Best Gallery Or Museum In West Virginia: Parkersburg Art Center / 2020 American Art Awards

The American Art Awards is proud to proclaim the Parkersburg Art Center the Best Gallery or Museum in West Virginia, 2020, and one of the 25 Best Galleries and Museums in America.

Founded in 1938 by members of the GFWC Parkersburg Women’s Club, the Parkersburg Art Center (PAC) is the oldest arts organization in West Virginia in continuous operation.

Now in its fifth home, PAC is located on a busy corner in downtown Parkersburg and offers free parking for visitors. Formerly a department store, the 36,000 square-foot facility is fully accessible with classrooms and exhibit spaces on three floors and a large multipurpose room on the fourth.

The five gallery areas can be used singly or in tandem, offering a 12-month schedule of national and international traveling exhibits, as well as regional solo, group and student exhibitions. The Art Center is the host gallery for annual and biennial juried exhibitions by state arts organizations including the West Virginia Watercolor Society (WVWS) and West Virginia Allied Artists. The West Virginia Art Educators Association (WVAEA) holds its annual convocation and best-of-the-state K-12 exhibition at the Art Center. “The River,” a juried show for professional artists in Ohio and West Virginia, has its home base in Parkersburg at the Art Center.

Eight dedicated classrooms include two state-of-the-art clay zones as well as “Melissa’s Garden,” an innovative outdoor Learn/Play space for children. Classes and workshops run year-round for all ages, beginning with toddlers. PAC’s pre-school program, “ArtStart,” is nationally recognized for excellence, and offers a developmentally-appropriate, arts-based curriculum with the goal of enhancing the students’ creative, social, and intellectual development. Summer “Camp Creativity” brings ten weeks of age-appropriate art training and fun for young people aged from 4 to teen. Educational programs for home-schooled students and individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities are available.

The Art Center is very much a part of the Mid-Ohio Valley community, and is in constant use as a select venue for wedding receptions, corporate annual meetings and social gatherings of all sizes. PAC is one of the originating partners of ArtOberfest, an annual street fair with live music, sales booths for artists, chalk artists and locally produced food and craft beers. They also play host to the annual “Black Saturday Artists’ Market”, free community “Arty Parties” during the winter months and a wonderful masquerade party in October.

The Parkersburg Art Center (PAC) is a nonprofit, non-government entity, and is supported with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the National Endowment for the Arts (with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts) and also by the Wood County WV Commission, memberships, sponsorships, business and private contributions.

The Parkersburg Art Center is located at 725 Market Street in downtown Parkersburg at the corner of Market and Eighth Streets.

Hours are 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Cost is $2 for non-members but always free for Art Center members and children 12 and under. Wednesdays are free days.

Find out more about the Art Center on Facebook or their website

AWARD VIDEO OF PAC HERE: annually awards 25 museums and galleries in spring, and with their critique in autumn, awards 300 artists (painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists).




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Thom Bierdz

One of Medium’s TOP ART CONTRIBUTORS, award-winning author, actor, film-maker, painter. 12 books: 6 on art. President of WAA & AAA.