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Speaker lineup announced for 2017 TEDxRVA event to be held June 23rd

This year’s diverse range of speakers include surgeons, professors, entrepreneurs, performers, and even presidential aides.

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Organizers of TEDxRVA have announced the speaker lineup for the fifth consecutive annual event set for June 23rd, a day that will bring a diverse range of individuals with varied backgrounds to the city to share insights exploring this year’s theme, “Change.”

As put by the event producers:

From shifting seasons to greying hairs, Change is a force that shapes our future and an ever-present part of life. Whether on a global scale, at the community level, or in our personal lives, change happens either because or in spite of us. So what does great Change take, what does it look like and how can it lead to meaningful transformation? How do you become a change-maker rather than a witness? And where do we begin?

The speaker lineup includes a former aide to President Barack Obama, a virtual reality artist, a hand transplant pioneer, a former marketing manager at Cadillac, a surgeon practicing in fetal medicine, and many more.

As in years’ past, TEDxRVA will include both the speaker series and multiple interactive experience elements throughout the day designed to engage audience members through creative collaboration and strategic thinking. A curated selection of breakfast, lunch, and snack items for attendees will be provided by local businesses. TEDx Talks and sessions will revolve around the concept of activating change: to one’s self, one’s community, and the world at large.

“TEDxRVA has become an annual institution in Richmond and offers an immersive, connective experience for attendees, and the speakers selected for the Change event will no doubt continue on this tradition,” said Katie Shea, producer of the event. “These speakers both from inside the Richmond region and outside of Virginia will offer those at the conference and others following along online with inspiring and creative insights, and no doubt change the way all of us view the world.”

This year’s TEDxRVA conference speakers and performers include:

  • Eneuri Acosta: Communication Strategist
  • Melody C. Barnes: Co-Founder, MB2 Solutions, Senior Fellow in Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, Former Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama
  • Carlos Betancourt: Multi-Disciplinary Visual Artist
  • Arthur Burton: Executive Director, Kinfolk Community Empowerment Center
  • Linda C. Cendales, M.D.: Hand Transplant Pioneer, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director, Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation, Duke University Medical Center
  • Courtney D. Cogburn: Assistant Professor, Columbia University
  • Tom Doland: Founder and Producer, Spiral Richmond Arts Collective
  • Elda Stanco Downy, Ph.D: Global Citizen and Educator, Founder and CEO of Roanoke Spanish
  • Lindsay Ellyn & Taylor Alexander: Singer-Songwriters, Musical Artists
  • Mark England: Co-Founder, Procabulary
  • Dave McCormack: President, Waukeshaw Development, Inc.
  • Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor of Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth
  • University and Faculty Affiliate at Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
  • Amber J. Phillips and Jazmine “Da K.O.S.” Walker: Podcasters, The Black Joy Mixtape Podcast
  • Oluyinka Olutoge: Professor of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director, Texas Children’s Fetal Center
  • Rachel Pater: Founder, Richmond Story House
  • Amy Pruden, Ph.D: Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education in the Graduate School at Virginia Tech
  • Mo Regulinski: Richmond Artist and Designer
  • Semi Ryu: Korean Shamanism Puppetry Artist
  • Jen Siomacco: Creative Director and Co-Owner, Catalyst Wedding
  • Ben Sollee: Cellist, Composer, and Creative
  • Vida Williams: Data Scientist
  • Dean Whitbeck: Photographer Covering the RVA Refugee Population
  • Desiree Roots:Performer, Musician
  • Ezibu Muntu African Dance Company: Performer, Richmond Dance Group

TEDxRVA will be held June 23rd at the Dominion Arts Center from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The performing arts center can seat about 1,800, and those who can’t make it are invited to join a free, livestream viewing party to take place at dozens of participating venues across the area, and can follow along on social media at #tedxrva.

Check out the event website for more information and to purchase tickets.

 

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‘World’s largest surf park,’ first on East Coast, coming to Chesterfield County

“Named simply, The Lake, the proposed 105-acre project reflects the lengths developers are going these days to compete for a generation of renters for whom just a pool and gym no longer cuts it. The development has been drawn up to incorporate 150,000 square feet of retail and entertainment, 100,000 square feet of office space, a 170-key hotel, 750 apartments, a 13-acre artificial Wake Lake, an amphitheater and a six-acre water park, capable of generating artificial waves large enough to surf.”

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The first surf park on the East Coast – and supposedly the largest of its kind in the world – is coming to Chesterfield County, we’ve learned this morning. The 105-acre project, to be known as “The Lake,” would be a entertainment, retail, and tourism magnet, once developed.

From CoStar, who has the exclusive on the story:

A Virginia developer is planning a new mixed-use project in Richmond where the main attraction will be the first surf park on the East Coast and, upon its completion, the largest in the world.

Named simply, The Lake, the proposed 105-acre project reflects the lengths developers are going these days to compete for a generation of renters for whom just a pool and gym no longer cuts it. The development has been drawn up to incorporate 150,000 square feet of retail and entertainment, 100,000 square feet of office space, a 170-key hotel, 750 apartments, a 13-acre artificial Wake Lake, an amphitheater and a six-acre water park, capable of generating artificial waves large enough to surf.

Flatwater Cos., a firm that counts a real estate development veteran, an investment banker, and a construction manager as its principals, hopes to turn The Lake into a local and regional destination, hosting more 200 events per year.

