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BARC honored as the West Virginia Arts Organization of the Year!

The Bluefield Arts & Revitalization Corporation (BARC) has been named the 2024 Governor’s Arts Organization of the Year by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.

The Governor’s Arts Awards celebrate excellence in the arts in West Virginia. The awards focus attention on the importance of arts to cultural and economic development by honoring individuals and organizations whose creative achievements and significant contributions to the arts enhance life in the Mountain State.

BARC will receive this prestigious award at an awards ceremony at the state’s Cultural Center on Tuesday evening, February 27, 2024. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Center’s Great Hall followed by the presentation of awards at 6:00 p.m. in the Center’s Norman L. Fager Theater. The ceremony will feature awards presentations and will celebrate the arts with performances by West Virginia artists. The event is free and open to the public.

BARC is an arts-focused community based, not-for-profit organization which uses the arts to create opportunities for education, employment, and entertainment in Bluefield. BARC manages the Granada Theater – an historic venue in the city’s downtown; the Raleigh Street Cinemas – two new movie theaters in the lower level of the Granada; and the Paine Gallery – an exhibit space in Bluefield’s historic former City Hall.

BARC fulfills its mission by providing entertainment through movies, music, live theater, and free community events at the Granada Theater and the Raleigh Street Cinemas, offering educational programs in collaboration with Mercer County public schools and local universities, and organizing exhibits from local and regional artists and artisans at the Paine Gallery.

“The state’s designation of BARC as the Arts Organization of the Year recognizes the non-profit’s critical contribution to the economic vitality and quality of life in Bluefield,” said Brian Tracey, Executive Director of BARC.

In 2023, more than 20,000 people came to downtown Bluefield for movies, music, community events, and educational programs at the Granada Theater, Raleigh Street Cinemas, and the Paine Gallery, creating foot traffic in the city benefitting local businesses which would not have been possible without the work of BARC. Importantly, BARC’s programming provides area residents with cultural experiences they could not otherwise experience without driving a significant distance from Bluefield. Additionally, a community with a range of arts programming attracts businesses, new residents, and visitors, helping to position Bluefield for growth after years of decline.

“Our hardworking team has performed an outstanding job in bringing to our area live musical concerts, art exhibits, and first-run movies,” said BARC Board President Robert Linkous. “When an arts organization unites with a goal to serve not only Mercer County students but audiences of all ages in our diverse community, this recognition from the state of West Virginia makes all our efforts even more special. I am very proud to lead this organization.”

The Granada Theater and Raleigh Street Cinemas offer first-run movies and multiple other entertainment options throughout the year. For information on tickets to events please visit The Paine Gallery holds exhibits with different artists and artisans on a rotating schedule. All events at the gallery are free. The theater, cinemas, and gallery are also available for rent for private events. For rental information, please call Tim Smith at 304.887.2378.


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