Richmond, Virginia – Sixty-five years after the launch of its original Artmobile, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will once again bring traveling art exhibitions and educational offerings to audiences across the Commonwealth with VMFA on the Road: An Artmobile for the 21st Century. This state-of-the-art mobile museum and education studio makes its public debut on Oct. 30, 2018, in Fredericksburg at Hurkamp Park, 500 William Street.
The launch begins at 11 a.m. with Gov. Ralph Northam and VMFA Director Alex Nyerges providing remarks on the landmark occasion. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, attendees will be invited to board the new Artmobile to view the inaugural exhibition, How Far Can Creativity Take You? VMFA Fellowship Artists, which explores the history and impact of VMFA’s fellowship program, the largest of its kind in the United States.
Food trucks and a band playing live music will be on hand during the launch event in Hurkamp Park. Guests can make a paper lantern with Kendra Wadsworth, a VMFA statewide artist and fellowship winner. VMFA on the Road will be open until 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 30. Tours will be limited to school groups from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, with public tours being offered on Friday, Nov. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. during Fredericksburg’s First Friday. The Fredericksburg visit is organized in partnership with the Fredericksburg Area Museum.
For thirty years, FAM has been a steward of our community’s stories, objects, and art. Today, the museum is in an exciting phase of rebirth. New partnerships, collaborations, and stories are bringing new life to the organization. With these new partnerships, includes the VMFA On the Road program. The FAM is eager to work alongside the VMFA and honored to be included in the inaugural stop, as a representative for the city, its art, and history. Reviving the VMFA On the Road program and beginning its journey in Fredericksburg is a wonderful nod to the past and will inspire future generations to create their own fond memories of this state-wide program.
The Artmobile Yesterday and Today
Beginning in 1953 the original Artmobile program brought art exhibitions and educational programs to colleges, schools, and community organizations across Virginia for 40 years, reaching 2.5 million people. For many Virginians, this unique art-museum-on-wheels was their first encounter with VMFA. Since then, museums around the country and throughout the world have created their own mobile museum
“As a statewide art museum we are charged not only with welcoming visitors to our Richmond campus, but also with bringing art and educational programs to all corners of the Commonwealth,” says VMFA Director Alex Nyerges. “VMFA on the Road will allow us to significantly extend our reach so that every Virginian will have access to authentic works of art and arts-based educational programming regardless of their location or economic status. It is our hope that VMFA on the Road will transform lives and communities through the creative power of art.”
The Exhibition: How Far Can Creativity Take You?
VMFA on the Road’s inaugural exhibition explores the history and legacy of VMFA’s Statewide Fellowship Program with How Far Can Creativity Take You? VMFA Fellowship Artists. Since the program was established in 1940, VMFA has awarded more than $5 million to more than 1,300 undergraduate, graduate and professional artists, and graduate level art historians, all of whom were residents of the Commonwealth when they applied. Each year, up to 30 artists and art historians receive more than $162,000 in support.
In addition to bringing the museum experience to those outside Richmond, VMFA on the Road will include 21st-century digital components. From interactives featuring newly digitized collection images to classroom resources from the online Learn Portal, the
mobile museum will be fully integrated with VMFA’s broader digital outreach efforts. In preparation for the mobile museum’s arrival, local secondary schools can also participate in the new Evans 360 program, which enables students to interact in real time with a VMFA educator broadcasting live from the museum’s galleries.
VMFA on the Road will visit Hurkamp Park from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2. Its next scheduled stop is Nov. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Lorton for the Workhouse Arts Center’s 10th anniversary. For details on the Artmobile’s schedule, visit vmfa.museum/on-the- road. The anticipated tour schedule consists of a combination of visits to K-12 schools, short residencies at community partners such as Boys and Girls Clubs, stops at
community colleges and four-year institutions, visits to Museum Level Partners, and participation in large festivals and fairs throughout the state.
In addition to the Commonwealth of Virginia, VMFA on the Road has received generous support from the following donors: The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, William and Mary Greve Foundation, Inc., Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Miller, Dr. and Mrs. Harry A. Wellons, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Haywood Blakemore, James Hixon, Mr. and Mrs. Peter I. C. Knowles II, Wall Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. John W. West III, WestRock Foundation, Capital Bank, The Reverend Doctor Vienna Cobb Anderson, Louise B. Cochrane Foundation, Cooke Foundation, Ralph R. Crosby, Jr., Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation, Anne and Gus Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. David R. Frediani, Margaret R. Freeman, Mary Mills Freeman, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Joanne B. Robinson, and The Bob and Anna Lou Schaberg Fund at the Virginia Nonprofit Housing Coalition.