Hank Willis Thomas at VMFA 2014

Hank Willis Thomas at VMFA 2014

  • Collection: African American Art, 21st-Century Art
  • Culture/Region: America
  • Subject Area: African American, Fine Arts
  • Grade Level: 5-12, college, adult

American artist Hank Willis Thomas discusses his work and the construction of black identity through popular culture. The interview was conduced by John B. Ravenal (Syndey and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art), VMFA.

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Write Chinese Calligraphy

Write Chinese Calligraphy

  • Collection: East Asian Art
  • Culture/Region: China
  • Subject Area: Fine Arts, Foreign Language
  • Grade Level: K-12, college, adult, family

Write it! Practice Chinese calligraphy

Calligraphy, or the art of writing, was historically considered the highest visual art form in China. To study and develop their skills, students of calligraphy would copy the works of well-known practitioners, using brushes, ink, inkstone, water, and paper to write and paint. In this section, practice writing Chinese characters by following the brushstrokes of a skilled calligrapher, and, as you do, learn more about symbols of good fortune that can be found in VMFA’s collection of Chinese art.

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Gallery Hunt: Year of the Wood Sheep

Gallery Hunt: Year of the Wood Sheep

  • Collection: African Art, East Asian Art, Native American Art
  • Culture/Region: America, China, East Asia, Greece
  • Subject Area: Fine Arts
  • Grade Level: K-12, college, adult, family

Travel through the VMFA galleries to explore different cultures and time periods as you find works of art that have sheep in them.

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Robert Pruitt at VMFA 2014

Robert Pruitt at VMFA 2014

  • Collection: 21st-Century Art
  • Culture/Region: America
  • Subject Area: African American, Fine Arts
  • Grade Level: 5-12, college, adult

American artist Robert Pruitt discusses his inspirations, his process, and elements of the absurd in this artist talk. The interview was conducted by John B. Ravenal (Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art) and Sarah Eckhardt (Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art), VMFA.

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Miwako Nishizawa at VMFA 2014

Miwako Nishizawa at VMFA 2014

  • Collection: japanese-art
  • Culture/Region: America, Japan
  • Subject Area: Fine Arts, History and Social Science, Visual Arts, Women
  • Grade Level: K-12, college, adult

Japanese-American artist Miwako Nishizawa discusses Japanese woodblock printing, her inspirations, and her work with various Virginia landscapes presented in her series “Twelve Views of Virginia,” 2014.

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Unroll It! Explore Chinese Painting

Unroll It! Explore Chinese Painting

  • Collection: East Asian Art
  • Culture/Region: East Asia
  • Subject Area: Fine Arts, History and Social Science, Visual Arts
  • Grade Level: K-12, college, adult, family

There are a variety of formats used in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. Typically, these works are created by artists on sheets of paper or silk laid on a flat surface and then mounted onto similar material with water soluble glue. Because of their fragility, most of these works of art are intended only for occasional display. In this section, virtually unroll and view works of art that are too delicate to handle in reality.

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Play it! Make Your Own Music

Play it! Make Your Own Music

  • Collection: East Asian Art
  • Culture/Region: East Asia
  • Subject Area: Fine Arts, History and Social Science, Music, Visual Arts
  • Grade Level: K-12, college, adult, family

For thousands of years music has been an important part of Chinese culture, including religious and public ceremonies, scholarly pursuits, and entertainment. Bronze bells, called zhong in Chinese, were cast to produce two distinctly different tones. Hanging together from a wooden frame, the zhong were played by musicians in a seated or kneeling position striking the outside of each bell with a wooden mallet. In this section, make your own music in the style of ancient Chinese musicians. Touch virtual bells in the center and the side to hear two different sounds.

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Design It! Create your own Chinese seal

Design It! Create your own Chinese seal

  • Collection: East Asian Art
  • Subject Area: Foreign Language, History and Social Science, Visual Arts
  • Grade Level: K-12, college, adult, family

Design It! Create your own Chinese seal

First choose from a selection of icons inspired by VMFA’s collection of Chinese art. Next, add your initials or monogram to your design. Finally, “carve” your seal. You can save it, print it, or share it through social media.

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What Does Your Dragon Look Like?

What Does Your Dragon Look Like?

  • Collection: East Asian Art
  • Culture/Region: China
  • Subject Area: English, Visual Arts
  • Grade Level: 2-5

This lesson plan explores the image and meaning of the Chinese dragon through writing exercises and art making. Use your imagination and explore!

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Art Lecture: How to Read a Chinese Painting

Art Lecture: How to Read a Chinese Painting

  • Collection: East Asian Art
  • Culture/Region: China
  • Subject Area: Fine Arts

The Chinese way of appreciating a painting is often expressed by the words du hua, “to read a painting.” How does one do that? Because art is a visual language, words alone cannot adequately convey its expressive dimension.

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