Inside Out

VMFA Staff Art Exhibition 2021

The backbone of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a staff of more than 600 people across multiple departments. Out front and behind the scenes, VMFA staff are dedicated to the museum’s mission to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art, to encourage the study of the arts, and to enrich the lives of all. Their dedication to that mission and to daily operation of the museum is often rooted in a passion for art and the desire to share that passion with others. The artists employed at VMFA work in Buildings & Grounds, Food Services, Visitor Services, Exhibition Planning, Conservation, Exhibition Design, Conversation, Education, and many other departments. Through August 13, 2021, works of art by many of these VMFA artists are on view in INSIDE OUT: VMFA Staff Art Exhibition.

On display in VMFA’s Studio School, the exhibition features 46 works of art created by VMFA employees. Works include painting, watercolor, sculpture, mixed media, photography, collage, and drawing. INSIDE OUT, organized by VMFA’s Studio School, puts the heart and soul of VMFA’s heart and soul on view for the public. The exhibition is also an opportunity for artists to share their creations with their co-workers who in turn see a personal and often-surprising side to their colleagues.

Talent abounds at every turn of the expansive display: from the astonishing details in paintings by Sylvain Cordier or Casey Nye to a brightly colored abstract by Edgard Gato; from an intricate wood carving by Ray Vasquez to photography by Alex Nyerges or Patrick Morley; from thoughtful assemblage by Angelique Scott to whimsical clay works by Dan Kaczka and Adam Burke; and from skilled watercolors by Samantha Sheesley and Alex Parrish to striking paintings by Aleyah Grimes and Michael Young. The beauty of the exhibition emerges not only from the works themselves but also from its inclusive celebration of artmaking.

Archery, an acrylic painting
by Sukenya Best,
coordinator of VMFA
on the Road
(pictured right)

Works by Heather Godlewski, Tim Harriss, Erin Householder, Sylvain Cordier, Kenny Hamilton (l to r)

Artist Heather Godlewski works as a paper conservation technician at VMFA.

INSIDE OUT is organized every two years. The exhibition is open to all staff, and any artwork submitted by a VMFA employee is included in the exhibition. Now in its fourth showing, INSIDE OUT is organized by Mary Holland, VMFA’s Thomas C. Gordon, Jr. Director of the Studio School. Holland says the number of participants increases with every exhibition. She also notes that the quality of work is more impressive with every show, as an increasing number of staff who are also professional artists participate. Holland says, “It’s always great to see how many talented people we have on staff at VMFA. They work in every division across the institution. I’m sure there are a lot more we need to encourage to participate! It’s gratifying to see so many staff members want to share their artwork.”

The Best View, a color photograph by Sebastian Hernandez

“It’s always great to see how many talented people we have on staff at VMFA.”

—Mary Holland

The diversity of VMFA’s staff is on full display in INSIDE OUT, and the inclusive nature of the exhibition’s organization brings all departments together over their passion for art. The sharing of artwork among colleagues is a powerful activity that can help you see the world through someone else’s eyes, prompt a newfound respect for the person you never knew was also an artist, and inspire you to tap into your own creativity.

When VMFA security officer Kathleen Westkaemper first moved to Richmond many years ago, she started taking Studio School classes and has been an artist ever since; one of her paintings is on view in the exhibition. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced artist, learn more about the Studio School’s offerings and VMFA’s education opportunities for all ages.

Watch artist and VMFA electrician Ray Vasquez talk about his passion for art and VMFA. The exhibition includes his wood carving Esperanza (Hope).

The following VMFA staff members participated in the 2021 INSIDE OUT exhibition:
Ekaterina Beletskaya (Visitor Services) | Sukenya Best (Statewide Education) | Kim Bryan (Visitor Services) | Adam Burke (VMFA Shop) | Sylvain Cordier (Curatorial) | Nick Curotto (Library) | Aaron Edwards (Registration) | Megan Liles Endy (Education) | David Fletcher (Security) | Edgard Gato (Food Services) | Heather Godlewski (Conservation) | Bernadette Goudelock (VMFA Shop) | Aleyah Grimes (Exhibition Planning) | Cheryl Hadrych (Security) | Kenny Hamilton (Food Services) | Tim Harriss (Registration) | Sebastian Hernandez (Buildings & Grounds) | Mary Holland (Studio School) | Erin Housholder (Conservation) | Kristin Huff (Food Services) | Dan Kaczka (Education) | Blythe King (Education) | Eric Knight (Security) | Dana Masters (VMFA Shop) | Laura Minning (Visitor Services) | Laren Minton (Visitor Services) | Patrick Morley (Security) | Casey Nye (Exhibition Planning) | Alex Nyerges (Director) | Alex Parrish (Education) | Mark Peyton (Food Services) | Lynnice Randolph (Food Services) | Sarah Rasich (Education) | Megan Ratliff (Education) | Chuck Rudisill (Visitor Services) | Frank Saunders (Studio School) | Angelique Scott (Education) | Samantha Sheesley (Conservation) | Vim Shye | Eric Steinen (Registration) | Randi Tate (Security) | Randy Toy (Visitor Services) | Ray Vasquez (Buildings & Grounds) | Lindsey West (Visitor Services) | Kathleen Westkaemper (Security) | Laura Williams (Exhibition Planning) | Michael Young (Visitor Services)

A mixed-media work titled Death, deconstructed by Laren Minton and Vim Shye