Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities

There’s no escaping it... and who would want to?

The arts are all around you in Norfolk. As the cultural capital of Virginia, Norfolk offers the highest quality and the widest array of artistic experiences. From black-tie to jeans, for the young and the young-at-heart, there’s something for everyone here.

"The Norfolk Arts Commission works with nearly 40 cultural groups guided by more than 700 community and business leaders." 
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The mission of the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities is to serve as an effective resource to the City of Norfolk and to arts and cultural organizations. It promotes the success, enhances the quality, and increases the availability and awareness of artistic and cultural experiences for the benefit of the citizens of Norfolk.

The Norfolk Commission on the Arts & Humanities has worked, since its inception in 1978, to create a dynamic and lively cultural community, providing support for more than three dozen arts organizations, and continues to create community partnerships, most recently with the Park Place Child Life Center. Arts Within Reach, a series of free monthly performances featuring grantees, will reach more than 4,000 audience members this year.

The Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities was created in 1978 by City Council and is comprised of 15 volunteer members appointed by City Council for three-year terms and eligible for reappointment.

The Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities reports to the Department of Development through the Arts Manager. The City’s superior quality of life is important to the Department’s goal of generating wealth for the City of Norfolk through business expansion, enhancement, and new business development.

Two economic impact surveys, underwritten by the Norfolk Economic Development Authority, confirm that grantees provide an impressive, positive return to the City, with two-thirds of this return “imported” from outside the City. Around the country, 80% of Arts Commissions in the 50 largest U.S. cities say they use the arts to address economic development issues.

As David R. Goode, former chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation, has explained, “When Norfolk Southern sought a location for its headquarters in 1982, we could just as well have chosen Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton or some other outlying city… but to locate in this region at all, there still had to be a
Norfolk — a thriving magnet for the urban amenities that any major corporation must have to attract and retain talented people. As CEO of one corporation, I’ll just tell you that without a thriving core city-and the symphony orchestra, the art museum, the downtown center of a real urban area-you’re not in the game where locating offices is concerned.”

Arts Commission Members

Lorraine Graves currently serves as Chairman of the Arts Commission, and Peter Huber serves as Secretary. Other members include ValJean H. Crudup, Bess P. Decker, Renée G. Diamonstein, Susan Skiles Goode, Dr. Joyce Hoffmann, Dr. Marjorie Scott Johnson, Thomas Helm Jones, III, Bonnie Lambert-Baxter, Charles V. McPhillips, Patricia P. Rawls, Rodney
Suiter, Elbert Watson and Edward J. Woodard, Jr. Past Chairmen include Susan T. Bernard, Jane Patton Browning,

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