The New Louisa Town Hall complex, situated at the corner of Fredericksburg Avenue and School Street, stands as the centerpiece of the town’s downtown revitalization efforts. This modern site serves as a destination not only for local government, but also for recreation and culture. A major part of the new development is the Louisa Arts Center, which is operated under the auspices of the Louisa Downtown Development Corporation (LDDC). This state-of-the-art cultural resource is an exceptional addition to the community’s cultural landscape.
The facility, now home to the New Town Hall complex, was developed within the old Louisa High School-Louisa Grade School, a local landmark that underwent major restoration and expansion in recent years. The original one-story school structure was built in 1907 and continued to grow alongside the community. Between 1910 and 1921, second-floor space and an auditorium/theatre were added. The school closed in 1987 and remained vacant for the next 15 years.
As the years passed, the Town of Louisa found itself bursting at the seams within its headquarters along Main Street. Hoping to relocate to a larger space, the Town looked to the 12.4-acre site, which housed the historic school structure. The property was assessed and was ultimately purchased by the Town of Louisa in 2002. Renovations on the municipal portion were finished in mid-2006, followed by the completion of the Arts Center in 2008.
The Cooke-Haley Theatre is a 200-seat facility that opened its doors on August 15, 2008. The theatre houses numerous programs and events, including concerts, recitals, feature films and dance, drama and comedy performances. Its inaugural season began with a “Celebrating American Music” theme, with performances by the Virginia Opera, Robert Jospe and Inner Rhythm, Robin and Linda Williams and the Virginia Handbell Consort.
The 1,600-square-foot Purcell Gallery serves as the main entrance to the Cooke-Haley Theatre. The space features local artists’ works, including painting, stoneware, sculpting, photography and other art forms, which are viewed and available for purchase during various juried art shows. The Gallery also plays host to the monthly Concert in the Gallery Series and Spotlight Speaker Series.
The Louisa Arts Center also offers the Art Education Center, the second-floor wing that offers a range of art-oriented classes and workshops throughout the year. The Art Education Center, Purcell Gallery, Cooke-Haley Theatre, as well as the Town Hall Corporate Meeting Room and the Executive Conference Room, are all available for rental. For more information on the Louisa Arts Center, call (540) 967-2200/(877) 774-ARTS or go online at louisaarts.org.