Opera Singer Picked to Head Arts Enter



April 13, 2015

The Board of Directors of Arts Enter Cape Charles has named Larry Jay Giddens, Jr., of Nassawadox as its Executive Director effective April 9, succeeding founder Clelia Sheppard, who announced her retirement last month.

Giddens, a native of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, is an accomplished opera singer. He has performed with the Virginia Opera, Todi Music Festival, Symphonicity, and the Virginia Arts Festival in the Hampton Roads area, the National Philharmonic, the Opera Theatres of Pittsburgh, PA, Sarasota, FL and Edmonton, Canada, and toured Europe, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand in the roles of Crown and Jake in Porgy and Bess.

In addition, Giddens has been actively involved in creating, organizing, and managing non-profit community-based organizations, most notably as Board President of Eastern Shore Pop Warner, Director of Day Camps for Longmont Parks and Recreation, and as Executive Director of the Randy Custis Memorial Fund in Nassawadox.

Giddens has a strong sense of the essential role the arts play in a community, and his career exemplifies his deep personal engagement in promoting the arts. He is grateful for the opportunities that led him to this new role: “I discovered a profound love for the arts that has taken me all over the world. I understand how the community needs an organization like Arts Enter, not only for the arts to survive but also to grow and become the preeminent arts organization on the Eastern Shore,“ he says.


With his strong background in music and theater and his non-profit management experience, the Arts Enter Board felt he was the right person to lead Arts Enter into its next chapter, nurturing and coordinating efforts to make Cape Charles a “Harbor for the Arts.”

Clelia Sheppard, a guiding light and founding member of Arts Enter Cape Charles, remains an active member of the Board of Directors, assisting in cultivating and recruiting artistic talent and instructors for events.

Arts Enter Cape Charles was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1997, and in 1998 purchased and began an extensive renovation of the art deco style Historic Palace Theatre. The later addition of the Stage Door Gallery further expanded the horizons of this artistic panorama. Today, Arts Enter offers musical and theatrical productions, art exhibitions, dance and art classes, and summer camps in visual and performing arts for children from 5 to 16 years.

In 2012 Arts Enter was awarded a prestigious “Our Town” creative placemaking grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. With considerable financial support from the Town of Cape Charles as well as many local organizations and individuals, the grant was used to develop an annual Harbor for the Arts Festival, a town-wide Arts Walk, a new website and marketing campaign for Cape Charles, and to support the early development of Experimental Films Virginia.



One Response to “Opera Singer Picked to Head Arts Enter”

  1. David Gay on April 13th, 2015 6:51 pm

    Welcome to Cape Charles. Looking forward to great theater and Opera in the upcoming season.