Roanoke is for Art Lovers

close up of colorful hearts painted on the outside wall of a building

A Guide to the Arts In and Around Roanoke, VA

No need to travel to New York, LA, or Chicago to get your culture fix. There’s a thriving art scene, right here in Roanoke! From vibrant downtown galleries to museums and public installations, our city has something to scratch every art lover’s itch. Below are just a few of the more popular destinations around town. Have fun…and support the arts!

Elmwood Park Art Walk

One of our favorite Roanoke art spots is just steps away from Gramercy Row! Head down the street to Elmwood Park and take a stroll through the latest temporary art exhibit along the Art Walk. Nine new sculptures were installed in May, all addressing the theme “City in Motion.” The tenth sculpture, “Descending Night” by Jack Howard Potter, was last year’s People’s Choice Award winner and has become a permanent feature in Elmwood Park. Be sure to download the free Otocast app to hear the artists speak about their work as you tour the exhibit.

Art by Night

There’s no better way to join in the excitement of Roanoke’s hip, flourishing art scene than to hit downtown Roanoke on the first Friday night of each month. Art by Night features art openings, live music, and demonstrations throughout the city’s diverse galleries, museums, and artist studios (all of which are within a 10 minute walk of Gramercy Row). Make a night of it, and grab dinner at any of downtown Roanoke’s hottest, most happening bars and restaurants. And have fun supporting our local artists!

Art by Bike

The weekends are so short, and sometimes it’s difficult to decide between soaking up our local culture or soaking up the sun. Fortunately, in Roanoke, you can have it both ways! Our fair city is teeming with colorful murals, public art displays, and whimsical site-specific sculptures, and has put together a handy map so you can see it all from the comfort of your own bike seat. This easy, 8.5 mile route starts at Patrick Henry High School’s artistic bus shelter and takes you through charming Grandin Village, then along the Roanoke River Greenway and Mill Mountain Greenway into downtown Roanoke, where the bulk of the art on this tour resides.

Museums and Galleries

For a relatively small city, Roanoke has no shortage of culture. With so many art museums and galleries nearby, Roanoke art lovers can easily get their arts and culture fix.

  • Taubman Museum of Art
    This museum, in the heart of downtown Roanoke, boasts 11 galleries, a large permanent collection, and a rotation of 15-20 special exhibitions per year. Check out their calendar for workshops, classes, and events suited to art lovers of all ages!
  • Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech
    A haven for arts of all genres, the Moss Arts Center not only features a theatre and performance hall, but three visual arts galleries, which exhibit a program of traditional and trans-media works and installations. Then, of course, there’s the four-story Cube—a space shared with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and which houses performance and immersive environments, installations, catwalk galleries, and research studios.
  • Olin Hall Galleries
    Housed on the campus of Roanoke College, the Olin Hall Galleries host an exciting rotation of 9 exhibitions each academic school year, featuring work by local, national, and international artists. Be sure to check their calendar, as many of these exhibitions also include artist lectures and workshops.
  • Alexander/Heath Contemporary
    One of Roanoke’s newest galleries, Alexander/Heath Contemporary has made it their mission to bring artists to Roanoke, as well as to showcase local talent. With solo shows from a wide range of artists practicing in just about every medium you can imagine, there’s always something interesting happening at this gallery!
  • O. Winston Link Museum
    Train enthusiasts, history buffs, and art lovers…the O. Winston Link Museum is the place for you! Located in an historic, restored Norfolk & Western Railway passenger train station, this museum houses the striking photograph and audio collection of 20th century railroad photographer O. Winston Link. In addition to Link’s extensive archives, the museum also houses a reproduction of his darkroom and hosts art exhibits, classes, lectures, and events.