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The Prism was originally founded by a group of UVA students in 1966 as an off-grounds escape from the rigid conformity of the pre-coed University of Virginia. Here they could hang out, listen to poetry and folk music, smoke unfiltered cigarettes, and converse, feeling free to discuss hot topics of the day (such as the Vietnam War and the virtues of co-education) with their professors. These days, the nationally-known Prism enjoys a venerable reputation as a professional non-profit arts-presenting organization, specializing in the traditional music arts and their influence upon contemporary music and culture. Prism concerts are presented in a casual yet focused living-room atmosphere, free of smoke and alcohol and with minimum distraction from the music onstage. A haven for the true music lover, the Prism always puts sound and quality of performance first.
The venue closed on April 22, 2006, after being in business for forty years.