Cultural Arts in New Bern, NC

Lovers of art, theater, music and other cultural arts are one of New Bern, NC's most thriving communities. It's not uncommon to see artists in historic downtown New Bern painting in plein air, picking guitars or selling handmade crafts at the New Bern Farmer's Market each Saturday morning. In addition to numerous art galleries, craft classes and shops, New Bern offers theatrical riches like the town's ARTWALK and smaller theatre troupes that perform nearly every weekend.

One of the most well known arts centers in New Bern is the Craven Arts Council’s Bank of the Arts. Usually located on Middle Street in historic downtown New Bern, recent renovations and the installation of a skylight have temporarily moved the council’s shows and exhibits to the Duffy Gallery in the North Carolina History Center. Several other arts centers include handmade jewelry, paintings and folk art of a local, regional and contemporary variety. Carolina Creations on Pollock Street offers an eclectic selection of fine art and contemporary crafts from more than 250 artists. Also located on Pollock Street, New Bern Artworks and Weavers Webb Gallery give artists and shoppers a single theme in their stores revolving around a box and knitting, respectively. 

Looking for a more hands-on approach? The Accidental Artist lets adults and children choose from countless works of pottery and then paint them to create a unique gift – right there in the studio. You can also book studio space for workshops, lessons and private parties. 

Several performances of classical music, jazz and Americana are held in New Bern each year, thanks to help from organizations like the North Carolina Symphony, the Tryon Palace Performing Arts Series, the Down East FolkArts Society, the Carolina Chamber Music Festival and the Jazz Preservation Society of New Bern. North Carolina’s Symphony holds two concerts in New Bern each year, one ticketed affair at the Riverfront Convention Center and a free concert on the lawn at Tryon Palace. Americana music is usually the theme for the DownEast FolkArts Society’s regular concerts at the Trent River Coffee Company on Craven Street and the New Bern Jazz and Blues Festival brings nationally-acclaimed performers to New Bern every April. 

Despite 2013 being the first year in nearly two decades that the Shakespeare Festival won’t be in New Bern, this historic, artsy town continues to have a thriving theatre scene. The New Bern Civic Theatre on Pollock Street is known for mixing up performances with everything from musicals and drama to Christmas concerts. The Rivertowne Repertory Players perform downtown in the Scottish Rite Theater on Hancock Street. Here you’ll find plays for children and adults, as well as summer acting workshops. A growing group known as the Ratio Theatre has performances in several locations, including Cullman Performance Hall in the North Carolina History Center.

Featured Local Businesses

Museums, Performance Halls and Organizations

317 Middle St.
New Bern, NC 28560
(252) 638-2577

Along with encouraging area artists, Craven Arts Council and Gallery / Bank of the Arts provides exhibition space for local, regional and national talent. The Bank of the Arts, a reclaimed 1911 bank building, also houses the arts council administrative offices. The large, open main gallery, open Tuesday through Saturday...more about Craven Arts Council and Gallery / Bank of the Arts

New Bern, Atlantic Beach,
and Morehead City, NC 28557
(252) 633-6444

January - March 2021 Festival Events have been cancelled due to Covid  Folk music comes from the heart and soul of any locale, and its listeners are sometimes travelers with an ear cant to the sea. Between January and March, each month brings a concert to the Crystal Coast. Organized and sponsored...more about Down East FolkArts Society

Thank you to our site sponsors for supporting the local business community