Amazement Square receives more than 90,000 visitors a year.
The Academy Center of the Arts brings outstanding programs and instruction to the area. The Center houses two art galleries, a theater, two dance studios and is home to the oldest continuous theater group in the country. The Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra offers a varied concert season each year and regularly features nationally known performers. This is supplemented by the 1,500-member Community Concert Association, which each year brings several renowned groups to the city. The Little Town Players perform live theatre in Bedford at the Elks National Home Theatre. This successful community theatre group is now enjoying its second decade of producing popular drama for residents of the Lynchburg Region. Sweet Briar College in Amherst County sponsors many concerts, lectures, and dramatic productions that are available to the general public.
In the early 20th century, the Academy of Music on Main Street in Lynchburg hosted such entertainment icons as Ana Pavlova, Sarah Bernhardt, Ignace Paderewski and Harry Houdini, not to mention Will Rogers, the Three Stooges and a touring company of “Ben Hur.” Heavy renovations started in 2015 to return the theater to its former glory, and our community will soon experience restored beauty and blissful sounds echoing from the ornate opera-house interior.
Lynchburg is one of the smallest cities in the country to boast both an established symphony orchestra (the Lynchburg Symphony) and an opera company (Opera on the James). The city-owned Miller Center in Miller Park unveiled a new 300-seat auditorium this year, and The Academy Center of the Arts has established the Warehouse Theater in a building adjacent to the Academy of Music project. The lush harmonies of the homegrown Jefferson Choral Society have charmed listeners not only regionally, but internationally, while some of the greats of jazz, blues and rock n’ roll have performed at Phase 2 and the intimate JazzE Ellington House of Blues & Multicultural Center.
A long standing tradition, The Lynchburg Art Festival, held in September, is one of the region’s largest and attended by folks from across the state. The cultural life of the area is further fueled by its colleges, which offer art exhibits, lectures and theater performances. Other regional attractions include the Bower Center for the Arts in Bedford and the Endstation Theatre Company in Lynchburg, an innovative and energetic force specializing in outdoor drama and Shakespeare.
The nationally known Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a retreat for writers, artists and composers, sits amidst rolling hills just down the road from Sweet Briar College in Amherst County.