The Arts Center produces visual and performing arts programming with an emphasis on art education for all ages. Through exhibitions, community theatre, classes, and special events, the Center offers a wide variety of programming to achieve this goal. The Arts Center is a division of the City of Rocky Mount Parks & Recreation Department.
The Rocky Mount Arts Center developed from the initial efforts of area individuals, who, in 1957, felt that the community needed a place to learn, practice, and exhibit art forms. This group attracted sufficient support to appoint a board of advisers to assist in the operation of a fledgling arts center. The project grew and attracted enough public attention that the City of Rocky Mount Director of Recreation offered her department’s assistance in the form of modest financial aid and later, a permanent home for the Arts Center. The City purchased an abandoned Atlantic Coast Line Railroad water tank and pump house and an ingenious renovation program was begun. The water tank was converted to three floors housing a gallery, offices, theatre, and classroom space. The pump house was used as a studio for classes. Planned as a three-stage construction, the first floor was completed in 1963 and on May 25 of that year, the tank opened as a permanent home of the Rocky Mount Arts Center.