Events at the Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center


The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center events and activities include First Weekend activities. First Friday and Saturday Activities are Free and open to the public from March to October.

First Saturday activities typically feature guest artists and live craft demonstrations.

For more events and activities happening in Portsmouth, please visit


October 20 - 23


The Children’s Museum of Virginia | Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center | Lightship Portsmouth


Get ready for a new fall experience at the Portsmouth Museums, as we celebrate October. The museums will be celebrating Halloween and the fall through a series of events lasting a full weekend in Portsmouth. Families, children and adults can all enjoy events that include storytelling, costume contests, horror story readings, trick or treating and more!

Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, zombies and a host of other creepy characters come to life on Friday, October 20th from 7-9 p.m. as the Portsmouth Museums present If Tombstones Could Talk at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center as the kickoff to its Halloweekend fun. Hear nationally acclaimed storyteller Sheila Arnold Jones and other award winning artists perform a scary-oriented concert. Enjoy hot apple cider and festive foods as you listen to these tellers spin yarns about a host of characters from beyond the grave to give audiences a thrilling, chilling, hair raising, hay-bail clenching experience that is not for the faint of heart. It’s a fire side chat for PG audiences and above that will have you jumping out of your skin!

On Saturday, October 21st from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the traditional Museum Madness, families will be able to participate in a scavenger hunt around the exhibits while they discover Halloween, and participate in activities hosted by other museums in the area at the Children’s Museum of Virginia. Crafts such as pumpkin decorating, black light art, and face painting will also be available. At 2:30 p.m., join the museum in a "monster mash" parade around the museum to spooky music, and participate in "trick or treating" inside the museum. Costumes are encouraged!

If you are an adult who enjoys horror stories, come visit us for Fright Flight event at the Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center on Saturday evening, October 21st at 7 p.m. in the Annex behind the Museum Shop. Join five horror story authors as they read original short stories with a hint of drama. This event is in its fourth year at the museum, and our readers include some internationally published, award-winning authors. Light refreshments will be served and a Q & A session will occur after the readings with the authors. This free event is geared to an adult audience and open to the public.

To finish our weekend of scares, join us on Sunday, October 22nd for The Mystery of the Lightship at the Lightship Portsmouth from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. where you can help solve the mystery. Since LV-101 turned 101 years old this year we discovered a few creepy sounds and experiences have occurred on our ship. See if you can solve the mystery of what causes the ship to go bump in the night during this family-friendly scavenger hunt. What do you think has caused items to disappear? Is the lighthouse haunted? That is up to you!

New Year’s Eve Bash:

Countdown to Noon

Sunday, December 31st Time: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

There is no better place to bring in the New Year than at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center’s Countdown to Noon, with a glittery ball drop and toast to the New Year and a toast to the New Year. Face-painting, magic and balloon-making will take place prior to the countdown along with a photo-booth and other activities. After the "Noon Year" has arrived, kids can create their own fireworks by walking on the "carpet of bubbles" that pops underfoot. Families will enjoy all of these New Year’s festivities, along with wagon rides, before bedtime.

Copyright 2017 City of Portsmouth, VA
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400 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704 · 757-393-8543
Mailing Address: 521 Middle Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, housed in the 1846 Courthouse, is devoted to offering quality educational, cultural and aesthetic experiences in the arts through rotating visual art exhibits, lectures, classes and performances.