“We’ve been working on [this development] for a handful of years, going through the permitting process, zoning entitlements,” Brett Burkhart, Flatwater’s director of project development and operations, told CoStar News. “Our firm was started with this project in mind.”

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Axe-throwing chain set to open near The Circuit Arcade Bar in Scott’s Addition

The venue will open in the former Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building at 3100 W. Leigh Street in the heart of the neighborhood.

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From Richmond BizSense:

After its first attempt to get into the Richmond market fell flat, a Canadian axe-throwing bar is back with a location coming to Scott’s Addition.

Bad Axe Throwing is preparing to open at 3100 W. Leigh St. in a 5,000-square-foot space in the old Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building.

Based in Ontario, Bad Axe has nearly 50 locations throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In 2018, it began planning a Richmond location on West Broad Street, across from the forthcoming Whole Foods in Sauer Center.

But those plans fell through last spring. Bad Axe owner Mario Zelaya said there was an issue about the amount of parking available at that location, which caused them to scrap the plans.

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VMFA receives more than 8,000 photographs from the Aaron Siskind Foundation

The gift represents the largest single donation of photographs in VMFA’s history; VMFA will take over the administration of the Aaron Siskind Fellowship Prize.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has been given a gift of more than 8,000 photographs by Aaron Siskind (1903–1991) from the Aaron Siskind Foundation in New York. Established by the artist in 1984, the foundation’s mission has been to preserve and protect Siskind’s artistic legacy, as well as to foster knowledge and appreciation for photography through research, publications, exhibitions and an annual fellowship prize for individual artists.

The foundation recently decided to dissolve its operations and transfer the collection to an American art museum that would be willing to administer the annual fellowship prize and care for, interpret, and display the foundation’s core collection of Siskind’s photographs. VMFA was awarded this major gift thanks to the museum’s demonstrated commitment to photography and its outstanding fellowship program. The transfer of the collection to VMFA took place on January 1, 2020.

“After a thorough search of the major art institutions across the country, the Aaron Siskind Foundation was delighted to find that the visionary leadership, ambitious plans for the future, and commitment to carrying on Aaron Siskind’s legacy made VMFA the ideal choice as the new and permanent home for the collection and administration of the Siskind Prize,” says Victor Schrager, President of the Aaron Siskind Foundation.

“With this remarkable donation from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts owns what Siskind and his colleagues considered to be the finest prints of every important work he ever made,” says VMFA Director and CEO Alex Nyerges. “Comparable to the key sets of Paul Strand’s photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Alfred Stieglitz’s photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., this gift also allows VMFA to become an important center for the study and appreciation of Siskind’s life and work, as well as photography in general.”

The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Siskind was born and raised in New York City and graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1926. Three years later, Siskind received a large-format view camera as a wedding gift when he married Sidonie Glatter. He took his first photographs with this camera on their honeymoon in Bermuda in 1930. Siskind later joined the Film and Photo League in New York. Inspired by the social documentary photography that he saw at the Film and Photo League, Siskind spent the next decade working as a street photographer, most notably producing his acclaimed Harlem Document series. In the early 1940s, he shifted to more abstract and symbolic work, often based on found objects.

Siskind supported himself by teaching in the New York public school system until 1949, when he resigned and briefly tried to earn his living as a freelance photographer. Unable to do so, Siskind moved to Chicago at the invitation of fellow photographer Harry Callahan, whom he met in the summer of 1950 at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina, where they both taught photography. Siskind went on to teach photography at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago from 1951 to 1970.

By the 1950s, his work had become widely associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement thanks to his acclaimed photographs of the walls of buildings, whose flat, variegated surfaces enlivened by peeling paint or the remnants of torn posters provided a visual counterpart to the work of Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and other painters of the New York School. Siskind’s photographs were shown alongside the paintings of these artists in a series of exhibitions at the Charles Egan Gallery in New York between 1947 and 1951. At a time when photography rarely achieved equality with painting as a fine art, Siskind’s success in the broader New York art scene signaled an important advancement for the medium.

In 1971, Siskind was appointed as a professor of photography at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), a position he held until his retirement in 1976. He spent the next two decades traveling extensively, including extended trips to Italy, Morocco, Mexico and Peru. In 1975, he made an acclaimed series of abstract compositions in Peru based on the tightly packed stone wall at Sacsayhuamán which, with its geometric patterning, continued the artist’s interest in finding visual equivalents for contemporary abstract painting in his stark black and white compositions. When Siskind died in 1991, he held a pre-eminent place in the history of the medium thanks to his career-long dedication to the idea that photography can be an abstract form of expression and an aesthetic end in itself.

The gift includes the core collection of 4,062 photographs that represent the artist’s finest works from every series and period of his career. VMFA will also receive approximately 3,900 duplicate prints which it will donate to other museums, including those in cities and places where Siskind lived and worked, as well as countries he visited at the end of his career. The museum has also agreed to take on the responsibility of administering the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, which provides cash grants to artists working in photography and lens-based media. Siskind established this grant to assist independent photographers to pursue personal projects without bias to any particular form of the medium. VMFA is in an excellent position to administer this annual prize due to its Visual Arts Fellowship Program that has supported Virginia artists for the past 80 years.

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