The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced the establishment of an endowment that will provide significant ongoing funding for an important new position at the museum — the Bev Perdue Jennings Assistant Curator of American Art.
“Bev and her husband, Ed Jennings, are longtime members of the museum and previously contributed to the 2018 exhibition Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Bev’s generous gift is a major investment in the museum’s curatorial department and will support continued exemplary scholarship in American art.”
“I am delighted to support VMFA by endowing this position,” said Perdue Jennings. “Creativity is essential to the human condition. Art gives us a window into the past, a way to imagine the future and an opportunity to grow our spirits. We are so fortunate to have in VMFA an institution that celebrates and encourages creativity in its galleries, exhibitions, studio classes and statewide programs, and this gift is my way to support those efforts.”
Dr. Christopher C. Oliver, currently VMFA’s Assistant Curator of American Art, will take on the newly titled position. Dr. Oliver arrived at VMFA in 2013 and has organized several exhibitions including the recent exhibition Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art and the upcoming exhibition Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature, which opens September 25, 2021.
“I am incredibly grateful to Mrs. Perdue Jennings for this endowment and honored to accept this new title,” said Dr. Oliver. “This endowment demonstrates her profound support of VMFA and its collection — and her commitment to the future of art in Virginia.”
“Endowments like this are the gifts that keep giving and help to ensure the long-term financial security for the museum and its staff,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art & Education. “We are therefore extremely grateful to donors, including Bev Perdue Jennings, and to the curators whose groundbreaking work they are supporting through such endowments.”
Perdue Jennings grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore without easy access to art museums. Her experience has led her to champion children’s access to art, and her appreciation for art is reflected in her work as an award-winning watercolorist and oil painter. Perdue Jennings, known professionally as Bev Perdue, is a Signature Member of the prestigious American Watercolor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society and Virginia Watercolor Society. Her work is found in national and international galleries and has been featured in Artist and American Watercolor Artist magazines. As a volunteer, Perdue Jennings teaches painting through the program Art for the Journey that serves women in the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Dreams of Freedom LolliPops concert celebrates music of Black composers
This concert is a great introduction to the dream and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – created especially for young listeners.
This Saturday, January 15th the Richmond Symphony and Atlantic are presenting the LolliPops concert at the Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theater (600 E. Grace Street).
This concert is a great introduction to the dream and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – created especially for young listeners. More than a century of works by Black composers will be represented, including Florence Price, William Grant Still, Undine Smith Moore, Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, and Adolphus Hailstork. Enjoy the music of freedom, of triumph, of inspiration. Also featuring the recent winner of the Sphinx Competition Junior Division, dazzling 12-year-old violinist Amaryn Olmeda. Chia-Hsuan Lin will be the conductor.
Additionally, Mia S. Owens a 12th grader from Glen Allen High School will be reading her poem “Glistening Hope” and Riley Reeves a 5th grader from Greenfield Elementary School will be his poem “The King”. The two were the winners for the Richmond Symphony Youth Poetry Contest: “What Does Dr. King’s Legacy Mean to You?”
VMFA presents Tsherin Sherpa’s first solo museum exhibition
On view from February 19 to October 16, 2022, Spirits is a tightly focused mid-career retrospective of Tsherin Sherpa’s captivating and sublime paintings and sculptures.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) presents Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits, the first solo museum exhibition of the Nepalese-born Tibetan American contemporary artist. On view from February 19 to October 16, 2022, Spirits is a tightly focused mid-career retrospective of Tsherin Sherpa’s captivating and sublime paintings and sculptures.
“Visitors to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts may remember seeing Tsherin Sherpa’s paintings in the museum’s 2019 exhibition Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA Director and CEO. “We are excited to present an exhibition of works by this globally acclaimed artist as the themes he explores — including the quest for individual and collective identity in a rapidly changing world — are universally relatable and compelling.”
Sherpa was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1968, and immigrated to the United States 30 years later. From a young age, he studied Tibetan thangka painting with his father Master Urgen Dorje. He eventually moved away from this form of traditional painting and began creating original work that draws on both Tibetan Buddhist iconography and the imagery of popular culture, exploring the interplay of the sacred and the secular and giving shape to the artist’s own cross-cultural experiences.
“Spirits is a captivating exhibition that will intrigue those who have an interest in contemporary global art, traditional Asian art, Tibet and Buddhism,” said exhibition organizer Dr. John Henry Rice, VMFA’s E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art. “Not only are Sherpa’s 36 works in the exhibition visually mesmerizing, but each is layered with meaning. Part autobiography, part social commentary, they contain the artist’s contemplation of struggles faced by Tibetans and other displaced peoples while inviting viewers to examine their own experiences with loss and re-empowerment.”
Presented as a narrative, the exhibition traces Sherpa’s Spirits, a series conceived soon after he shifted away from traditional painting and that has continued to evolve throughout the course of his career. “The story told by these works’ half-human, half-Tibetan-deity subjects is one of cultural loss, protracted struggle, eventual victory, wisdom gained and identity recovered,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education. “I believe that visitors to the exhibition will be captivated, moved and inspired by these works of art.”
The painting Spirits (Metamorphosis) portrays two Spirits at just that moment of recovering their identity. Surrounded by butterflies symbolizing transformation, they discover under the dripping pigmentation of their bodies an internal power visualized as energetically swirling colors.
With Skippers (Kneedeep) — Sherpa’s first work to fully translate his painting into three dimensions — these empowering polychrome forms inhabit the body of a cheeky bubblegum-blowing Spirit clad only in golden briefs.
The sculptural installation Wish-Fulfilling Tree offers audiences a unique participatory experience. The seven-layer offering mandala, made from copper and ornamented with Spirit faces, was originally created to hold the wishes of survivors of Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake. Now it beckons visitors to write their own wishes on pieces of paper that will be inserted into the piece.
The finale of Spirits is a new work — Sherpa’s largest painting to date — created expressly for the exhibition. In it, Sherpa reflects on the long journey he and his Spirits have traveled.
The artist’s prolific Spirits body of work will be explored through a candid conversation between Sherpa and Dr. Rice on February 17, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. in the museum’s Leslie Cheek Theater. For more information about Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits and programs related to the exhibition, visit www.VMFA.museum.
Tickets for the exhibition Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits are now on sale: $10 for adults and $8 for seniors 65+, youth 7–17 and college students with ID. The exhibition is free for VMFA members, children ages 6 and under, and active-duty military personnel and their immediate families.
Calling Local Artists, Two Public Projects Looking for Proposals
Three community gardens and a fire station are looking for art to spruce up their neighborhood. Both proposals have January deadlines.