VMFA on the Road is the museum’s 21st-century Artmobile, coming to you from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In fall 2023, VMFA on the Road will showcase the exhibition Love, Laughter, Tears: An Artist’s Guide to Emotions. This compilation of works from the VMFA collection examines the relationship between art and emotion across various cultures and time periods to explore human emotion as a unifying and universal factor.

In the aftermath of the pandemic and amid growing societal divisions, emotions, empathy, and self-reflection hold greater significance. Emotion and expression have always been integral to the creative process of artmaking. Artists convey emotions through their use of color, shapes, symbolism, and text. Artworks can reflect an individual’s emotions or the wider mood of a culture or historical period, shedding light on events and their impacts on people. The power of art lies in its ability to communicate these feelings and messages, fostering conversations and understanding among individuals and communities. 

The works of art traveling in this exhibition are from VMFA’s vast collection, which spans 6,000 years of world history. VMFA on the Road will tour the state, bringing this unique presentation of that collection. Visitors will experience paintings, prints, photographs, and film by artists such as Kiyoshi Saito, Stephen Shames, Gabriel Sunday Tenabe, Nell Blane, and others. 

Photo: David Stover © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. VMFA On The Road at the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery 4th Annual #HeArtandSOULBrewFest.

About VMFA on the Road

In 1953, VMFA became one of the first museums in the world to have an Artmobile. For four decades, as many as four Artmobiles toured 59 exhibitions and served more than 2.5 million Virginians. Due to conservation concerns and the fragility of traveling works of art, VMFA replaced the program in the early 1990s with a Statewide Partners program to deepen partnerships with schools, community centers, and museums around the state. 

Renamed VMFA on the Road, the traveling museum relaunched in October 2018 as a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled trailer equipped with Wi-Fi and interactive components that meet 21st-century expectations. Now in fall 2023, the museum has acquired a new trailer with even more space for art and visitors.  

VMFA on the Road meets residents of the Commonwealth where they are, inviting them to step inside and experience authentic works of art from VMFA’s collection up close and in person. VMFA on the Road is traveling to all corners of Virginia. The stops are selected from among the museum’s Statewide Partners program, which includes 1,000 locations, from community centers and small museums to colleges and universities. We’re coming to a town near you, Virginia!  

Love, Laughter, Tears: An Artist’s Guide to Emotions
Tour Sponsors

The Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation

The Rock Foundation

We are also grateful to the following donors whose generous gifts made the launch of VMFA on the Road possible:

The Commonwealth of Virginia | The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The William and Mary Greve Foundation, Inc. | The Francena T. Harrison Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. William T. Miller | Dr. and Mrs. Harry A. Wellons, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Haywood Blakemore | James Hixon | Mr. and Mrs. Peter I. C. Knowles II
The Wall Foundation | Mr. and Mrs. John W. West III | WestRock Foundation

Capital Bank | The Reverend Doctor Vienna Cobb Anderson | Louise B. Cochrane Foundation
The Cook Foundation | Ralph R. Crosby, Jr. | The Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation
Anne and Gus Edwards | Mr. and Mrs. David R. Frediani | Margaret R. Freeman
Mary Mills Freeman | Norfolk Southern Corporation | Joanne B. Robinson | The Bob and Anna Lou Schaberg Foundation

Oluweri and Yemoja, 1968, Gabriel Sunday Tenabe (Nigerian, born 1941), oil on Masonite. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, gift of Terance and Rosemary Finegan in memory of Elizabeth and Harold Finegan

Cat, 1954, Kiyoshi Saito (Japanese, 1907–1997), woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, gift of Marge and Jerry Silber

Summer Interior by Gloucester Harbor, 1971, Nell Blaine (American, 1922–1996), oil on paper. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund