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The Ella Fitzgerald Theater

The core of the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center is the Ella Fitzgerald Theater, a 276-seat venue named for the “first lady of song.”

Ella Fitzgerald, the Queen of Jazz, was born in Newport News in 1917. Her 60 year career saw her winning 14 Grammy awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and had her working with other famous jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

The theater hosts events year-round. For more on the events and ticket information, click the link below.

downing-gross cultural arts center

The Center houses several event spaces and small/large group gathering rooms that are available for event rentals. While the building primarily functions as an event venue, several exhibits are open during normal business hours, including our permanent exhibit, the Anderson Johnson Gallery, and the Newport News Community Gallery which features rotating exhibits by various local and national visual artists.

The facility also hosts instructional spaces, including the Thaddeus Hayes Dance Studio, an art studio, a music room, and other classroom studio spaces. 

Newport News Arts Commission

The Newport News Arts Commission (NNAC) provides support for arts and cultural activities within the City of Newport News, and activities within Greater Hampton Roads, that serve the City’s residents. This support takes the form of General Operating Support Grants and Special Project Grants. Each year the NNAC supports Arts Advocacy Day at the Virginia General Assembly. The NNAC provides funding recommendations to the City Council following the conclusion of the grant application process each July. The Newport News Arts Commission is a member of Virginians for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads.

Cultural arts center

2410 Wickham Ave, Newport News, VA 23607

(757) 247-8950