Celebrate Black artists and the stories they tell and explore the depth and breadth of the museum’s collections and exhibitions. Check out related programs for all ages in the schedule below, and visit 365 days a year for up-close experiences with extraordinary works of art by African American artists.
EXHIBITION | Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass
Through July 9, 2023
Immerse yourself in the life and words of Frederick Douglass in this large-scale film installation. The sights and sounds in Julien’s work collapse time and space, bringing the historical figure to life for modern audiences in a profoundly resonating experience.
EXHIBITION | A Powerful Influence: Early Photographs of African Americans from the Collection of Dennis O. Williams
Through May 8, 2023
Drawn from the collection of Dennis O. Williams, some 25 portraits of Black Americans—some enslaved, others free—offer a powerful and poignant way to explore these complicated histories. This installation includes daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and early works on paper made from the 1840s through the 1880s.
EXHIBITION | Ebony Patterson: … three kings weep …
Through February 28, 2023
Experience the visuals, sound, and emotion in this large-scale video installation created by Jamaican-born artist Ebony Patterson. Shown slowly in reverse, Patterson’s film portrays a trilogy of three men, each on a separate screen, dressing themselves while tears quietly roll down their cheeks.
INSTALLATION | RVA Community Makers 2023
February 16–March 19, 2023
Now in its 5th year, RVA Community Makers is an annual community-activated public art project presented by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and led by artist Hamilton Glass. Coinciding with VMFA’s celebration of Black History Month, the yearly project honors African American leaders from a variety of fields.
INTERACTIVE GALLERY | A Closer Look
Go beyond the surface of six works of art from VMFA’s collection to investigate how art can be an expression of place or personal and cultural identity; how different cultures throughout time represent history and identity through art; and what histories are publicly told and which are hidden. Explore digital interactives that provide a virtual look at the VMFA grounds over the past 200 years through the lens of the Black experience developed by the storytelling team at Hidden In Plain Site.™
PERMANENT COLLECTION | African American Art
Discover VMFA’s growing collection of works by African American artists. The collection features masterpieces from early American to modern and contemporary artists.
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VMFA Strategic Plan 2021–25
VMFA is always setting its sights higher and, guided by its latest Strategic Plan, striving to become a more vibrant, inclusive cultural leader.