West Virginia State Museum Education

Current, Upcoming and Past Exhibitions

Importance of Arts to our Cultural History

When we talk about the value of arts and culture to society, we always start with its intrinsic value: how arts and culture can illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world. This activity encompasses a broad range of disciplines that ranges from performing arts production and presentation, to visual arts exhibition, to arts education and arts in healthcare, to preservation and interpretation of our collective heritage. This is what we cherish.

However, we also understand that arts and culture have a wider, more measurable impact on our economy, health and wellbeing, society, and education. It is important we also recognize this impact to help people think of our arts and culture for what they are: a strategic national resource.

Essentially life without the collective resources of our arts communities would be static and sterile—no creative arguments about the past, no diverse and stimulating present and no dreams of the future.

Current Exhibitions

The 2021 West Virginia Governor's Art Exhibition, An Open Invitation to Almost Heaven, is currently on display as of March 5, 2021 in the Capitol building. The display is located outside the Governor's reception room in the West Wing. However, the Capitol is still not open to the public, but there will be a notification sent out when it does reopen so visitors can see the exhibit. Click here to view the Virtual Gallery. The exhibit will be on display until late August or early September 2021.

2020 WV Emerging Artists Exhibition: "West Virginia Arts Unite"

2020 emerging artists exhibit

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History unveiled the 2020 West Virginia Emerging Artists Juried Exhibition in the Commissioner’s Gallery of the West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

This year’s exhibition features 42 creative pieces representing the talents of 30 West Virginia artists from 15 counties. The juror for this year’s Emerging Artists Exhibition was Elaine Gustafson. Gustafson is the curator of collections at the Weatherspoon Art Museum on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where her areas of interest include photography and modern American art. She holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) in the History of Art from Wheaton College, an M.A. in the History of Art from Brown University, and completed coursework toward her doctorate, also at Brown University. Gustafson also has served as a juror for various art competitions, commissions, exhibitions and shows; a panelist at regional and national arts conferences; and a freelance writer for various regional arts magazines.

The Department presented three awards for the exhibition. The Best of Show/First Place Award received $1,000 and was awarded to Suzan Morgan, Buckhannon, Upshur County, for Silence; second place received $500 and was awarded to Leah Seaman, Philippi, Barbour County, for The New Renaissance (3); and third place collected $250 and was awarded to Dick Allowatt, St. Albans, Kanawha County, for Emergence.

Eligible artists had to be 18 years of age and older and maintain a permanent domicile in West Virginia. Each artist could submit two pieces for the exhibit jurying in painting, print/drawing, mixed media, craft/wall hangings, photography, digital art and/or sculpture. All pieces must have been created between 2018 and 2020.

The exhibit will be on display until March 1, 2021. The Culture Center is open Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Culture Center is following guidelines in accordance with best practices from the WV DHHR and CDC. All visitors are encouraged to wear a face covering and will have their temperature taken upon entry. All visitors will also be asked to fill out the West Virginia State Visitor Covid-19 Screening Form. Visitors should follow social distancing guidelines at all times.

If you do not feel comfortable traveling to see the show in person, you can view it virtually on the Department of Arts, Culture and History Zenfolio page from the following link: 2020 West Virginia Emerging Artists Exhibition "West Virginia Arts Unite". To view the photos, you will need to enter an email address, and then you should have full access to the albums. If there are any questions, please contact Cailin Howe by phone (304)-558-0220, ext. 128 or Cailin.A.Howe@wv.gov.

Upcoming Exhibitions

The 2021 Congressional Art Exhibition is currently accepting submissions from West Virginia students. Artwork submissions can be mailed OR hand delivered to the Culture Center between December 4, 2020 and March 19, 2021. Proper COVID-19 procedures are in place for dropping off artwork. Teachers MUST schedule a time with the Exhibit's Coordinator, Cailin Howe, to drop off. To ensure a teacher is sponsoring your artwork and has approved it’s submission, all entries MUST have an art teacher signature on the paperwork unless the student is a home school student. If there are any questions, please contact Cailin Howe by phone (304)-558-0220, ext. 128 or Cailin.A.Howe@wv.gov

The Department of Arts, Culture and History will be accepting entries for the 2021 Quilt Exhibition, the premier showcase for arts, heritage, history and culture. The show is scheduled to open on May 28, 2021 in the Culture Center Great Hall. The exhibition is open only to West Virginia residents. Please see the current Quilt Prospectus for further information concerning entering quilts and wall hangings. When submitting your 2021 Quilt Prospectus, it is preferred that you submit a hard copy. If you do not have access to a printer, you can contact the Exhibits Coordinator, Cailin Howe to have one mailed. If there are any additional questions, please contact Cailin Howe by phone (304)-558-0220, ext. 128 or Cailin.A.Howe@wv.gov

Past Specialty and Recurring Exhibitions






Miss WV




For more past exhibits and events, feel free to search the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History's Exhibits and Exhibitions Zenfolio page.