Richard M. Parison, Jr. joins the team!The HeART of Hampton is part of Hampton Arts’ mission to advance the arts and enhance the quality of life for all City of Hampton and Coastal Virginia residents and visitors by providing engaging performing and visual arts experiences — now through accessible online content.

In our weekly live episodes of The HeART of Hampton, we'll catch up with artists and industry insiders from around the world and around the corner. You'll also find fun and informative interviews and demonstrations with artists from the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center.

Take a look below, share with friends & family and join us LIVE!

Richard M. Parison, Jr.

Artistic Director

Hampton Arts

The HeART of Hampton

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 1

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 1
Thursday, April 23 at 12pm


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Join us LIVE this Thursday at noon for the first installment of our new Virtual Arts Series, The HeART of Hampton! In this premiere episode, Artistic Director Richard Parison, will catch up with Hugh Copeland, Founder and Artist Director of the Hurrah Players; Steve Brindle, Music Director for the Hampton Roads Philharmonic; and Evon Dior Michelle, Drag Queen Extraordinaire! Join us as we look across Hampton Roads to see what our artists and art organizations are doing now to prepare for next season. You may be in for a few surprises, too!

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 2

The HeART of Hampton, Episode 2
Thursday, April 30 | 12pm

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In this second episode of The HeART of Hampton, we catch up with American actor, comedian and director Frank Ferrante; well-known for his beloved stage portrayals of the legendary American comedian Groucho Marx in the internationally touring play Groucho: A Life in Revue. We’ll also talk to Norfolk-based jazz vocalist Liz Terrell about how she’s celebrating International Jazz Day at home and her would-be plans for her Hampton Jazz Festival debut. Then, Chesapeake-based visual artists Cliff and Cindy Guard talk about their latest projects in their respective mediums; woodturning and painting.

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 3

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 3
Thursday, May 7 | 7pm


Join us for a special evening edition of The HeART of Hampton this Thursday at 7pm! In this third episode, we talk to Coastal Virginia's favorite time-hopping 80's band, The Deloreans! Since 2007, the band has been drawing crowds all over the East Coast with a playlist topping 10 hours and have become known for their dynamic costumes, unstoppable energy, and incredible talent.

We'll also catch up with internationally acclaimed soul, gospel and jazz vocalist Queen Esther Marrow. The Newport News native has performed with such musical legends as Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Thelonious Monk. She has also had the honor of performing for numerous former U.S. Presidents, The British Royal Family, and Pope John Paul II. No stranger to The American Theatre stage, Marrow reflects on her incredible journey in the music industry and what's in store for the future. 

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 4

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 4
Thursday, May 14 | 12pm

In this episode of The HeART of Hampton, we talk to Master Puppeteer Heidi Rugg, the Founder and Director of the nationally touring Barefoot Puppet Theatre. Rugg works alongside her husband to produce family-friendly puppet shows with their company, which have become a favorite at The American Theatre.

We'll also catch up with Virginia's "triple threat talent," Desiree Roots. No stranger to the American Theatre stage, Roots has garnered high praise with her extensive resume of stage performances throughout Virginia. She has also shared the staged with such musical icons as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Art Porter, and Gerald Albright.

Then we chat jazz with local jazz drummer, composer, music educator, and radio personality Jae Sinnett. The host of WHRV’s Sinnett in Session, Jae is also a prolific composer, arranger, and musician. Since 1986 he has produced 15 albums and has performed with such highly-regarded jazz artists as Branford and Ellis Marsalis, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Chuck Mangione, and Charlie Byrd.

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 5

​​​​​The HeART of Hampton: Episode 5 
Thursday, May 21 | 12pm



In this episode of The HeART of Hampton, we talk to the Simply Panache Groupe, a Hampton-based lifestyle and entrepreneurial group that pitched their delectable mango preserves on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2013. After that appearance, they received 15,000 orders for their gourmet mango preserve in just 48 hours! Fast forward to now, and the Simply Panache Groupe has expanded its portfolio to include a handful of Hampton’s favorite small businesses, such as Mango Mangeaux: A Simply Panache Bistro, which we’re proud to call a Premier Restaurant Partner.

