As a center for the visual arts, we encourage a free exchange between the making of art, the display of art and the interpretation of art. Our programs endeavor to explore creativity from inspiration to presentation with the goal of engaging and intriguing our audiences.
In the 1850s, the Norfolk & Western Railway made its way to Big Lick, Virginia, transforming the sleepy town into a locomotive hub of the south. The Virginia Museum of Transportation walks visitors through this industrial change with its historic steam and diesel engines, cabooses, model trains, and rail collection, which features more than 50 pieces of rolling stock, including some of the most advanced Roanoke-made steam engines ever built in the Norfolk & Western Class J-611 and Class A-1218. Railway exhibits recount the exploits of the industry’s most renowned names and provide an opportunity for visitors to hop aboard an actual diesel locomotive and complain loudly about the lack of complimentary peanuts. Additional engine-powered attractions include a century’s worth of automobiles and the recently reopened Wings Over Virginia Aviation Gallery collection.
From tents perched on either side of Main Street, 15 local vineyards dispense wine samples to festivalgoers during the annual Budbreak festival, now in its third year. Guests amble from spot to spot, pausing between tastings to peruse glass art, sculpture, and custom jewelry crafted by local art vendors. Pleasing sips can be paired with grub from food vendors including 13 Bones and Maples Restaurant at Olde Mill. Guests can stand up and shake their tail feathers to live music, or take in the tunes from a shady seat while sampling a favorite bottle. Among the festival's performers are veteran Rolling Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys, known during his touring days for fermenting an entire orchard of pinot grapes with a single magnificent C note.
Old Salem Museums & Gardens whisks visitors to the cozy streets of a reconstructed 18th-century Moravian town that encompasses 100 restored and reclaimed buildings and expansive, pristine gardens. As they stroll through the 90-acre homage to early Americana, visitors can interact with hands-on activities, such as the German paper-cutting art of Scherenschnitte or the colonial tradition of libeling a governor with accusations of actually governing. Old Salem's horticultural marvels include the Miksch Garden—a living illustration of Moravian subsistence farming—and the Family Gardens of Salt Street, which demonstrate the innovative practice of seed saving. In addition to year-round attractions, special exhibits rotate through town, celebrating momentous occasions, notable people, and game-changing presidential pets. After traversing the grounds, visitors can peruse souvenirs at a number of gift shops or sidle into Winkler’s Bakery for a piece of renowned Moravian sugar cake.
Boasting one of the largest venues in the Triad, and blessed by the muses since 1934, Twin City Stage gives the Winston-Salem community a place to both experience live theater and perform in it. Mitch Albom’s comedy, Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, follows a couple of cockamamie duck hunters who believe they’ve shot an angel and are relentlessly pursued by a cynical tabloid journalist and his reluctant photographer—but everything changes when they stumble upon a pair of wings and a tiara. Like most Thanksgiving dinners, the production wittily intertwines a love story, garish media, cultural stereotypes, and a character that is half alligator and half man.
Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.