About Us

Our MissionBuiding - for mission page of website Aug 2016_1000px

The mission of the Bower Center for the Arts is to enrich the cultural life of the community through the arts by:

  • fostering creative expression
  • offering diverse educational opportunities

We meet our mission by collaborating with other community organizations to provide programs in the humanities, including but not limited to the visual and performing arts. The Bower Center serves as an incubator by offering studios for artists, scholarships for students who need financial assistance, and performance and exhibition spaces. It receives wide community support and encourages organizations to use its facilities to expand cultural opportunities.

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Our History

The Bower Center for the Arts is a non-profit art center nestled in the heart of Bedford, Virginia at the corner of Bridge Street and Bedford Avenue. The Bower Center is named for the mother and father of Bedford native, Dr. John Bower, whose generous donation allowed for the purchase of the building in 2005. Dr. Bower’s mother Minnie was an avid gardener and his father, Mitchell, was a local businessman, former mayor and tenor in the Bedford Presbyterian Church Choir. The Bower Center has been operating as an arts center since 2006, initially as Bedford Academy for the Arts.

The Bower Center for the Arts exists in part, according to the by-laws, “to promote the cultural arts” in the Bedford area. Since 2006 the Bower Center has worked toward providing a cultural arts center in Bedford and will continue to build upon that foundation to provide an atmosphere of learning and personal growth through entertainment and education in the Visual and Performing Arts.

The building itself has a rich and varied history. In fact, though not apparent upon first glance, the Bower Center is actually comprised of two buildings, with the original structure having been built in 1880. It was originally the home to the Bedford Christian Church, and in fact the performance hall is housed in the old sanctuary and the natural acoustics create a wonderful setting for the performing arts. Since the Bedford Lutheran Church currently rents space from the Bower Center, there are still church services held each Sunday. Much of the Bower Center though has been converted for its primary use as an art center. Exhibit space has been set up on all three levels, with the ground floor housing the primary Gallery Exhibit space as well as Class Areas and Studio spaces.

Make the Arts a part of your life… stop in to view the Fine Art Exhibits, watch Artists as they work, sign up for Art or Music Classes or catch an Upcoming Event.

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The Bower Center for the Arts

Executive Director

John Stafford

Executive Director Emeritus

Sara Braaten

The Bower Center Board of Directors


  • Sergei Troubetzkoy, President
  • Bill Blewitt, Vice President
  • Philip Brown, Treasurer
  • Jared Srsic, Secretary


  1. Des Black
  2. Mikael Blido
  3. Revelle Hamilton
  4. Ken Towler
  5. Susan Martin
  6. Rusty Mansel

NEW Board Members as of September 2016:

2 Year Term/2016 – 2018: Revelle Hamilton, Ken Towler
3 Year Term/2016-2019: Des Black, Mikael Blido

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