Advancing the performing arts in the Richmond region through programs and resources that SUPPORT the artists of today, NURTURE the artists of tomorrow, and provide spaces for the arts to THRIVE.
To create a vibrant community where the performing arts flourish and strengthen Richmond’s cultural, social, and economic vitality. Students, educators, and community members have equitable access to high-quality arts education and learning opportunities. Artists and arts organizations from all backgrounds have affordable and professional performance spaces and the capacity and resources to grow their programs and reach new audiences. And, patrons from all areas of the region see themselves reflected in the programs presented and enjoy diverse arts experiences in welcoming spaces, including our venues—Altria Theater and Dominion Energy Center.
RPAA was founded as Virginia Performing Arts Foundation in 2001 when a group of community leaders had the vision to build a performing arts center that would create an inspiring environment where the performing arts could flourish and strengthen Richmond’s cultural, social, and economic vitality.
With careful planning, dedicated fundraising, and extensive construction and renovations, Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts opened as Richmond CenterStage in 2009. This Center was the dream of many, including artists, arts organizations, business groups, community leaders, and countless citizens across Central Virginia.
Dominion Energy Center includes the historic Carpenter Theatre, Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse, Rhythm Hall, Genworth BrightLights Education Center, and the administrative offices of RPAA, Richmond Symphony, and Virginia Opera.
The Genworth BrightLights Education Center is home to RPAA’s BrightLights Education Initiatives, which have a special focus on reaching youth from under-resourced communities. The goal of the Initiatives is to increase equity in access to the arts and arts in education for individuals and families across the region.
In 2011, RPAA added to its family of venues, beginning a capital campaign for the historic renovation of the then-named Landmark Theater, formerly “The Mosque.” Upon completion of the renovation in 2014, the venue was renamed Altria Theater.
Since the opening of Dominion Energy Center and Altria Theater, RPAA has expanded the BrightLights Education Initiatives and increased support for local artists and arts organizations, with a special focus on the venues’ Resident Companies.
Through funding to make performance spaces accessible, training and employment opportunities for Teaching Artists, inclusive arts education programs, and advocacy for the sector, RPAA is the core support organization for the performing arts in the Richmond region.
To date, RPAA has served nearly 3.5 million patrons and engaged over 48,000 students, teachers and families with an investment of more than $4 million in arts education for the region.
Please see our 2022-27 Strategic Plan for more information about our current goals and strategies to be a Champion for the Performing Arts.