Also in this episode, we’re excited to be joined by a very special guest -- Billboard-topping singer, songwriter, and pianist Avery*Sunshine! Having sold out each of her performances at The American Theatre, Avery is a luminous personality with an equally vibrant talent. We look forward to welcoming Avery back, this time online, to chat about what’s going on in her world!

For years Avery has captivated worldwide audiences with her riveting stage performances, candid and often humorous banter, and optimistic anthems about life. Self-described as “a cross between Bette Midler and Oprah Winfrey,” her distinct sound and far-reaching presence have graced some of the world’s greatest venues, including Madison Square Garden and Smokey Robinson’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tribute.

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 6

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 6 
Thursday, May 28 | 12pm


In this episode of The HeART of Hampton, we talk to Hampton History Museum curator Allen Hoilman about how he and his team are staying busy bringing the history of Hampton alive and online!

Through their engaging educational videos, like “Clips with the Curator,” Hoilman and the Hampton History Museum team are feeding our minds and taking us through time with fascinating historical insight.

Their current exhibit, “Hampton One: Working, Building, and Racing on the Water” takes viewers through an artifact-rich exploration of the locally produced Hampton One-Design sailboat and the competitive sailing culture that grew out of it.  

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 7

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 7 
Thursday, June 4 | 12pm


In this episode of The HeART of Hampton, we get a taste of the 4th Annual Coastal Virginia Bluegrass & Brew Festival! Joining us in the artistic living room will be Richmond’s favorite folk-infused indie rock band, Carbon Leaf. The group has been performing since the early 90s, and is best known for the song "Life Less Ordinary", which debuted in 2004 and reached #5 on Billboard's Adult Alternative charts. Then we see what’s new with a few of the Peninsula’s best breweries as we chat with owners and operators of St. George Brewery, Capstan Bar Brewing, Bull Island Brewing, and Oozlefinch Beers & Blending. 

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 8

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 8
Thursday, June 11 | 12pm


In this episode of The HeART of Hampton, we start with a word from Hampton City Mayor Donnie Tuck about reopening the Commonwealth and the City of Hampton, building an engaged and inclusive community, and initiatives that address cultural and racial biases.

Then we’ll talk to Diana Blanchard Gross, Curator for the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. An affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, PFAC hosts several major exhibitions a year, presents classes for students of all ages at its Studio Art School, offers online distance-learning programs, and hosts special events including curator talks, poetry readings and art-movie screenings. 

We’ll also check in with two artists who frequently exhibit at the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center. Sandra Alderman works heavily with encaustics, a technique that dates back to 5th century BC. Using molten beeswax, resin, pigment and a torch, Alderman creates highly dynamic pieces influenced by nature and human connection.  Morgan Gilbreath, whose solo exhibition was to be held in conjunction with the Materials exhibition this spring, is a nationally-exhibiting glass and mixed-media installation artist whose work investigates the intersections between religion, history, and contemporary communities. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Glass, a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, and a Certificate in Community Arts from Tyler School of Art (Temple University) in Philadelphia, PA.

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 9 (Artists Who Teach 2020 Exhibition Awards Ceremony)

Special Episode

Artists Who Teach 2020
Exhibition Awards Ceremony: Home Edition
Tuesday, June 16 | 7pm


Hampton Arts is excited to invite you to the Artists Who Teach 2020 Exhibition Award Ceremony: Home Edition! We’ll announce this year’s winners LIVE on the Visual Arts Center’s Facebook page in a special episode of our online conversation series, The HeART of Hampton, on June 16 at 7:00 p.m.

This year’s exhibition includes 67 artworks in a range of mediums including photography, painting, ceramics, and glass to name a few. Featured awards are the David J. Levinson Best in Show Award ($1,000) and First ($500), Second ($250), and Third ($100) Place awards. Artist and educator Clay McGlamory juried this exhibition and chose some beautiful and powerful artworks that have come together to make an amazing exhibit. Please join us as we virtually tour the exhibit and hear comments from Clay about his selections.

