Events at the Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center


The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center events and activities include First Weekend activities. First Friday and Saturday Activities are Free and open to the public.

First Saturday activities typically feature guest artists and live craft demonstrations.

For more events and activities happening in Portsmouth, please visit


10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Write Your Life: Memoir Workshop
Instructed by Lisa Hartz

February 4, 11, 18, 25 · March 4, 11

We all have stories worth telling, but rarely can we find the motivation and guidance to help us get started. In this creative writing workshop, we’ll write from prompts to get us up and running, then share our work as a group. We’ll critique each other’s manuscripts in constructive ways to strengthen the work. We’ll revise and revise again. Your goal may be to record your memories in short pieces or to take on the challenge of crafting a full life story - or anything in between. Come share your stories in a supportive and inspiring environment. No (writing) experience necessary.

Lisa Hartz holds an MA in English Writing from Hollins University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami. She is former Director of The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA, and current Director of the Seven Cities Writers Project. Lisa has been teaching writing classes for over ten years.

The cost is $115 ($100 for Members) and includes admission to Art Exhibits after February 21. Please call 757 393-8543 to register by 4pm on Friday, January 30, 2015.

FEB 14

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
(while supplies last)

All I Want For Valentine’s Day Is A Chocolate Factory

Chocolate Dipping & Tasting with Maryann Boho of The Williamsburg Chocolatier

Take a dip –into chocolate! Maryann Boho of The Williamsburg Chocolatier will be a special guest for those who are interested in eating chocolate. And, well, who isn’t interested in eating chocolate? Boho will offer hands-on, easy chocolate dipping techniques that guests can try and then taste-test the results. No cooking experience is necessary. She will also answer questions about chocolate and her own family business.

The cost for participants who want to try making their own confections out of delicious chocolate is $2.00 per person. Parking is free on Saturdays. For more information please call 757 393-8543.

FEB 21 & 28

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Living Sculptures: A Beginner’s Class to Bonsai Tree Growing

The Japanese art of keeping and creating miniature trees with Instructor Randy McKinney

Participants in this class will get first-hand experience with a unique artform, sculpting living trees, dwarfed by potting and wiring. Randy McKinney will guide participants with the information needed to start and succeed in bonsai. Mr. McKinney has been winning numerous awards for his amazing trees, including Best in Show from the Virginia Bonsai Society and the International Bonsai Club Award of Excellence, both in 2012. He’s been teaching bonsai for ten years and growing bonsais since 1975, with some trees in his collection reaching over 40 years old.

The fee for his class is only $65 ($55 for members) and includes all materials, with a pot and bonsai tree to keep. Admission to the exhibits will be included as well and parking is free. Ages 15 and up are welcome. Please call 757 393-8543 to register by 4 pm on Saturday, March 7th.


5:00 - 8:00 pm

Jimmy Masters Quartet

Opening Reception:
Coding - Artists and Their Creative DNA

Join us for the opening of CODING: Artists and their Creative DNA, an exhibition of dynamic work by artists that use their backgrounds and identities as the main focus of creating artwork. Visitors will enjoy live music by the Jimmy Masters Quartet and Justin Kauflin. Light refreshments will accompany.

Jimmy Masters has played with numerous jazz luminaries over the years. His band includes saxophonist J.C. Kuhl, drummer Brian Jones, and pianist Justin Kauflin, who, after losing his sight at age 11, began an early career in music. Justin’s talent has accelerated him to local and national fame, receiving Tidewater VEER Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year Award in 2012. His relationship with mentor Clark Terry is chronicled in Absolutely Clay Production’s documentary Keep On Keppin’ On won both Best Documentary and Best New Director awards at the Tribeca Film Festival. Justin Kauflin and Dave Grusin are credited for its filmscore.

Jimmy and J.C. will perform in the courtyard, weather permitting, or inside the Art Annex Building through the Gallery Shop off High Street.

This event is free and open to the public. Reminder: parking in Olde Towne is free after 6:00 pm

MAR 28

2:00 - 4:00 pm

Woman’s History Month Discussion & Book Signing

With Special Guest ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Join the African American Historical Society and the Portsmouth Department of Museum’s Community Colored Library for a book signing with nationally acclaimed writer and journalist ReShonda Tate Billingsley.

This best-selling author began her career as a news reporter for television and radio, working in journalism for the National Enquirer, and as anchor for NBC, ABC, and FOX stations. In 2007 Billingsley committed to writing fulltime and is now author of more than 30 books, focusing on adult and teen fiction. She recently received the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for her book Say Amen, Again.

Her novel Let the Church Say Amen is currently being made into a movie produced by Queen Latifah’s Flava Unit Productions, and is due out in 2015.

This event is free and open to the public.


5:00 - 8:00 pm

Opening Reception:
Portsmouth Here & Now

Seeking to promote the vibrant, cultural life and activity in Portsmouth, this juried exhibit offers a range of artistic works and styles by artists who live and/or work in our great City.


5:00 - 8:00 pm

Opening Reception:
Portsmouth Artists & 2015 Outdoor Sculpture

Artist exhibit showcases the artists who live or work in Portsmouth, Virginia.

The tenth annual outdoor sculpture exhibit will feature invitational sculptures by past award winning artists and features sculptures by Robert Cage of South Boston, Virginia.

saturday & sunday
MAY 2-3


First Weekend
11th Annual Atlantic Coast Kite Festival

Kite fliers and spectators of all ages will experience a visual feast at the 11th Annual Atlantic Coast Kite Festival. Held in Virginia Beach on Saturday and Portsmouth City Park on Sunday, this popular event features a variety of activities appropriate for all ages and all levels of kite aficionados. Co-sponsored by the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center.


5:00 - 8:00 pm

Opening Reception:
The Architect Within - Philip Weber

Weber was an apprentice at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and a member of Taliesin Fellowship from 1981 - 1990. During his time at Taliesin he produced an extensive portfolio of drawings to include plans, elevations, and perspectives as well as graphics or "nature patterns" and other designs. A select group of these works will be featured.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Samara

The Samara house, also known as John E. Christian House, was built between 1954 and 1956 in West Lafayette, Indiana. The exhibition explores the creation of a Wright house through the eyes of a client who spent more than fifty years fulfilling the renowned architects Usonian vision. Wright used the term "organic" to convey his belief that every feature of the house, from the structure, to the interior, to the smallest details and objects, should be as one, expressive of a single idea. Through correspondence, furnishings, graphics, reproduction drawings and photographs, the exhibit explores Wrights vision and relation with his client.

AUG 15

10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Builder Fest

Join us for a day of creating and building. Visit with hobbyists and professionals to explore the process of building and making. Discover everyday items made by hand as in times past and play with futuristic toys.


5:00 - 8:00 pm

Opening Reception:
Virginia Earth: Ceramic Art

From large scale sculptures to utilitarian craft art, the exhibit offers a look at the wealth of ceramic arts created in Virginia. This exhibit is offered in collaboration with Tidewater Community College Visual Arts Center who will also feature ceramic craft art.

Copyright 2012 City of Portsmouth, VA
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400 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704 · 757-393-8543
Mailing Address: 521 Middle Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, housed in the 1846 Courthouse, is devoted to offering quality educational, cultural and aesthetic experiences in the arts through rotating visual art exhibits, lectures, classes and performances.