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VMFA recipient of major education endowment from philanthropist Joan P. Brock

“As a lifelong supporter of education initiatives and institutions, I am delighted to make this gift to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” explains Brock. “VMFA has become a leader in the field of museum education, and I hope this endowment will encourage further growth and innovation.” 

Trevor Dickerson

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced today the establishment of a new endowment to support education programs at the museum — the Joan P. Brock Education Endowment.

“This incredible endowment reflects the importance of education to the museum’s mission to enrich the lives of all Virginians through the arts,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “We’re immensely grateful to Joan for this profound gift, ensuring the future of the museum’s engaging education programs.”

“As a lifelong supporter of education initiatives and institutions, I am delighted to make this gift to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” explains Brock. “VMFA has become a leader in the field of museum education, and I hope this endowment will encourage further growth and innovation.”

In addition to supporting the museum’s many education programs, the endowment will also underwrite VMFA’s Director of Education and Assistant Deputy Director for Art and Education position. This fall, Celeste Fetta, the current Director of Education will become the  Joan P. Brock Director of Education and Assistant Deputy Director for Art and Education. After more than a decade in various roles in the department, Fetta became VMFA’s Director of Education in 2014. The museum’s education staff of 39 full- and part-time staff, and numerous adjunct faculty, interns and volunteers provide learning experiences and instruction for visitors of all ages, from infants to infinity. She will take on a range of new duties related to education and statewide programs, including assisting with the design and launch of the new Artmobile, VMFA on the Road.

“This is such a wonderful investment in our visitors and in VMFA’s future,” said Fetta. “From digital resources, gallery programs and lectures to summer art camps and Family Day celebrations, our education and interpretation initiatives enrich the experience of more than 550,000 participants each year. The Brock endowment will support our efforts in person and online to provide all of our visitors with a multitude of ways to engage with the museum’s collection and share their perspectives.”

“Endowments help to provide a secure future for the museum and its staff,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education. “We are immensely grateful to Joan for this transformative gift to VMFA. The Joan P. Brock Education Endowment will support Celeste and her talented team of educators as they develop and present the museum’s educational classes and programs that reach audiences of all ages throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Joan P. Brock was appointed to VMFA’s Board of Trustees in 2019, and she has been a generous supporter of the museum through membership gifts and sponsorships of The Dirty South exhibition, Fine Arts & Flowers and the installation of Kehinde Wiley’s sculpture Rumors of War.

A native of Norfolk, Brock was the first woman to preside over the Chrysler Museum Board and has also chaired the ACCESS College Foundation and Virginia Wesleyan College boards. She was a long-time associate of Dollar Tree Inc., which was co-founded by her late husband Macon Brock. Through their philanthropy and volunteer leadership, Joan and Macon have made an indelible impact on higher education, environmental stewardship and the arts in the Commonwealth.

For more information about education programs at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, visit www.VMFA.museum.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.