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 10

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 10
Thursday, June 18 | 12pm


This episode of The HeART of Hampton welcomes artists who couldn’t make it to The American Theatre at the end of the 19-20 season due to the outbreak of Covid-19. We invited a few of them to join us in the artistic living room to see how they’ve been holding up through quarantine.

10,000 Maniacs, who would have performed this past March, have been entertaining fans for nearly 40 years with their “proudly eclectic” style, and today tours with a six-piece lineup that’s sure to have audiences on their feet.  From their early beginnings in Jamestown, New York, to sold-out concerts around the world, 10,000 Maniacs have always found inspiration just outside of the mainstream with songs like “These Are Days,” “Because the Night,” and “More Than This.”

Ed Asner, primarily known for his role as Lou Grant on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and it’s spin-off series Lou Grant, as well as roles in 2003’s Elf and 2009’s Up, would have performed this past April in his touring production God Help Us! Inspired by today’s headlines, God Help Us! is a hilarious, unifying and thought-provoking snapshot of the current partisan landscape which dives into the epicenter of today’s polarizing politics.

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 11

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 11
Thursday, June 25 | 12pm


In this episode of The HeART of Hampton, living history performance group Blackbeard’s Crew joins us in the artistic living room. The non-profit group is dedicated to the accurate representation of seafaring life during the “Golden Age of Piracy.” They’ll fill us in on how they’ve been dealing with being landlocked, and what voyages are ahead after quarantine. Then, we catch up with Sly Clyde Ciderworks and The Grey Goose restaurant to see how they’re preparing to welcome guests back to the tasting and dining room.

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 12

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 12
Thursday, July 30 | 7pm



We've brought you performing arts, visual arts, and NOW we're adding culinary arts to the menu! In this episode of The HeART of Hampton, we talk to the driving forces at two of our Premier Restaurant Partners, The Point at Phoebus and Stuft.

The Point at Phoebus opened its doors in 2013 and is a convenient walk down Mellen Street from The American Theatre. Managing Partner Ray Graham is a second-generation chef who hand-crafts menus for each season. With more than 20 years of experience in the food industry, Ray sources local seafood to deliver fan favorites including Crab Cakes and Shrimp & Grits to the quaint atmosphere of The Point.

Stuft, which evolved from a food truck to a brick and mortar operation on Mallory Street, has been around since 2011. Known for their Haas sauce, co-founder Casey Haas has worked with his brother and best friend to create a local hangout with a full bar and live music. The Buckroe native doesn't like to stick to a typical Mexican-only menu, so you'll find out-of-the-box concoctions that err on the side of Asian fusion including menu items like General Tso's burrito and Bulgogi eggrolls, not to mention atypical offerings like the Walking Taco which incorporates the makings of a Taco into a Doritos bag.

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 13

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 13
Thursday, August 6 | 7pm


In this GROOVIN' BY THE BAY episode of The HeART of Hampton, we welcome local musicians who have performed at Hampton’s famous Groovin’ by the Bay.

Usually held Sunday evenings from Memorial Day to Labor Day at Buckroe Beach Pavilion or Mill Point Park, the series has become a local favorite for live music in an outdoor setting. The series has been cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus, so Hampton Arts has invited some of the series’ past performers for a chat and a tune.

Joining us in the artistic living room is The Fuzz Band’s K’Bana Blaq, Myra Smith of The Myra Smith Experience, and Danny Morgan of The Janitors. Don’t miss this groovin’ new episode of The HeART of Hampton!

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The HeART of Hampton: Episode 14

The HeART of Hampton: Episode 14
Thursday, August 13 | 7pm


This next episode of The HeART of Hampton will have you in stitches! Don’t miss this hilarious episode as we invite the creative minds behind Push Comedy Theater for a laugh or two in the artistic living room. Founded by local comedy group The Pushers, the Push Comedy Theater is a 90 seat venue based in Norfolk’s NEON Arts District that hosts live sketch, improv and stand-up comedy performances, as well as comedy classes.

Also treating us to a chuckle is Newport News native Farah (Cocoa) Brown. Brown has performed in a variety of comedy stage shows including BET’s ComicView and One Mic Stand, and Showtime at the Apollo. She boasts a litany of acting credits for such titles as Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, ER, Breaking Bad, and 9-1-1.

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