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, houses a Revolutionary War exhibit called the Crossing of the Dan, 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.