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Cultural Resources

The past, present and future role of the arts community in Shepherdstown was a frequent topic that was addressed during the planning process. The presence of a large arts community in the area was cited as a potential source for reinvigorating the once significant presence of the visual arts as a part of the Town’s economy, particularly downtown. It was observed that as the visual arts community grew, it led to new businesses that catered to tourists. This led to increased rents which in turn led artists and their galleries to leave town. As a way to combat this cycle, and to provide a more sustainable model for future growth, several paths forward emerged, including the establishment of an “artists’ colony” using underutilized structures along the rail corridor, as well as better integration into the overall downtown business community rather than attempting to revive the single purpose gallery spaces that once existed.

The greater role played today by the performing arts was cited as having significant economic potential for the Town. The Contemporary American Theater Festival, and the tourism potential generated by this event provides the Town with a unique event that many feel can be better integrated into the Town’s marketing to draw tourists and spin-off further economic opportunities. While relegated primarily to the campus of Shepherd University, the festival has a significant impact on the community, and better coordination between local businesses and the festival was often cited as being necessary to realize the full potential of this event. Other arts and cultural related topics discussed during the process included the potential that was associated with the Opera House, ongoing talks to bring the National Symphony to town for performances, the need to better promote the historic architectural resources in town, and the potential for integrating regional arts organizations to take advantage of economies of scale.

The Town recognizes the value of its arts and cultural resources and understands the relationship of a sustainable and successful arts and cultural atmosphere to the overall quality of life and vibrancy those resources bring to the community from an economic and social perspective.


On the page that follows, a brief list of the Shepherdstown and greater Shepherdstown festivals, events and attractions.

Theater & Film Festivals & Events

General Festivals & Events

Arts and Cultural Resources

Additional Area Attractions