Gary Bowling's House of Art - Atlas Obscura

Gary Bowling's House of Art

Bluefield, West Virginia

A once-abandoned school building converted into a fantastical multi-level art installation and haven for Appalachian artists.  


The Ramsey School, a historic Romanesque Revival building in downtown Bluefield, West Virginia, has undergone a fascinating transformation. From its origins as a main elementary school in 1926, it served various purposes before finding new life as Gary Bowling’s House of Art. With the tagline “Art, History, Magic, Mystery,” the former school now houses a public gallery showcasing eclectic art, while its seven levels have been imaginatively converted into themed art studios and apartments.

Gary Bowling and partners Jody and Vicki Queen have turned neglected corridors into fantastical spaces adorned with peculiar sculptures made from found objects, embracing the building’s history in a phantasmagoric display of creativity.

The gallery spaces are filled with the work of Appalachian artists. It’s an eclectic mix of sculpture, painting, and interactive art. In addition to showcasing completed works, GBHA also puts on events and art classes across different mediums.

Know Before You Go

The upper floors of the building are typically not open to the public. You need to call ahead of your visit to ask for a personal tour. 

Every October, they have a haunted house fundraiser where you can walkthrough the building. 

In partnership with KAYAK

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