share a similar passion. Those who are interested in scheduling private painting lessons at the Art Visions Gallery can do so by calling 540-798-0313 in advance. Set up a time to get creative independently or come as a group of friends and see where the paintbrush can take you!
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To learn more about Bower Center for the Arts and other incredible attractions you can enjoy in the Smith Mountain Lake area, contact our reservations team and discuss booking your stay with us today!
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