1976, the Metropolitan Arts Congress undertook
and published a study to determine cultural
needs in South Hampton Roads. Funded by the
Norfolk Foundation, "Blueprint For A Rainbow"
recommended that major cultural planning be
undertaken involving Southside cultural institutions.
In 1982, Peninsula cultural organizations were
invited to participate and they accepted.
This led to a seven month planning process led
by nationally known arts planner Ralph Burgard
and involved Peninsula and Southside cities,
counties and cultural organizations. It was
supervised by a citizen's planning committee
of leaders from business, culture, education,
local government, and public service, under
the Chairmanship of Dr. Clarence Holland, former
mayor of Virginia Beach. The final result of
this process was the Greater Hampton Roads Cultural
Action Plan published by the newly formed Cultural
Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads in June 1983
to carry out the programs and recommendations
of the Cultural Action Plan.
There are more than 350 arts & cultural
organizations in Hampton Roads: world renowned
museums, a premier opera company, a classical
symphony and pops orchestra, a prominent regional
performance theatre, an important ballet academy,
many active community theaters, orchestras,
dance troupes, choral groups, visual artists,
art centers, galleries and individual artists
in all disciplines that all make their home
in the area from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach.
With such an active cultural community, there
is a need to gather information, coordinate
dates, and help make people more aware of the
many cultural opportunities available in the
area. With a variety of programs, the Alliance
functions as a Chamber of Culture for the arts
and cultural organizations, directly serving
these organizations and the public in the Hampton
The Cultural Alliance has played an active role
in the Hampton Roads' arts and cultural community
for more than two decades and continues to carry
out its mission, even at a time when national
and state funding for arts and culture continues
to be cut.