The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace is the gateway to Southwest Virginia‘s rich culture and creative economy. Here you can see the work of regional artisans and musicians and find out about Southwest Virginia’s history, heritage, outdoor recreation and scenic beauty via stories and first-person narratives.
But it’s much more than a visitor and sales center. It’s the keystone in our effort to build a regional economy focused on our cultural heritage and natural beauty. We’re revitalizing downtowns as cultural centers and developing historic sites and outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the region. Artisan studios, cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, music venues and outfitters spring up nearby to enrich the experience of both visitors and the folks who make their home here. We’re making sure the world knows what a special place this is – and providing the tools to plan a vacation – or a lifetime.
All of this adds up to jobs and profits based on assets that can never be depleted or outsourced.
Efforts to build Southwest Virginia’s creative economy are the work of the Southewest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission, appointed by the General Assembly in 2008. Partners include the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Resources.
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace‘s architecture evokes the spirit and character of Southwest Virginia. Barns, silos and other structures native to the settlers of this area serve as inspiration for a unique and dynamic building that somehow seems as at home now as it would in 1810.
Designed by award winning architects, Spectrum Design of Roanoke, the 27,000 square foot building overlooks a sweeping mountain vista including Whitetop Mountain from its hillside perch on eight acres next to Virginia Highlands Community College.
The LEED Certified building features galleries, a restaurant, coffee bar and performance and special events spaces that combine heartstopping vistas with warm interiors featuring sustainably harvested native woods.
The lobby and artisan galleries include towering exhibit panels and display cases made of local woods, designed by The 1717 Design Group of Richmond. They also planned and designed the restaurant and coffee and wine bar. Interactives and videos throughout the building are the work of Two Rivers in Williamsburg.
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace is also home to the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation, Friends of Southwest Virginia, ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia Artisan’s Network and The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.