The Collage, a commercial art gallery, first opened to the public June 15, 1991 and within a few years, the operation of the renamed Smithfield Cultural Arts Center was assumed by the Isle of Wight Arts League, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and recognition of the arts as an important, multi-cultural contributor to the well-being and growth of the community.
The Center for many years was situated in a Victorian, turn-of-the-20th century house within the Smithfield Historic District. In early 2009, it moved to a renovated hardware store in the Historic District where it shares space with the Smithfield / Isle of Wight Visitor Center and was renamed The Arts Center @ 319. The relocation was part of a broader cultural tourism initiative launched jointly by the Arts League and the Smithfield& Isle of Wight Convention & Visitors Bureau to reposition Smithfield as an arts destination. The Virginia Downtown Development Association recognized the effort with its 2009 Award of Excellence for Organizational Development.
The Isle of Wight Arts League has historically been active in arts education through rotating art exhibits in the Arts Center's galleries and through adult and youth classes in its dedicated arts classroom. Access to working artist studios brings direct exposure to the arts to visitors and students.
In March 2005, the Isle of Wight Arts League joined The Smithfield Times as co-sponsors for the Summer Concert Series. The Series, hosted for more than 25 years by John and Anne Edwards, owners and publishers of the Smithfield Times, offers free concerts for the community on Friday evenings from May through August on the Times lawn in the Historic District.
In 2005, the Isle of Wight Arts League also entered into a partnership with Smithfield Music, a venture created by Jim and Elaine Abicht, to present performances by top tier professional musicians in a family-friendly venue, the Smithfield Little Theatre. Net proceeds from Smithfield Music events are be donated to the school music programs in Isle of Wight County.
In 2010, Sundays at Four, a performing arts series featuring chamber musicians and vocalists, joined the Arts League as a sponsored program. Sundays at Four presents four to six performances each season which conclude in August with Terrific Teen Talent, a showcase of award-winning and recognized young musicians.
The Isle of Wight Arts League is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia and operates as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Its organization and operation are defined in Bylaws ratified by its Board of Directors.
The Isle of Wight Arts League Board of Directors
Directors are elected by our members for three year terms at the Annual Meeting held in January. The newly formed Board then appoints its officers. Current Board officers are: - Jim Abicht, President - Stephanie Faleski, Vice President - Diane Milner, Secretary - Dru Stowe, Treasurer