VMFA Blog

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

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,…

Archery, an acrylic painting by Sukenya Best

Inside Out

VMFA Staff Art Exhibition 2021 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…

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…

VMFA and Chase: Meeting People Where They Are

CELESTE FETTA is the Director of Education at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a role she has had for the past five years. She has been with the museum since 2001 serving in several capacities within the Education Department. Here, she shares VMFA’s nurturing of creativity in the community, its steadfast commitment to its…

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…

Delving into Draper

Sandra Sellars is an assistant photographer at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and VMFA’s Louis Draper Archive photographer. Sellars is also an award-winning photojournalist for the Richmond Free Press—a Black–owned and operated newspaper. She will be a featured presenter in VMFA’s free seven-part virtual symposium titled The Kamoinge Workshop: Collaboration, Community, and Photography, which…