About The Prizery

The Prizery is an arts and cultural center located in a 38,000 square foot building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Boston Historic Tobacco Warehouse District, and is considered to be the most architecturally prominent and interesting of the 15 buildings in the 20 acre district. Renovation began in 2002, and the facility includes a welcome center, a performing arts theatre, an art gallery, classrooms and a large space for community functions.

Today the Prizery plays host to performers from throughout the world in the 250-seat Chastain Theatre, exhibits art in the Robert F. Cage Art Gallery, provides venues for events and rentals, and makes a wide range of classes available – from music to art.

The building was originally where tobacco was “prized,” or pressed layer by layer into hogshead barrels often weighing up to 1000 pounds. After the autumn harvest, the plants were first “stemmed,” or stripped of fibers and then packed. The barrels were then taken down to the river or the railroad for shipping.

The renovation was accomplished while keeping the look and openness of the building intact. As a centerpiece of the historic warehouse district in downtown South Boston, The Prizery is a magnet for tourism and its location next door to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center makes its facilities a natural extension for the colleges.

Chastain Theater and Steinway Piano


The mission of the Community Arts Center Foundation, also known as The Prizery, is to enrich lives through the arts. We believe that arts and cultural experiences should be available to everyone, wherever they live and whoever they are.


  • Educate, inspire and engage people through the arts and culture
  • Provide quality programs
  • Recognize and celebrate our diverse community
  • Achieve sustainable support for the arts and cultural experiences


Melanie Cornelison-Jannotta
Melanie Cornelison-Jannotta

Executive Director


Corlis McGrady 

Events Manager


Emily Michelle Powell

Box Office Manager


Ernelle Bellamy

Technical Director


Betty Woods

Custodial Supervisor



Web Design & Marketing



House Manager


Denise Hudson – President

Denise Barksdale – Vice President

Sharon Satterfield Jones – Assistant Vice President & Volunteer Coordinator

Jamie Brown – Treasurer

Ryland Clark – Secretary

John Cannon – Assistant Secretary


Sharon Harris

Francis Harrell

David Dunn

Corey Williams

Elizabeth Cunningham

Alisha Rice

Lori Ashwell

Steve Mize

David Duffer

Blair Jeffress

Ray Weiss