The Center

The Center, home to Arts of the Albemarle, is located in the beautifully renovated historical Lowry-Chesson Building, a flagship department store and cornerstone of commerce for downtown Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when constructed in 1895. The Center is now a world-class arts facility resulting from the community’s $4 million preservation campaign. The Center houses The Jaquelin Jenkins Gallery, The Maguire Theatre and the School of the Arts.

The Jaquelin Jenkins Gallery is a home to over 250 artists, craftsmen and photographers. In addition to the retail gallery, The Center hosts special exhibits of local and nationally known artists.

The Maguire Theatre is original to the Lowry-Chesson Building and has been restored as a intimate, state-of-the-art 250 seat perfomance space. The Maguire also hosts local, regional and national acts, many of which offer outreach residencies to schools in our service area. Innovative design of the theatre makes possible a wide range of events, from seated perfomances to cabaret-type events to private receptions. The Maguire Theatre is also home to AOA’s Center Players, an integrated performing arts program. The Center Players provides intense instruction to over 40 children ages 8-18 who learn dance, drama and music. Scholarships are offered for this after school program.


The School of the Arts offers instruction and performance opportunities for elementary, middle and high school students throughout the school year.  During the summer, camps offer learning opportunities with instruction in art, music and drama.