d'Art Center Logo


Cultivating a Vibrant Arts Hub

Founded in 1986 and modeled after the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA the d’Art Center was dedicated to providing working artists with affordable, short-term studio space. After relocating to the historic Selden Arcade in 2005, d’Art established itself as a vibrant arts hub. Following an explosion that caused significant damage, it was rejuvenated in the NEON Arts District and now resides at the Atlantic Permanent Building in Norfolk, VA. In addition to resident artist studios and multiple activity rooms, the facility features three galleries. The Main Gallery and Vault have monthly, rotating exhibitions with new and nationally curated exhibitions, and the Artist Wing displays frequently updated work from community artists. The d’Art Center’s mission is to connect the community and artists and foster an appreciation for visual art through interactive opportunities to watch, create, learn, and enjoy diverse artistic works. Since joining CaFÉ in 2015, the Center has hosted 75 calls for entry on the platform.

Large, multi-media sculpture in the center of the room exhibiting d'Art Center's Flourish exhibit.

Above: Big Leu by Taylor Allison displayed in d’Art Center’s Flourish exhibition.

Image of Deanna Strother, Social Media Coordinator & Gallery Assistant, Amanda Bradley, Gallery Director, and Cheyenne Moore, Programs & Administrative Coordinator.

Leveraging CaFÉ to Foster Artistic Connections

As the gallery director for the d’Art Center for seven years, Amanda Bradley oversees all creative components, including curating national and local exhibitions, managing relationships with artists, and coordinating art sales, among many others. As the only full-time staff member on a tiny team, Bradley leans into CaFÉ to present up to nine national juried exhibitions annually. “CaFÉ’s ability to streamline the submissions and the massive amount of information for each show is imperative,” she said. “I would not be able to do it all myself.”

Bradley expertly takes advantage of all that CaFÉ has to offer, such as marketing open calls using its Promotional E-Blast service. “[CaFÉ’s] marketing/user base is far superior to any other call platform I’ve come across,” said Bradley. “It helps artists stay in the loop of what exhibits might be a good fit for their work by marketing what is pertinent to them.” By frequently posting opportunities on CaFÉ, d’Art can build relationships with artists nationwide. There’s even a group of artists who consistently submit to The Center’s calls and exhibit their work. “I fondly call them ‘Serial Submitters,’” Bradley mentioned. “These relationships are truly rewarding, and I know that without CaFÉ, I would not have this quantity of returning artists.” Many of these “Serial Submitters” also become Remote Associate Artists (which allows them to rent an onsite sales space) or exhibit solo shows.

Left: Deanna Strother, Social Media Coordinator & Gallery Assistant (Left), Amanda Bradley, Gallery Director (Middle), and Cheyenne Moore, Programs & Administrative Coordinator (Right).

Shining the Spotlight on Underrepresented Artists

Over the years, the d’Art Center has curated several exhibitions to spotlight underrepresented groups and important social themes. From 2019 to 2023, the national all-women’s art exhibition, Persistence, celebrated Women’s History Month every March. In 2018, the juried exhibition Soulful featured African American artists. The 2019 exhibition Strive highlighted the narratives of American immigration and the American Dream, and for several years hosted In Pursuit, a juried show exclusively for Virginia college students pursuing art degrees. Additionally, in 2020 (following the COVID-19 pandemic) and 2022, the Center put on an exhibit called Divulge to highlight the use of art for therapy and mental health awareness. These initiatives underscore the organization’s dedication to promoting inclusivity across race, gender, and educational levels.

Explore d’Art’s current and past exhibitions.

Right: Maybe I Can’t Tell You… by Judi Krew displayed in d’Art Center’s Divulge exhibition.

Sculpture titled

Moving Forward as a One-Woman Show

As the d’Art Center continues to thrive, Bradley looks forward to opening calls for group shows in its smaller and more intimate exhibit space, The Vault, a 132-square-foot exhibition space in an actual historical bank vault. Yet, these exhibits are only possible with CaFÉ and Bradley’s streamlined processes. “Organizing our exhibits at d’Art is a one-woman show,” she said. “I could not make it happen without the CaFÉ service.”


Right: Entrance to The Vault, d’Art Center’s exhibition space.

All photos courtesy of the d’Art Center.

Image of the entrance to d'Art Center's vault exhibition space