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VMFA to rename gallery featuring many contemporary Black artists following major gift

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced that it recently received an important contribution from Dr. Monroe Harris Jr. and Dr. Jill Bussey Harris. One of the museum’s 21st-Century Art galleries will be renamed to honor the Harrises’s support.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced that it recently received an important contribution from Dr. Monroe Harris Jr. and Dr. Jill Bussey Harris. One of the museum’s 21st-Century Art galleries will be renamed to honor the Harrises’s support.

“Monroe and Jill are avid art collectors and tremendous supporters of VMFA,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Their generous gift offers significant support for the museum’s continued efforts to expand and exhibit its collection of contemporary work by Black artists.”

Supporting African and African American art has been the Harrises’s passion for many years. “From offering support to local artists and those who are well established, we are preserving our diverse culture,” said Monroe. Jill added, “It’s important for us to not simply be involved but to also give back to our community.”

Dr. Monroe Harris, who was elected president of the Board of Trustees for VMFA in July 2018, is the first African American to hold the position in the institution’s 82-year history and the first African American board chair of a major comprehensive art museum in the United States. During his tenure, he championed the expansion of the museum’s collection to include more works by African and African American artists, including Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War. Previously, he held the offices of executive vice president and vice president of the museum’s Board of Trustees and served as president of the Foundation Board of Directors.

Both Harrises have longtime careers in dentistry. Dr. Monroe Harris is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Richmond and a partner in the practice of Virginia Oral & Facial Surgery. Dr. Jill Bussey Harris is a cosmetic dentist who maintains her own private practice, Beautiful Smiles, in the museum district. In 1989, she became the first African American female full-time assistant professor at VCU/MCV School of Dentistry.

“As collectors of African American art, as donors, and as dedicated professionals, they demonstrate what it means to be visionary leaders, not only for VMFA but the entire Richmond community,” Nyerges said. “We are grateful for their support.”

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Arts & Entertainment

InLight Coming to Low Line in 2021

1708 Gallery’s 14th annual InLight will take place November 12-13, 2021 at Great Shiplock Park, Chapel Island, and nearby sites on the Low Line in Richmond.

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1708 Gallery’s 14th annual InLight will take place November 12-13, 2021 at Great Shiplock Park, Chapel Island, and nearby sites on the Low Line in Richmond. InLight is 1708’s annual public exhibition of contemporary art. InLight takes place at night and each year is in a different location in Richmond. InLight features multimedia, sculpture, installation, performance, community-based works, and virtual projects that utilize light-based platforms (projections, lighting design, and more) to be experienced in the dark. Past sites include Chimborazo Park, the downtown Arts District, and the sculpture garden and grounds of the VMFA.

1708 invites regional, national, and international artists working in all media and disciplines to submit entries for InLight 2021. Great Shiplock Park is located at a former shiplock constructed as part of the James River and Kanawha Canal system. Artists are invited to propose projects that engage with and expand upon the multiple themes and histories that can be found at these sites such as: trade and labor of then-enslaved peoples of African and Indigenous descent during and following the industrial revolution; the environmental impact—especially concerning water resources—of commerce and infrastructure; and the cultivation of spaces for alternative forms of historical preservation.

The curatorial team is especially interested in proposals that address ideas around movement in air, land, and water; flows of resources; and the redistribution of power within these systems; and future-thinking projects that reflect but are not bound by the histories surrounding Great Shiplock Park to imagine the site’s specificity and potential beyond its past and present. Artists, Collectives, and Community Organizations are encouraged to apply.

For more details and to submit an entry, please visit 1708INLIGHT.ORG.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Midnight (EST), Thursday, July 15, 2021.

1708 will host two virtual meetings via Zoom to provide an opportunity for potential applicants to ask direct questions about the application and selection process for InLight 2021. The meetings will be Tuesday, June 22nd at 6:00 pm and Wednesday, June 23rd at 6:00 pm. Please register in advance to attend.

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Arts & Entertainment

The Broadberry is F***ing Back or so I Read

Good news for lovers of live music.

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Follow The Broadberry on FB to keep up to date on all the live shows hitting the stage starting in August.

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Richmond Folk Festival and 2nd Street Festival Will Return

Short on details but the good news is the best event in Richmond will be back.

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I was thrilled to see this in my inbox this morning.

Two of Richmond’s largest and most beloved events will return this fall, live and in person. 

Venture Richmond Events plans to produce both the 2nd Street Festival and the Richmond Folk  Festival as live events, while also following state and federal guidelines for outdoor gatherings. 

The 2nd Street Festival, in partnership with the City of Richmond, will take place October 2-3,  2021, in the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood.

The Richmond Folk Festival, in partnership with the National Council for Traditional Arts and the  City of Richmond, will take place October 8-10, 2021, along Downtown Richmond’s riverfront. 

“We look forward to getting back to in-person festivals with the 33rd year of the 2nd Street Festival and the 17th year of the Richmond Folk Festival,” said Stephen Lecky, director of events. “Now more than ever we know how important it is for us to come together safely in a shared celebration of culture and experiences, whether they are the rich traditions of the historic Jackson Ward community, or those from around the nation and the world presented on Downtown’s riverfront.  Certainly, the joy we receive from producing these two festivals is immeasurable and we will do  so with everyone’s wellbeing as our utmost priority.” 

More information will follow this summer as we continue to stay informed and aware of CDC and state guidelines for Covid-19 protocol at events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local,  state, and federal ordinances and guidelines is crucial. 

The 2nd Street Festival is sponsored in part by: Dominion Energy, Brown Distributing,  Community Foundation, Virginia Union University, and the City of Richmond.

The Richmond Folk Festival is sponsored in part by: Dominion Energy, CoStar Group,  Community Foundation, WestRock, CarMax, City of Richmond, Brown Distributing, National  Council for Traditional Arts, and the Children’s Museum.

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