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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of History and Culture announce reopening plans

Two prominent Richmond museums have announced plans to reopen under modified operating plans – the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.

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Two prominent Richmond museums have announced plans to reopen under modified operating plans – the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.

The VMFA’s announcement:

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced it will reopen to the public on Saturday, July 4, 2020; museum members will have early access beginning July 1. With its reopening, the museum will resume its regular operating hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with extended hours Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until 9 p.m. VMFA’s plans were announced as the City of Richmond entered Phase 2, lifting more COVID-19 related restrictions.

“We appreciate the community’s patience and support while the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “We are committed to providing a safe, artful experience once again and we’re excited to welcome the community back to VMFA!”

Following the guidance of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the museum will implement safeguards to help ensure the health and well-being of its visitors, staff and volunteers. Wearing face coverings will be required and disposable masks will be provided to those who do not bring their own. To limit the number of people within the museum at one time, visitors will enter through the main entrance near the McGlothlin Wing on the first floor and exit near the Art Education Center located off North Arthur Ashe Boulevard, also on the first floor. Physical distancing must be practiced while inside the museum and outside on VMFA’s grounds. The facilities and campus will be cleaned and sanitized daily, with high-touch areas and restrooms cleaned more frequently. Hand-sanitizing stations will be available throughout the museum. Clear acrylic partitions are installed at Visitor Services, in the VMFA Shop, and at all public-facing workstations.

The permanent collection galleries and special exhibitions will be open. The exhibition Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop has been extended through October 18. Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities, a new, ticketed exhibition, will also open to the public on July 4. As Sunken Cities promises to be a popular exhibition, admittance will be timed to maintain physical distancing within the galleries. Due to restrictions on gatherings, group tours cannot be scheduled.

VMFA’s casual dining venue Best Café will operate “grab-and-go” service and provide limited seating, spaced to meet physical-distancing standards. Amuse, VMFA’s fine dining restaurant, will also be open with limited seating; reservations are recommended. The Library, currently being reconfigured to distance workstations and equipment, will reopen to visitors by appointment in September. To maintain physical-distancing standards, a limited number of shoppers will be able to enter the VMFA Shop at one time. Clear acrylic partitions will offer protection during transactions at check-out stations where visitors will be encouraged to use debit cards, credit cards or Apple Pay when purchasing tickets, merchandise, or food at the museum.

For the remainder of the summer, all in-person early childhood programs, kids’ camps, teen camps, and adult studio school classes, as well as K-12-adult guided and self-directed tours are canceled. The museum’s comprehensive online resources, which include art activities, permanent art collections, virtual exhibitions, art history classes and educational programs can be accessed from home through the museum’s website at www.VMFA.museum.

“After weeks of having to keep our galleries closed to the public, we look forward to seeing people return to the museum and rediscover art that consoles, inspires and excites,” said Nyerges.

Complete details about VMFA’s safety measures can be found at www.VMFA.museum/COVID-19.

VMHC’s announcement:

The wait is over – we are excited to announce that the Virginia Museum of History & Culture will re-open to VMHC members on June 27-30 and to all guests on July 1!

Please note that you must purchase a ticket online prior to visiting (free for members; discounted for all others). Please also take time to learn more about our new safety guidelines and other important changes to the museum experience, all designed to help keep you safe. To purchase tickets and learn more, visit VirginiaHistory.org/Tickets.

VMHC Member-Only Preview Days: June 27-30, 2020. Timed tickets during member preview days are available every half hour beginning at 11:00 am with the last entry time at 2:00 pm. (Not a member yet or need to renew? Click here!)
Open to the Public: Beginning July 1, 2020. Timed tickets will be available every half hour starting at 10:00 am with last entry time at 4:30 pm.
We are excited to share with you two new exhibitions:

Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today – Organized in conjunction with the statewide Women’s Suffrage Centennial, this exhibition celebrates a century of women’s social and political activism and the positive changes their work has brought forth in their communities, the Commonwealth, and the nation. Learn more.
A Landscape Saved: The Garden Club of Virginia at 100 – Explore the colorful, courageous, and impressive history of the Garden Club of Virginia and three generations of activists who have produced a strong statewide voice for conservation, gardening, and education surrounding Virginia’s natural resources and historic landscapes. Learn more.

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Institute for Contemporary Art and VPM launch community media center

Chioke I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies at VCU, will serve as the center’s inaugural director of community media.

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The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and VPM, Virginia’s home for public media, are creating a media center inside the ICA for the production of audio content by VCU students, local community members and VPM professionals.

The VPM+ICA Community Media Center will create new opportunities for storytelling, train and educate the next generation of audio producers, and amplify voices often missing from traditional media.

Under the leadership of Chioke I’Anson, Ph.D., inaugural director of community media, the center will launch this fall with community and student podcasting workshops, training sessions and a special performance — all of which are expected to begin virtually due to COVID-19. The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is slated to open in spring 2021.

l’Anson will serve as director of community media at the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. (Photo by Amaya Zaslow)
l’Anson will serve as director of community media at the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. (Photo by Amaya Zaslow)

“Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed the rise of podcasting as a new genre of narrative and documentary arts,” said Dominic Willsdon, executive director of the ICA. “With that in mind, the ICA — as an institution responsive to new currents in public culture — sought to partner with VPM and launch an initiative that supports audio storytelling by, for and about our communities, especially those that have suffered historical inequity. We plan to grow this over time to include audio, video and community media-making more broadly. Beginning in 2021, our new community media center will provide the space, tools and support for this.”

