Cultural Amenities

The Gadsden Symphony Orchestra is funded by grants, ticket sales, patrons and supporters.  It schedules three concerts per season: one with a patriotic theme; the second a formal, classical program; and the third a fun, “pops” theme.

The Etowah Youth Orchestra, featuring 300 talented musicians, is made up of four ensembles: the Etowah Youth Symphony Orchestra, EYS Honor Strings, Etowah Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and June Bugg Prelude Strings. It has been recognized as one of the top three youth orchestra programs of more than 200 nationwide by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the American Symphony Orchestra League.

The Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts opened in 1990 in downtown Gadsden. Today, more than 100,000 persons visit the exhibits, performances and functions held there each year.  It is home to:

  • three galleries that feature a wide range of changing national and local exhibits
  • “Centerstage Presents,” sponsoring dinner theaters and courtyard concerts
  • Imagination Place, a children's hands-on museum
  • Gadsden Community School for the Arts, for music, art and theatre instruction
  • Downtown Dance Conservatory, for primary to pre-professional level dancers

Having an enrollment of more than 250 students training on a weekly basis, the Downtown Dance Conservatory offers quality, non-competitive, classical and contemporary dance education with the curriculum of the Royal Academy of Dance.

Classes in jazz, piano, strings, woodwinds, brass, voice, conducting, visual arts and theatre are offered by the Gadsden Community School for the Arts, regardless of age or experience level.  (Additionally, there is private instruction throughout the county in dance, music, drama, painting and other activities, plus many non-credit, special-interest classes at Gadsden State Community College and the University of Alabama's Gadsden Center.)


The Imagination Place Children's Museum has activities in the arts and sciences that promote exploration and discovery, and provides interactive learning environments through participatory, hands-on exhibits and educational programs.

The Gadsden Museum of Art, located next to the Cultural Arts Center, provides a year-round schedule of programs and services, including permanent collections of fine arts, a collection of historical local artifacts, monthly changing exhibits, special annual events and educational outreach programs. It is the only museum in the state specializing in Alabama artists.

The Walnut Gallery is a contemporary art gallery and school for fine arts, with art exhibitions, public lectures, poetry readings, independent film screenings, PBS ART 21 screenings, concerts, community-wide art walks, and educational classes.

The Central-Carver Museum houses the oral history collection, photographs and memorabilia of the former Central High School and Carver High School.  The Nichols Memorial Library houses the Northeast Alabama Genealogical Society and its research materials.  The Etowah Historical Society maintains an extensive research library and displays.  And the Alabama City Museum contains records and artifacts honoring early citizens and businesses.


The Gadsden Public Library has 34 internet work stations, 35 periodicals, 2,200 audio recordings, 4,200 video recordings, and 94,000 books. Public libraries in Rainbow City, Attalla, Sardis, Altoona/Walnut Grove, and Hokes Bluff have a combined 90,000 additional holdings.

In addition to musical acts and theatrical presentations at the Hardin Cultural Arts Center, the Theatre of Gadsden, CharACTers Entertainment, the Gadsden-Etowah Community Choir, and the Kings of Swing jazz band perform throughout the year.