At a time when many arts organizations are scaling back their offerings, Victoria’s arts scene is thriving – thanks in large part to the efforts of devoted volunteers and creative marketing of programs and events.
Cultural Council of Victoria
The Cultural Council of Victoria offers an excellent case in point. Established in 1978, the council provides a comprehensive mix of educational and community outreach programs, along with maintaining an extensive online arts calendar.
“The online community calendar covers all kinds of nonprofit events,” says Executive Director Joe Baugh. “It’s very helpful in terms of promoting local events, while providing one central location for scheduling. We also have a printed calendar, which is important in targeting our wintertime residents and visitors.”
The council sponsors a number of art shows and contests for both children and adults. For example, On My Own Time is a popular corporate art show featuring artwork that employees have created “on their own time.”
“This is a great way for companies to encourage and appreciate their employees. Participating companies are judged in-house, with the winners’ work judged in a city-wide show. It’s good for the company, good for the employees and good for the community.”
Victoria Art League
The Victoria Art League also plays a key role in the local arts scene, fostering artistic development and promoting interest throughout the area. Housed in a historic 5,600-square-foot building, the organization sponsors an impressive line-up of exhibits, lectures, classes and workshops.
“It’s a lovely facility, with both teaching and gallery space,” says Neldene Matusevich, who founded the Victoria Art League in 1966. “We offer programs and classes for all levels, along with invitational art shows twice a year. We’re a volunteer organization, but people here in Victoria have always been very supportive of the arts, very generous with their time and talent.”
Of course, that generosity carries over to the performing arts as well – from music and dance to live theater. As the resident company of the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, Theatre Victoria has been entertaining enthusiastic audiences since 1977, while supporting arts education with programs such as a two-week theater camp and year-round youth acting academy.
Likewise, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra draws nationally recognized musicians and guest artists from around the world. Along with its popular Masters Series, the symphony also teams up with Victoria Ballet Theatre to present a variety of family-friendly events. And each June, the Victoria Bach Festival finds new and refreshing ways in which to celebrate the music of classical composers.
“Victoria has been gifted with a surplus of imagination since its earliest days,” says Nina Di Leo, managing director for Victoria Bach Festival. “Victorians’ love of creativity and play contributes to the city's business success and can be seen most clearly in its great arts groups. There is a tremendous talent from nonprofessional artists that feeds the professional groups and makes Victoria a fun and vibrant place to live.
“The strength of the current arts organizations evolved from years of tremendous investment in the arts. From the earliest years of the Hauschild Opera House, the Frels movie theaters, the Nave Museum and the Fine Arts Association, to the recently opened the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, Victorians have invested in nurturing artists and offering arts experiences for all.”
Read about more cultural activities in Victoria, TX.