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VMFA receives $8.4 million gift from Cochrane family to endow painting conservatorship

The substantial, planned gift brings the couple’s contributions to the museum to a total of $40 million.

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A final, long-planned gift from Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane has brought the couple’s support of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts full circle. As the result of a charitable annuity and trust benefiting the museum, $8.4 million was added to the VMFA endowment this year.

During the past five decades, the Cochranes generously supported VMFA with more than $40 million, through an endowment funded with outright gifts, 220 parcels of real estate in Manchester, and their long-time family home and farm in Hanover County. Proceeds from the sales of the real estate were added to the Cochrane endowment principal. J. Harwood Cochrane founded Overnite Transportation, and Louise Cochrane, a painter, served as a docent and member of The Council of VMFA. Each served on the museum’s Board of Trustees at different times.

A portion of this trust distribution has funded the Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Associate Conservator of Paintings position, complementing their long-time support for the American Art collection and the Cochrane Curator of American Art.

“With this last generous donation, the Cochranes ensured that the museum is positioned to be a strong steward of paintings in our permanent collection,” VMFA Director Alex Nyerges said. “In creating the curator and collection endowments, they recognized the value in building our strategic holdings, and this newly endowed conservator position will ensure that those works remain protected under our care for a long time. This gift reflects their ultimate commitment as art patrons.”

Bruce Suffield, who first joined the VMFA as a painting conservation fellow in 1994, has been named the inaugural Cochrane Associate Conservator of Paintings. Suffield advanced to assistant conservator in 1994 and associate conservator in 2004. A member of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and other conservation organizations, Suffield has written and lectured on such topics as materials and restoration approaches in 15th- and 17th-century paintings, and modern painting materials. He earned his undergraduate degree in studio art and museum studies at the University of Texas at Austin and his master’s and certificate of advanced study in conservation at the State University of New York’s Buffalo State College.

“We continue to raise the profile of our conservation team and their work, and the Cochrane Associate Conservator of Painting will further highlight our commitment to becoming a vibrant center for conservation,” said Stephen Bonadies, VMFA’s Senior Deputy Director for Conservation and Collections and Chief Conservator. “Bruce is a skilled conservator, and we are delighted that this endowed position reflects his important contributions.”

“Every time I walk through the VMFA’s American galleries, I remember the Cochranes and their outstanding support of building the American collection,” Suffield said. “It is an honor for conservation to receive this generous endowment, which will allow for continued advances in our endeavors in preservation, treatment, and research.”

The Cochrane gift reinforces VMFA’s strategic investment in the Susan and David Goode Center for Advanced Study in Art Conservation—the largest of its kind in the Southeast—to increase new knowledge about its collection, ensure best practices for treating and preserving cultural properties under its care, and support professional development. The center generates cutting-edge scholarship relevant to multiple fields.

In recognition of their outstanding philanthropy, the museum named the Cochrane Court—adjacent to the Ancient Art and East Asian galleries—and the Cochrane Atrium for the couple.

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Photos: Folk Fest Saturday

The rain kept crowds down but that didn’t stop the performers from blowing it out of the park, again. You’ve got one more day to enjoy the festival.

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Photos and Tips: Friday Night at Richmond Folk Festival

The weather was perfect last night as Richmond welcomed back the Folk Festival with open arms and dancing feet.

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A few suggestions to making your day at the festival a little bit better

Tips

  1. Go see Plena Es. Most of my pictures came from their set last night because there was so much joy in the air. “Founded by Pierre Ramos in 2004, the band—featuring percussion, trombones, piano, bass, and two dancers—stirs up a high-energy dance music that is a touchstone for Puerto Rican identity.”
  2. Beer lines were long prepare accordingly. Also your selection of beer is much reduced at the craft beer area but still plenty of good ones to choose.
  3. Don’t let rain scare you off. All but one stage have tents. Rain tends to scare off folks which means less lines for you including the beer line.
  4. There are a low percentage of mask wearers so if you’re nervous take that into consideration.
  5. If you see a big guy with a red mohawk taking photos say hello, it’s me.

The Brotherhood Singers


The Western Flyers

Plena Es

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Essential Info for Your Folk Festival Weekend

The 17th Folk Festival kicks off on Friday here is what you need to know to make the most of the weekend.

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The 17th Richmond Folk Festival begins tomorrow, Friday, October 8, and runs for three days full of more music, food and fun than you can imagine. 

With five stages and nearly 70 performances over three days many people plan to spend more than one day at the festival. Add in more than 30 food vendors, a crafts marketplace, a Virginia Folklife demonstration area, and one of the most beautiful festival sites in Richmond, and we think you’ll want to go for multiple days to experience as much as possible

Here are a few essentials to enhance your visit:

Festival Hours

  • Friday, October 8, 6:30-10 pm
  • Saturday, October 9, 1-9:30 pm
  • Sunday, October 10, 1-6 pm

Performers
Read up on all of the fantastic artists who will perform. With styles ranging from jazz to gospel, Irish, rockabilly, salsa and more, there’s something for everyone to love or learn about.

Performance Schedule: Take a peek now so you can plan ahead!

Easy ways to get to the festival

  • Use a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber and get dropped off at 690 Byrd Street
  • Ride your bike and park at 2nd and Byrd Streets or 5th and Tredegar Streets
  • Walk across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (or the T Pot, if you’re a local!)
  • Paid parking is available in nearby surface parking lots and street parking in the area 
  • GRTC offers FREE and easy public bus transportation options for Downtown’s riverfront. Plan your trip here.

Maps and directions
The Richmond Folk Festival takes place on downtown Richmond’s historic riverfront, from 2nd to 7th streets and from Byrd Street to the river – including Brown’s Island, the American Civil War Center at Tredegar, portions of Federal Reserve parking lots, and Tredegar Street.

Admission
FREE! Enjoy all of the performances on all 5 stages at no cost. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.

Donations
This is a LARGE festival with a hefty budget that is supported largely by generous sponsors. However, the festival needs your help to remain FREE and sustainable! There is a suggested donation of $10 per person per day that can be made online HERE, or by finding a volunteer in a bright orange shirt carrying a bright orange bucket at the festival and making a “Drop in the Bucket!” Or, you can text FOLK to 44321 to give from your mobile phone. Thanks for your help in keeping the festival FREE!

Purchasing beer and festival merchandise
There are NO CASH SALES on site for beverages or festival merchandise. Debit and Credit cards are accepted.

Beverages are also available for online ordering – either before you leave home or once you’re on the festival grounds. Pre-ordering through the Noble App allows for drinks to be ready when you get there! Please be sure to download the Noble App and create an account/password in preparation for beverage purchasing – and be sure to remember your password! But you can also simply purchase in person with a debit or credit card.

Please do NOT bring 
Dogs (except for service animals), coolers/large backpacks, alcohol, bottles or glass of any kind, drugs, weapons, laser pointers, bikes on site (they may be parked outside the festival grounds), skateboards, inline skates, or flying objects (drones, kites, frisbees, footballs).

CarMax Family Area reminder
Due to the highly interactive nature of the activities planned for the CarMax Family Area, we will not host a family area this year. Because of the lack of an approved Covid 19 vaccine for children under 12, we believe canceling the Family Area activities is best for the safety of our littlest patrons. The Children’s Museum will be back to host the much-loved CarMax Family Area in 2022!

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