A blog by staff and others about the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Beneath the Surface of African Art: The Importance of Wood Identification

By Casey Mallinckrodt, Assistant Conservator The conservation initiative in African art funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation is allowing the VMFA Conservation Center to deepen capacity by acquiring analytic equipment, engaging specialist consultants, and also by developing specialized expertise within the Conservation staff. This winter Assistant Conservator Casey Mallinckrodt participated in an intensive course…

Inside VMFA: Ray Vasquez

Inside VMFA: Ray Vasquez

From behind the scenes, electrician Ray Vasquez shines a light on VMFA’s artwork. “I like my job here because I like to see all the different cultures that come here and all the different exhibits that the museum brings,” he says.

South African Artist Esther Mahlangu Awarded Honorary Doctorate by the University of Johannesburg

Esther Mahlangu, whose dazzling, mural-size paintings provide a gateway to the VMFA African art galleries, has just been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg for “her legacy as a cultural entrepreneur and educator, skillfully negotiating local and global worlds.” Dr. Mahlangu, the most renowned artist of South Africa’s Ndebele people, developed the…

Q&A with Dr. Peter Schertz, VMFA Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art

In the first exhibition of ancient art in nearly 25 years, VMFA presents The Horse in Ancient Greek Art, an exploration of the Greeks’ fascination with an animal that served as a symbol of wealth, power, and status. Dr. Peter Schertz, Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art, shares some insights into the…

drilling demonstration

Beneath the Surface of African Art: Thermoluminescence Sampling of Terracotta Sculptures from Africa

To test terracotta using TL dating, conservators take a powdered sample from an unobtrusive area of the object using a high-speed drill. Due to the fragile nature of these objects and the risk of causing damage through improper technique, only an experienced conservator or trained sampling agent should collect the sample. We reached out to…

African American Read-In: Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney recites “Wise I” by Amiri Baraka in front of Sanford Biggers’s artwork Overstood

African American Read-In at VMFA

The galleries at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts were full of a different kind of art — literature — at the African American Read-In (AARI). This annual event, which occurs during Black History Month, celebrates African and African American art and literature as community leaders read aloud in front of African and African American…

Christina Garduno

Inside VMFA: Christina Garduno

Each day, Christina Garduno sets her focus on providing a positive experience to guests at VMFA. “When you come into work every day, you’re not just coming to work,” she says. “You’re representing the VMFA and you’re representing the state of Virginia.” Garduno was recently promoted from café supervisor to administrative coordinator for the food…

Juana Straus with one of her confectionery creations.

Edible Art

Juana Straus is an artist. But rather than oil or acrylic, her mediums are sugar and flour. And instead of paintbrushes, her creative tools include whisks and spatulas. Straus is the pastry chef at VMFA’s Amuse Restaurant, where she has worked since it opened in 2010. Her artistry was recently recognized with a nomination for…

Inside VMFA with Martin Reamy, Associate

Inside VMFA: Martin Reamy, Associate

Meet Martin Reamy who has put his passion for art to work at VMFA for the past six years. “When I started working here, being in the galleries was like a kid in the candy store,” says Reamy, who was recently promoted to assistant manager of gallery associates.