Second Street Gallery is committed to offering Charlottesville and the central Virginia region leading-edge new art in perspective and context, and to fostering an active and open appreciation of this art by directly engaging the issues surrounding works by the best contemporary artists in the field.
SSG's primary mission is to enliven Virginia through access to the best in contemporary art and artists and to inspire new ways of thinking, seeing, and doing. To this end, SSG promotes contemporary artists through the presentation of their work in a professional gallery and encourages an appreciation of contemporary art and culture by educating the public through exhibitions, lectures, workshops, classes, tours, and publications.
Founded in 1973, Second Street Gallery is the oldest nonprofit (501(c)3) contemporary artspace in Central Virginia. Established by a group of ten artists affiliated with the University of Virginia and the local community (Linda Kennard, Eugene Markowski, Paul Martick, Christopher Morris, Timothy Morris, Lindsay Nolting, Priscilla Rappolt, George Roland, Rick Rosenblum, and Emily Wheeler), SSG was the first art space in Downtown Charlottesville and a leader in the revitalization of the Historic District. It is now located inside the City Center for Contemporary Arts building designed by Bushman-Dreyfus Architects. Completed in 2003, the CCCA also houses two other non-profit groups, Live Arts (a community theater) and Light House (a youth media organization).
Since its incorporation in 1978, SSG has been governed by a volunteer Board of Directors (12-20 individuals) and managed by a paid staff.
SSG presents 10-14 separate exhibitions each year. The openings are a part of the citywide First Fridays celebration in which many local art organizations participate each month. In addition, SSG presents a full calendar of related educational and outreach activities that complement its exhibition season. The gallery is supported by memberships, donations from the local community, and grants from foundations and the state.