Arts of the Albemarle (AoA) is a regional non-profit arts council (representing Pasquotank, Gates and Camden Counties) located in Downtown Elizabeth City, North Carolina in the recently renovated historical Lowry-Chesson Building, now called The Center.  This world-class facility houses the Jaquelin Jenkins Gallery, a home to over 250 artists, craftsman and photographers, the AoA School of the Arts, a multi-discipline visual and performing arts after – school instructional program and the Maguire Theatre, a State-of-the-Art 230 Seat performance space.

Our Mission Statement

Arts of the Albemarle invites our community and visitors to experience the arts, music and culture of the region through diverse performances, exhibitions and educational programs.


I have been a member of this wonderful organization for 30 years and I’m so very proud of its availability to art in all of its forms. I had served as Secretary of the Executive Board, the Board and Secretary of the Pasquotank Arts Council’s Gallery Board for approximately 12 years, simultaneously, and enjoyed every moment. Ever Upward, could be the AOA motto, because it is forever climbing upward in its goal of nurturing the Arts in our area, and beyond ! To the Staff and Volunteers, through the years, Kudos for doing such a great job! – Verna Austin Wall

Above and beyond the most attractive and professional gallery in my experience. As new residents in Elizabeth City, we look forward to being involved in several levels. – Linda Edwards Guyer

Wonderful cultural and theatrical venue! Historical yet contemporary!!! – Laura Renwick

The character of Elizabeth City is hospitality and the arts community. The epicenter is the Arts of the Albemarle (AoA). Awesome theater, gallery, classes, functions, acting, singing and dance groups… art changed every month and always exciting to see what is new. – Geoff McNamara


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.