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Welcome to the beautiful

Vern Riffe Center for the Arts

Named for the longest serving speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and New Boston, Ohio native, Vern Riffe, the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts opened in 1995. Designed by famed architect George Izenour, the central area of the 102,000 square foot facility houses the performance and gallery spaces, the Eloise Covert Smith Theater, the Kahl Studio Theater, Howland Recital Hall and Appleton Gallery

VRCFA exterior 3.jpg
VRCFA exterior 3.jpg

About the Venue

The Vern Riffe Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Shawnee State University in historic Portsmouth, OH.

The performing arts center contains classroom space for the Fine, Digital and Performing Arts department as well as serving the community by offering a performances, art exhibits and opportunities for rentals.

A frequent comment expressed throughout the community is that the region is lucky to have a space like the Vern Riffe Center. This is a testament both to the unlikelihood that a rural setting like the one in the OH-KY-WV tri-state area would have such a large arts center located in it and to the fact that the local community actually does support the venue with both attendance and donations.

Eloise Covert Smith Theater

The Eloise Covert Smith Theater is the main performance venue at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. It contains 1137 seats at full capacity. An attractively painted acoustically transparent scrim can be lowered to partition off the front and back seating sections to provide a more intimate experience.

All the performance spaces in the Vern Riffe Center were designed by the famed George Izenour. The Covert Smith Theater is specifically designed to enhance the sound in the space: voices, instruments and audio playback. At the same time, great effort was put into minimizing extraneous noise produced by the heating and cooling system so that audiences could enjoy performances with minimal interruption. Whether you attend a performance of a Broadway tour, play, performance by a single musician or an entire orchestra, you should have a quality experience.


Interior VRCFA .jpg
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