The Arts Place of Stokes in Danbury.

Even cosmopolitan residents of the City of Arts and Innovation feel a need to escape their city limits from time to time, and refresh themselves with some of the natural and cultural resources that can be found close by — especially as the summertime temperature and humidity rise toward the muggy range.

It’s hard to beat a trip to Pilot Mountain or Hanging Rock state parks to the north for that natural element. Less well known but just as deserving is The Arts Place of Danbury, a storehouse of artistry.

Renovated largely from a former bank on the main drag in Danbury, The Arts Place is comprised of a 6,600-square-foot multipurpose space that includes a 150-seat theater. It also houses an art gallery, a gift shop, a coffee shop, a prep kitchen and a loft where artists-in-residence can work. It offers classes in crafts like ceramics and quilting. About 100 area artists are represented in the gift shop, including glass artists, potters and painters, the Journal’s Lisa O’Donnell reported last week.

It’s big enough to draw some national touring acts. And it keeps a full calendar of events. Within the last month, “the performance space has been host to the Stokes Early College prom, a local songwriters series, a concert by country star Suzy Bogguss, a production of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’” and a mountain music recital by local young people, the Journal reported.

It’s not only close to the state parks, but to local restaurants, an inn and other points of interest, including Moratock Park, a Stokes County park with access to the Dan River. There’s plenty to keep daytrippers occupied.

The prime mover behind The Arts Place is Eddy McGee, the executive director of the Stokes County Arts Council. He’s cobbled together its support from various sources through the years, raising money by asking for contributions from foundations and with tactics such as participating in the winter polar plunge at the lake at Hanging Rock. All in the service of art.

“This is a hidden treasure,” Stokes County resident Tim Porter told the Journal. “It’s a big thing in a small town. Growing up in Danbury, there wasn’t a place like this to come to.”

But there is now.

It’s not the only point of interest within an hour or two of Winston-Salem, but it deserves to be near the top of the list.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit the Facebook page of The Arts Place of Stokes or call 336-593-3799.

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