Dr. Susan J. Rawles, Elizabeth Locke Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts

American Art, French Influence, and a Transitional Age

On view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from April 16 through July 31, 2022, Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France explores American painting in the advent of modernism, uncovering the rich variety and complexity that developed when French avant-garde philosophies and styles melded with American individualism. The exhibition is assembled from international…

VMFA’s Teen Terns Reflect on The Dirty South Exhibition

This summer, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts had five “Teen Terns” join the Education and Marketing teams during the months of June, July, and August. Teen Ternships are paid internship opportunities for Richmond-area high school students who have previously participated in VMFA’s Museum Leaders in Training (MLiT). This year, we had an additional Teen…

Valerie Cassel Oliver (left) and Jan Hatchette (right). Photo by Sandra Sellars ⓒ Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Years in the Making: Behind the Scenes with Valerie Cassel Oliver

When the public experiences an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, they see not only the art on view but also the culmination of years of work by teams of museum professionals who take a curator-led journey from conception to realization. While an exhibition’s star attractions are the works of art on view,…

Coronation Theme: Organon, 2008, Nadine Robinson (American, born England, 1968), speakers, sound system, mixed media. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, given by John F. Wieland Jr. in memory of Marion Hill, 2008.175. Image: © Nadine Robinson

Dirty South: Its Meaning and Influence

“Dirty South” is an expression that endearingly refers to the southern part of the United States—from Virginia to Florida, Texas, and the states in between—whose Black traditions and artistic expressions have shaped the culture of the region and the nation. The term describes an identity born out of the southern landscape and its agriculture as…

Natural Bridge, Virginia, 1860, David Johnson (American, 1827–1908), oil on canvas. Private Collection.

Community Conversation: The Natural Bridge and the Monacan Indian Nation

Johanna Minich: I know discussions happened early in the VMFA exhibition planning process on how to include the indigenous presence in the overall exhibition theme. Chris, as the curator of Virginia Arcadia, can you tell us a little bit about how this collaboration came about? Chris Oliver: As I was assembling a checklist of potential…

Hamilton Glass: The Artist and Architect behind RVA Community Makers

Artist Hamilton Glass, also known as “Ham,” is a Philadelphia-born, Hampton University graduate, who has proudly called Richmond home since 2007. And it’s here in RVA where he has also made his name as a painter and muralist with a genuine concern for building community and bridging divides. His relationship with VMFA has always involved…

Multiculturalism, Race, and Ethnicity in Ancient Times

Was “race” a concept in the ancient Greek and Roman world? That’s the question at the heart of a virtual talk organized and hosted by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Presented as one of VMFA’s “3 in 30” gallery talks, which are currently offered virtually, the program brings together Dr. Peter Schertz, VMFA’s Jack…

The Sounds They Saw: Kamoinge and Jazz

By Dr. John Edwin Mason Author’s Note: This blog post draws heavily on an essay, also called “The Sounds They Saw: Kamoinge and Jazz,” that I wrote for the exhibition catalogue Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop. I’m grateful to the photographer Herb Robinson, a member of Kamoinge, for selecting the music that…

Art for the Aspiring Traveler

As a pandemic halts even the most mundane activities outside the home, you may be reflecting on past travel opportunities with a bit of nostalgia. Whether you’ve traveled extensively, rarely, or always postponed your dreams to “some day,” you may be looking forward to the time when we can once again journey near and far…

Celebrating African American Community Leaders Through Public Art

This video was created by Field Studio and was made possible in part by Virginia Humanities. In February 2019, VMFA unveiled RVA Community Makers, a public art project featuring portraits of eight African American community leaders. The initiative is one example of VMFA’s commitment to opening our doors to a more diverse audience. Local artist…