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A New “VMFA on the Road” mobile exhibition trailer offers spsace for more visitors, works of art

VMFA on the Road travels across Virginia, from the Eastern Shore to the mountains of the Southwest, where it can be found at fairs, festivals, schools, libraries, museums and other community centers throughout the state.

Trevor Dickerson

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is thrilled to announce that VMFA on the Road: Artmobile for the 21st Century hits the road this week in a newly acquired state-of-the-art trailer. Generously funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the new VMFA on the Road trailer was designed using recent technological advancements and offers more than 100 square feet of additional exhibition space, allowing the museum to show more works of art representing a variety of mediums, including three-dimensional works for the first time. The expanded trailer was built by Kentucky Trailer and its attractive exhibition space was fabricated and installed by Explus. When the new vehicle takes to the road this week, it will house an exciting new exhibition, Love, Laughter, Tears: An Artist’s Guide to Emotions, featuring paintings, prints, photographs and film from the museum’s permanent collection.

“In addition to the museum’s Richmond campus, where visitors can enjoy our permanent art collections and educational programs 365 days a year, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts strives to bring art to all corners of the Commonwealth,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “VMFA on the Road now offers greater capacity for more works of art and more visitors. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the new Artmobile trailer ensures the museum can serve the citizens of Virginia for many years to come.”

VMFA on the Road travels across Virginia, from the Eastern Shore to the mountains of the Southwest, where it can be found at fairs, festivals, schools, libraries, museums and other community centers throughout the state. The Artmobile directly supports VMFA’s mission to act as an educational institution that enriches the lives of all Virginians.

The new vehicle will make its first stop at Virginia Beach on October 19, 2023, for a residency at the Boardwalk Art Show. Additional VMFA on the Road stops will be scheduled throughout the state in places such as Ashland, Bristol, Farmville, Hampton, Lynchburg, Madison, Rustburg, Surry, the town of Cape Charles, Tazewell County and West Point.

The new exhibition Love, Laughter, Tears: An Artist’s Guide to Emotions will showcase the universality of human emotions. The exhibition will consider the relationship between art and feeling and how artistic depictions of emotions can connect humanity and foster mutual understanding. Emotion and expression are integral to the creative process of artmaking as artists utilize color, shapes, symbols and text to convey the complexities of humanity.

Love, Laughter, Tears: An Artist’s Guide to Emotions will also show how artworks can reflect an individual’s emotions or the wider mood of a culture or historical period, shedding light on events and their impact on people. Each of the 15 diverse artworks in this exhibition represents certain emotions that the artist has created to express themselves or their community. Viewers will experience a dynamic compilation of art spanning cultures and time periods by artists such as Kiyoshi Saito (Japanese, 1907–1997), Stephen Shames (American, born 1947), Gabriel Sunday Tenabe (Nigerian, born 1941) and Nell Blaine (American, 1922–1996). This exhibition will also include the Artmobile’s first-ever film, First Landings by Virginia artists Ethan Brown (Pamunkey Tribal Citizen, born 1988) and Federico Cuatlacuatl (Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, born 1991).

“Viewers of Love, Laughter, Tears: An Artist’s Guide to Emotions will experience art’s powerful ability to communicate feelings and messages, and to foster conversations and understanding,” said Jeffrey Allison, VMFA’s Director of Statewide Programs and Exhibitions and Paul Mellon Collection Educator. “We encourage everyone to enjoy this thoughtful exhibition in the new trailer when VMFA on the Road visits a location near them.”

Admission to VMFA on the Road is free. More information about the museum’s Statewide Partners program and VMFA on the Road can be found at www.VMFA.museum.

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