Without outlets for art, people wouldn't be able to tell when grocery baggers were actually bagging their food or performing an interpretive dance expressing the profound alienation of modern consumer society. Trade food for thought with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a $50 gift card to The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, good for performances, classes, and gift-shop items.
The Cultural Arts Center devotes its 50,300-square-foot facility to preserving and kindling the artistic flame, bringing in unique performers, conducting one-of-a-kind workshops, and purveying local and specialty goods. Experience the Fab Four infused with bluegrass, jazz, and classical with April 8 tickets to beatlegras ($25 per ticket), a string-picking Beatles-covering trio that proves that John and Paul's differences would have been best resolved with dueling banjos. Bring the family on May 14 to listen to ventriloquist comedian Lynn Trefzger throw her voice around the spacious, resonant theater with her madcap, audience-interactive lip-schtick ($15 per ticket). The gift card can also be used toward facility rentals for anything from a royal wedding reception in the cardinal ballroom to the rehearsal studio where Dirty Dancing and tumbling routines are perfected (price and availability vary).
The facilities also house a slew of arts-and-crafts workshops, including the Chocolate Factory for ages 7–12 on April 9, in which students mold artisanal sweets such as decorated candies, lollypops, and peanut-butter cups ($45 with materials). Other classes include a four-session Tunisian crochet course beginning April 4 ($50), a pearl chain and earring workshop ($47 with materials), and a host of music lessons ($20 each).
In the quirky gift shop, customers can peruse local and regional crafts, books, baubles, and accessories. Sample jewelry from local smiths ($15+), select from a unique array of eco-friendly wood puzzles ($6.99–$19.99), or become the envy of the block with an ever-functional Gurgle Pot ($37), a fish-shaped pitcher that gurgles when pouring liquid and sings sea-shanties as it's filled.