The Arts Depot

The Arts Depot was established in 1990 as is a non-profit, community-based art gallery whose mission is to promote and support regional artists through working artist's studios and gallery exhibits and to provide educational opportunities for the community. There are three large galleries housed in a 19th century freight station. The main "Spotlight Gallery" features eight major juried exhibitions yearly, the "Members Gallery" features eight rotating exhibits of regional artists, and the "Founders Gallery" exhibits six specially selected exhibits annually. Each March a local secondary school's art students are featured and each August the entire exhibition space is devoted to the Virginia Highlands Festival Juried fine Art Show. 

Arts Depot exterior in fall credit Jason Barnette

Seven resident studio artists work in the Arts Depot in a wide range of media including watercolor, weaving, clay, jewelry, and acrylics. Their studios are open to visitors and the artists are pleased to discuss their work and offer demonstrations of their skills. All artwork created in the artists studios and in the galleries is available for purchase.

The Arts Depot History

A site of bustling activity and excitement, the original depot was built in 1858. The trains stopping at the depot delivered manufactured goods, new ideas and visitors from afar. Local agricultural and mining products found their way to the markets of the world.

During the Civil War, the first depot building was burned in Stoneman’s raid. In June, 1866, the Norfolk and Southern Railroad rebuilt the depot on its original site. In 1870, it was expanded to include a freight station, the present day Arts Depot building.

After more than a century of service, the freight depot was closed in 1981. The Town of Abingdon purchased the property. Four thousand hours of volunteer work and financial contributions of local citizens were invested in renovating the aging landmark to create a new home for the Depot Artists Association (formerly, the William King Artists Association).

The Depot Artists Association was originally founded as the William King Artists Association. In 1990, the organization changed its name and moved to the old Norfolk and Southern freight station which is now known as the Arts Depot — home of the Depot Artists Association.

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