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Arts & Entertainment

VMFA announces free admission for state employees, teachers to upcoming exhibition

The exhibition, Dawoud Bey: Elegy, features landscape photography and film installations exploring early African American experiences.

Trevor Dickerson



The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced today that Commonwealth of Virginia employees and preschool and K–12 teachers (public and private) will receive free admission to the new exhibition Dawoud Bey: Elegy. Active-duty military and their immediate families can also receive free admission to special exhibitions through the museum’s year-round participation in the Blue Star Museums program. The exhibition is now on view at VMFA through February 25, 2024.

A profound meditation on early experiences of African Americans in the United States, Dawoud Bey: Elegy marks the first exhibition of three photographic series and two film installations by renowned contemporary artist Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953). Elegy also debuts Bey’s new photographic series, Stony the Road (2023), as well as the artist’s latest film, 350,000 (2023), both created in Richmond.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a significant cultural and educational resource for all Virginians,” said VMFA’s Director and CEO Alex Nyerges. “With a series of new works that explore Virginia’s connection to our nation’s history, I encourage all Commonwealth employees and educators to enjoy free admission to the exhibition Dawoud Bey: Elegy. This important exhibition, which spotlights the artist’s brilliant historical landscape, offers visitors space to contemplate America’s past, present and future.”

The historically grounded images included in the exhibition spur moving experiences, inviting visitors to become active participants within Bey’s immersive compositions. From the Richmond Slave Trail, where enslaved Africans were first marched onto auction blocks, to the plantations of Louisiana where enslaved people lived and labored, to the last stages of the Underground Railroad in Ohio, a route fugitive slaves traveled in their quest for freedom, Bey’s powerful images evoke both factual and imagined realities.

Commonwealth employees and educators must show their employee IDs or badges at the Visitor Services Desk in the museum when picking up their tickets. One free ticket is available per badge. Reservations for first-available tickets to the exhibition can also be made in person at the Visitor Services Desk.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open 365 days a year with free general admission. In keeping with its annual schedule, the museum will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Dawoud Bey: Elegy is organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. See the museum’s complete exhibition schedule at

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