RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — What does art mean for your soul?

Kim Jones smiles beatifically, then intones a string of adjectives: “Soothing. Relaxing. Fun. Exciting.”

Jones brings groups of women to the Visual Arts Center from McGuire Veteran’s Medical Center. She cares less for what will come from their quilting class than what the women gain from the process itself. “It means that we get together and get to enjoy one another.”

Visual Arts Center Executive Director Stefanie Fedor sees art as a path to greater understanding. Fedor manages 150 instructors teaching 250-classes per year across 30,000 square feet of studios and galleries. “Everybody has some kind of creative ability in them–and it’s really special to help people find that path, to find that place.”

There are familiar disciplines such as painting, pottery and glass. Others are more esoteric and exotic, like letterpress. There are writing classes and a metal shop. Out of sync, the insistent ping of hammers on red-hot pewter can be distracting. There are classes for all ages and skill levels. The Visual Arts center also works with the Richmond School system, exposing city kids to the joys of arts and crafts.

Professional artists are also welcomed at the Visual Arts Center. Their work is on display at the Center’s gallery, and later this month, on sale at the 53rd annual Craft & Design Show. The Visual Arts Center describes it as, “a museum-quality show…in ceramics, precious metals, glass, wood and recycled materials, contemporary design, innovative use of traditional craft materials and fiber.”

The Craft & Design Show runs November 17-19th at the Main Street Train Shed in downtown Richmond.

The Visual Arts Center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at 1812 West Main Street.

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