Monday, October 17, 2011

Why was the Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads started?

In 1976, the Metropolitan Arts Congress undertook and published a study to determine cultural needs in South Hampton Roads. Funded by the Norfolk Foundation, "Blueprint For A Rainbow" recommended that major cultural planning be undertaken involving Southside cultural institutions. In 1982, Peninsula cultural organizations were invited to participate and they accepted.

This led to a seven month planning process led by nationally known arts planner Ralph Burgard and involved Peninsula and Southside cities and cultural organizations. It was supervised by a citizen's planning committee of leaders from business, culture, education, local government, and public service, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Clarence Holland, former mayor of Virginia Beach. The final result of this process was the Cultural Action Plan.

The Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads was formed in 1983 by the merger of the Peninsula Council of the Arts and the Metropolitan Arts Congress to carry out the programs and recommendations of the Greater Hampton Roads Cultural Action Plan.

There are more than 350 arts & cultural organizations in Hampton Roads: world renowned museums, a premier opera company, a classical symphony and pops orchestra, a prominent regional performance theatre, an important ballet academy, many active community theaters, orchestras, dance troupes, choral groups, visual artists, art centers, galleries and individual artists in all disciplines that all make their home in the area from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach.

With such an active cultural community, there is a need to gather information, coordinate dates, and help make people more aware of the many cultural opportunities available in the area. With a variety of programs, the Alliance functions as a Chamber of Culture for the arts and cultural organizations, directly serving these organizations and the public in the Hampton Roads area.

The Cultural Alliance has played an active role in Hampton Roads' arts and cultural community through two decades and continues to carry out its mission, even at a time when national and state funding for arts and culture continues to be cut.

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