Story 1: Our Mission
The mission of Gary Bowling’s House of Art is to be a vital resource for Appalachian artists to make art easily accessible to the community, offering plentiful opportunities to discover, experience, and explore the arts in an inviting and welcoming atmosphere. We strive to be an arts advocate in our community, and, as always, share our over-the-top, must-be-seen-to-be-believed vision with all who enter our doors.
We seek to enrich the lives of those in our community through equitable access to the arts and arts experiences, with no regard to financial standing, age, sex, race, or ability. Art speaks to every person, regardless, and we strive to be the conduit through which it flows to the community. As Gary Bowling has often said:
“It is not a handicap to be from West Virginia. Our artists don’t have to take a back seat to anyone. We don’t need to import culture, we have our own.”
The artists and communities of Southern West Virginia are rich in culture and history, but do not have ready access to resources that provide arts experiences, instruction, creative growth, or guidance regarding possible career paths in the creative sector. Artists and community members seeking training or stewardship in the creative arts come together at Gary Bowling’s House of Art. The House of Art has 10 years of service and efficacy, having stewarded nearly 60 fine artists, some to national and international prominence. GBHA provides an essential function to the community by offering classes, cultural forums, seminars, entertainment, mentorship, and charitable functions in order to grow the local creative, economic, and tourist sectors. Art, culture, and creativity expressed powerfully through place can create vibrant communities.
Who We Serve: GBHA serves the Bluefield Micropolitan Region, including the coalfield region and Southwest Virginia and underserved artists and community members of our region needing a venue where they can train in the creative arts. Local youth and college students seeking an entertainment venue and creative stewardship, retirees and workers in transition seeking creative outlets and guidance, tourists and any persons searching for a place to connect.
The Ramsey School building offers nearly unlimited potential for growth to serve the community and the region. The Gallery is currently housed on the first floor, with display space and class areas. There is a stage area for performances, receptions, and events. Oversized classrooms with 14 foot ceilings on the third floor will be reconfigured as artist studios, classrooms, and workspace. The building’s 5 landings and ample wall space throughout offer display venues for art and art installations, amplifying the amount of space available to present art to the public.