After 80 years, Richmond Art Center remains innovative enclave


By Zach Chouteau

When it comes to treasured resources in the Richmond Community, it’s hard to top what the Richmond Art Center (RAC) has brought to the community for 80 years. The robust venue situated in the Civic Center Plaza is accessible, attractive and overflowing with artistic offerings for every age group and interest.

“We want the Art Center to be a space where all feel welcome,” says Dominique Enriquez, studio director, “whether that be through checking out one of our free exhibitions throughout the year, trying out a class or workshop in one of our studios, participating in one of our community programs throughout Richmond—or stopping by for some music, art-making and fun at one of our quarterly Family Days.”

For aspiring artists, the venue likely has the perfect workshop or class regardless of your medium, age group or skill level. In addition to the ample drawing and painting courses amid its robust slate of offerings, the vital venue shows off entire studios devoted to the fiber arts (particularly weaving), metal and glass creations, ceramics and even printmaking.

While most of the classes typically meet once a week for a few months, an equally varied gamut of workshops are more often one-day affairs.And when it comes to creative indulgences for children and families, the RAC delivers in that realm as well, with a roster of youth art classes ranging from temptations for toddlers to comic-book courses for teens. For families on a budget—and what family isn’t?—there are also occasionally free family programs that parents and kids alike can partake in. This reporter vastly enjoyed one of these complimentary programs earlier this year, a lively mix of storytelling and rubber-stamp/pattern-making that was a huge hit with my four-year-old son.

For the many of us who consider art more of a “spectator sport” than hands-on-hobby, the RAC is still worth exploring for its impressive and eclectic exhibitions on display in a sprawling gallery open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus Sunday noon to 5 p.m. The current showcase at the free gallery is a unique affair showing off innovative works in a number of mediums—from both well-established local artists and up-and-coming rising stars they have personally mentored. Dubbed Making Our Mark, the exhibit runs through Saturday, November 12, capped by a 5 to 7 p.m. closing reception that evening.

Richmond residents should also mark their calendars for Sunday, October 23, when the RAC’s Free Fall Family Day—also known as Skeletonfest—will provide an art-making, DJ music and other fun from Noon to 3 p.m.

The RAC is located at 2540 Barrett Avenue in downtown Richmond. Visit its website here.artcentermain5richmondartcenter-main2richmondartcentermain3richmondartcentermain4


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