Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts

  • MD


155 Gibbs Street
Suite 300
United States

About Us

From our humble beginnings in 1987 in an former auto-repair garage to our new beautiful, light filled space in Rockville Town Center, VisArts (formerly Rockville Arts Place) has been engaging artists and art lovers alike; recognizing that the visual arts are a catalyst for enriching our lives and improving the cultural life of our community.

At VisArts we envision a destination that celebrates the visual arts, entices art novices to explore, challenges working artists and educates all who enter. VisArts sustains its educational classes, operations and exhibition programs through the support of grants, corporate giving, fees and most importantly, through the generous support of our members.

We know that art changes lives- we hear about it from our former students who tell us that finding an outlet for their creative impulses and the support that they received from our instructors revealed their life's path. VisArts has been the incubator for numerous young people who are succeeding in art schools around the world and credit their experiences here at VisArts as a large part of that success.

We know that art empowers people- we see that in the faces of the students who participate in our many inclusive arts programs. Most of us take for granted that our lives are shaped by our choices but for many of our special students choices are something that they don't have. It is a gratifying and thrilling experience to see our students make choices- even if the choice is about what medium to work in on a particular day or the color of paint or glaze they will use. While they are at VisArts, they control their world and the art they make inspires all of us. We see the affect that art can have when we work with middle school children as they seek to express their feelings about being "different" because they are adopted. Art gives voice to emotions in ways that words fail.

VisArts believes that now, more than ever, art education and art experiences for children is critically important. With cuts in funding for school arts programming and more and more emphasis on testing, children lack the opportunities to explore their creative thoughts and dreams. The expression of our artistic impulses cannot be judged right or wrong and for many of our students, VisArts represents a safe place to dream, create and behold.

VisArts also provides affordable studio space for many of the best artists working in our area. Visitors to our building can see jewelers, painters, illustrators, metal workers, fiber and glass artists working in their studios. Our resident artists are an important part of our organization; they are the link between arts education and art as a vocation. Many of our resident artists teach classes, run workshops and participate in our numerous community outreach programs.

Of course, a visual arts center can't really call itself an art center without a gallery and VisArts has three distinct galleries- each with its own "flavor". Our beautiful Kaplan gallery hosts artists who have already made or or are beginning to make their mark in the art world. Our Common Ground gallery features the work of local artists and our first floor Gibbs Street Gallery will be featuring emerging and cutting edge exhibitions.

2012 will mark the twenty fifth anniversary of VisArts and we are looking forward to a year of celebrating the "long and winding road" that has brought us to this moment. As we contemplate our past and look forward to our future, we hope that you will join us as we seek to bring art to everyone who longs for a little beauty and imagination in their lives.