GEAR Fine and Performing Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with over two decades of service to the Cape Charles and lower Northampton County community on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Virginia. Our mission is to provide fine and performing arts education and programming to our community.
Formerly Arts Enter Cape Charles, GEAR Fine and Performing Arts began as a dream, when Clelia Sheppard and a small group of art enthusiasts formed the non-profit. Under the direction of London-born actress and playwright, Sheila Mullin Cardano, Arts Enters' theatre season flourished with memorable productions such as Magia and Piece of Eden. The Historic Palace Theatre, located in the heart of our coastal, victorian railroad town and in a state of disrepair, was purchased by the non-profit in 1998 and the arduous task of restoration began. The Stage Door Gallery opened in 2007, the only art gallery in Cape Charles at the time.
With an ever-expanding classroom, Arts Enter partnered with local public schools thanks to the 21st Century and No Child Left Behind grants; later rograms developed at the Cape Charles Christian School. Local students came by the busloads for private, day-time performances as much anticipated field trips, nurturing new artists and art appreciators.
A pivotal moment in Arts Enter history was the prestigious Our Town grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, from which emerged the Harbor for the Arts Festival and Experimental Film Virginia.
In 2015, Executive Director Clelia Sheppard and Co-Director Mary Ann Roehm handed over the baton of managing Arts Enter, which continued for three more years under various managers. In early 2018, arriving at a crossroads amidst high maintenance costs and waning funding, Arts Enter's board handed the baton yet again. The non-profit has been renamed GEAR Fine and Performing Arts, and works closely with a sister non-profit, Global Exchange Arts Roundtable (GEAR), which houses Experimental Film Virginia.
We believe that the arts transform lives. In fact, we have seen it.
We are dedicated to providing fine and performing arts education and programming in our community, at both the Historic Palace Theatre and the Lemon Tree Gallery.
We work so that every member of our community has access to the inspiration of the arts, whether as a performer, creator, or appreciator.