Virginia contains many outstanding examples of colonial and Southern architecture. The Wren Building on the campus of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg carries the name of the famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren, who may have influenced its design. George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon influenced later Southern colonial mansions. Thomas Jefferson fostered the Neoclassical style of architecture that became popular in the early 1800s. His home, Monticello, is one of the many beautiful examples found in Virginia. Jefferson also designed the Classical Revival-style State Capitol building at Richmond, his octagonal Poplar Forest retreat near Lynchburg, and the Rotunda and many other buildings at the University of Virginia. Many of the James River Plantation mansions feature the Georgian style. Richmond’s Fan District is a tree-lined area of Greek Revival and Victorian homes. The Pope-Leighey House in Fairfax is a cypress Usonian home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Colonial records show a continuous history of amateur and professional entertainment in Virginia’s settlements. The first theater in America was built in Williamsburg in 1716. In the mid-19th century, Richmond regained its former importance as a drama center, attracting great actors who spent their winter seasons there.
The Barter Theatre, at Abingdon, is unique in the United States. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, actors gave performances there in exchange for food, and the bartering arrangement gave the theater its name. Later, state funds were appropriated to support the Barter, and it became the official state theater.
Today it presents three distinct programs of live theater—traditional, explorative, and for young audiences.
George Mason University’s 2,000-seat Center for the Arts offers dance, theater, and symphonies for its northern Virginia audiences.
Virginia’s folk music dates back to its earliest settlement, and centuries-old English ballads have survived in isolated pockets of the southwestern hill country. The ballad tradition of the hill people has been celebrated at White Top Mountain folk festivals and has appeared in major folklore collections. The music of the Appalachian hill people also evolved into bluegrass. Bristol, on the Virginia-Tennessee border, was an important location in the development of bluegrass and the style of music achieved nationwide recognition after a series of bluegrass festivals held near Roanoke in the 1960s. Southwest Virginia also lies near the heart of the region known for country music. The folk music of the Tidewater is composed chiefly of black spirituals and work songs. The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna holds a summer music and theater festival. "Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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