A Brief History
Mrs. Armstrong conveyed in trust, the land and building to be known as The Charles H. Taylor Memorial Library “for the use and benefits of the residents of Elizabeth City County, including the City of Hampton, and the incorporated towns and communities within said county.”
The Library was built as a memorial to Mrs. Armstrong’s father, General Charles H. Taylor who was the Founder and the Managing Editor of The Boston Globe newspaper for many many years. The design of the building is neo-classical and is said to be modeled after a particular favorite of Grace Taylor Armstrong — the Courthouse in Elizabeth City County.
The Charles H.Taylor Memorial Library served the City of Hampton well for more than 60 years. In 1987, the building was closed when the City built and opened the much larger Hampton Public Library right next door.
After careful renovation and restoration, the historic building reopened in January 1989 as The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center. It is still owned by the Board of Trustees of Mrs. Armstrong’s estate and leased back to the City of Hampton to be operated by the Hampton Arts Commission.
In celebration of its 80th anniversary, The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center underwent more extensive upgrades and renovations in the Summer of 2005. With the appointment of renowned artist and curator James Warwick Jones as Gallery Manager, the Arts Center has become once again a vibrant and dynamic leader in the community.
The Armstrong Galleries comprise the original part of the building and they are, of course, named in honor of the donor. The Chapman Gallery is named in honor of Harold and Elizabeth Chapman who were, for many years, leading influences on the artistic and cultural life of Hampton and the Virginia Peninsula. The second floor of the historic building now houses new gallery space for the Art Center’s permanent collections as well as studio space for an ever expanding program of classes, lectures and workshops for students of all ages.
The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center hosts a series of changing exhibitions throughout the year. Many of the area’s leading arts organization partner with the Hampton Arts Commission in the presentation of annual exhibitions.
The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center is open to the public, free of charge.
4205 Victoria Boulevard Hampton, Virginia 23669
Gallery Hours are:
Tuesday-Friday:10am–6pm and Weekends:1pm–5pm. Closed Mondays.
For more information, call 757-727-1490