Richmond, Virginia – Monroe E. Harris, Jr., D.M.D., was elected president of the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on July 1, 2018. He is the first African American to hold this position in the 82 year history of the institution.
Dr. Harris has served on the Board of Trustees at VMFA for five years. Previously, he held the offices of executive vice president and vice president of the Board of Trustees, and as president of the Foundation Board of Directors. He succeeds Michael J. Schewel.
He is past president of the Board of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, board chair of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and serves on the board of the American Civil War Museum. Dr. Harris has previously served as president of the Virginia Board of Dentistry and the Virginia Board of Medical Assistance.
For 30 years, Dr. Harris has been an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Richmond and a partner in the practice of Virginia Oral & Facial Surgery. In the community, Dr. Harris frequently provides volunteer care and free oral surgery to patients in Richmond at the Crossover Clinic, the Fan Free Clinic, Donated Dental Services of Virginia and Missions of Mercy. Dr. Harris also volunteers his time as a mentor for those seeking careers in dentistry and oral surgery.
Born and raised in Louisville, KY., Dr. Harris graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, number one in his class. He has been married to Dr. Jill Bussey Harris for more than 34 years. They have a son, Monroe III, and a daughter, Madison. Among his many interests, Dr. Harris is passionate about the arts and has a vast collection of African and African American art.
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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the United States. VMFA, which opened in 1936, is a state agency and privately endowed educational institution. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art, and to encourage the study of the arts. Through the Office of Statewide Partnerships program, the museum offers curated exhibitions, arts-related audiovisual programs, symposia, lectures, conferences, and workshops by visual and performing artists. In addition to presenting a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a global collection of art that spans more than 6,000 years. VMFA’s permanent holdings encompass nearly 40,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, the finest collection of Art Nouveau outside of Paris, and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art. VMFA is also home to important collections of Chinese art, English silver, and French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British sporting, and modern and contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan, and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its history. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the only art museum in the United States open 365 days a year with free general admission. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.