Through this innovative partnership, the ICA and VPM also will launch a multiyear educational and media-making program comprising VCU academic seminars, youth media programs and public seminars, workshops and symposia.

“The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is a unique opportunity for public media to play a role in engaging a new generation of diverse content makers,” said Jayme Swain, CEO of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media and president of VPM. “We are honored to partner with the ICA and Dr. I’Anson to provide a creative space for students and the community to learn how to harness the power of media to tell their stories.”

The ICA’s second-floor Murry DePillars Learning Lab will house the media center, complete with two recording booths and workspace for conceptualizing, editing and producing podcasts and other audio programs.

The project reflects the ICA’s continued engagement with VCU students and faculty to develop new ways of thinking about and utilizing its space, a precedent that’s been in place since the ICA’s conception and has actively shaped its building design and programming.

“Everyone in Richmond has a story that only they can tell, or a perspective only they can share,” said I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU and underwriting announcer at NPR. “The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is the lab where anyone with something to say or a desire to create can get the technical skills to share their vision. The media center will be an arts and storytelling focal point, serving the city of Richmond and helping deliver its stories to the rest of the world.”

I’Anson will teach a podcasting seminar each semester for students in the Department of African American Studies and will work with a managing team comprising VCU students to plan and create a series of community events and youth programs.

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2nd Street Festival: A Virtual Celebration!

The 2nd Street Festival commemorates its 32nd anniversary October 3-4 with a virtual event celebrating downtown’s Jackson Ward community.

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The 2nd Street Festival commemorates its 32nd anniversary October 3-4 with a virtual event celebrating downtown’s Jackson Ward community. Venture Richmond Events will present new musical performances, favorite artists from past festivals, cooking demonstrations, virtual tours, neighborhood testimonials, fun family activities, and so much more!

VIRTUAL EVENT DETAILS

Date: October 3-4, 2020

Ways to watch: Visit this webpage or the 2nd Street Festival Facebook page to livestream the event on Oct. 3-4

Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 from 6:00-7:15pm, and Sunday, Oct. 4 from 5:00-6:15pm

Featured Festival Artists & more!

This year’s virtual festival is a great opportunity for families to plan gatherings and watch parties at home in a safe, fun and responsible way! Here are a few of our featured artists.

Legacy Band: Saturday, October 3

Don’t miss this 2nd Street Festival performance by one of Richmond’s favorite bands playing top hits with a mix of soul, R&B, funk, gogo and jazz. The band was originally formed by guitarist Jose Pomier and vocalist Kaila Valdez.

Desirée Roots: Sunday, October 4

Known for showcasing her triple-threat talents of singing, acting and dancing, Desiree performs some of her favorite jazz selections for the 2nd Street Festival. A beloved Richmond performer who grew up in a musical family, Desiree is comfortable singing everything from opera to R&B, but her true favorites are classical, gospel and jazz.

Remembrance of Debo Dabney: Sunday, October 4

Listen in as local musicians and friends Plunky Branch, Glennroy Bailey, Desiree Roots and others share their reflections of Herbert A. Dabney, III, a dynamic and animated pianist who passed away earlier this year. Affectionately known as “Debo,” he was a beloved friend of the festival and an all-around fan favorite. His repertoire ranged from jazz, gospel, R&B, swing, blues and children’s classics. Debo performed for 31 of the festival’s 32 years.

Culinary Demos

Viewers should prepare their kitchens for culinary demonstrations by popular Jackson Ward restaurants Croaker’s Spot and Soul Taco, live-streamed directly into homes to capture the same delicious food that we’ve all come to expect from the 2nd Street Festival.

Kid’s Activity Corner

Families will enjoy Candice Smith with NBC12 News reading a book especially for children, a balloon twisting demonstration by festival favorite Eddie Cook with Balloons By Extreme, and a special activity by the Children’s Museum of Richmond.

A Spotlight on Jackson Ward

Gary Flowers of the Historic Jackson Ward Society will highlight community sites in the neighborhood for all to enjoy, and viewers will hear testimonials from longtime residents and business owners of the Jackson Ward neighborhood during the live stream event.

The 2020 Poster

This year’s official 2nd Street Festival poster was commissioned to Richmond native, Unicia Buster. Ms. Buster was a fine arts major in photography at Cornell University and she will design a quilt for the festival and use her graphic design skills to transform it into the official festival poster.

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Arts & Entertainment

43rd Street Festival of the Arts Canceled

Yet, another popular event falls to Covid-19.

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Statement from the organizers.

We are sorry to announce that the 43rd Street Festival for 2020 has been cancelled. There appears to be no way in the near future to comply with RVA size restrictions on gatherings and make the show happen safely for all.
Please support local artisans and galleries who carry their work, including 43rd Street GalleryCrossroads Art Center, and Shockoe Bottom Clay.

This is a major disappointment for the neighborhood. It’s also a major financial hit for CARITAS. Traditionally this festival kicks off their fall fundraising. With the festival canceled they’ll need help. You can donate here and get more information on their work.

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