Visual Arts Center of Richmond
|Founder||Elisabeth Scott Bocock|
|Ava Spece, President and CEO; Carter Reid, Board Chair|
|10 Full Time, 8 Part Time, and 120 Faculty|
|175 Regular Volunteers and 23 Board Members|
|Slogan||Art for Everyone. Creativity for Life.|
|Mission||The Visual Arts Center of Richmond engages the community in the creative process through the visual arts.|
Visual Arts Center of Richmond, also known as VisArts or Visual Arts Center, (formerly called, The Hand Workshop) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) arts center in Richmond, VA.  It is located at 1812 West Main Street in Richmond, VA, and was founded in 1963. The organization serves 28,000 people annually and its core programming includes art classes for adults and children, a free admission gallery (True F. Luck Gallery) with at least 6 exhibitions annually, and multiple outreach programs providing arts learning to children and seniors in need. The Visual Arts Center of Richmond places a high priority on making sure that arts learning is accessible to all residents in the Richmond region through free programming, low cost options, and scholarship funds. Approximately 42% of the organization's revenue is dependent upon the donations and contributions of individuals, corporations, foundations, and sponsors in the Richmond region, the State of Virginia, and the United States. In 2012, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond was awarded funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The organization is also supported by The Virginia Commission for the Arts.
- 1 History
- 2 Directors
- 3 Programs
- 4 Craft + Design Show
- 5 Exhibitions
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The organization was founded by Elisabeth Scott Bocock and first operated out of a house in Church Hill in Richmond, VA, in The Whitlock House. In 1985, the Center moved to the historic Virginia Dairy building on Main Street. The organization completed renovations to the 30,000 square foot space in 2008, tripling the size of the facility. The Visual Arts Center is one of the largest nongovernmental arts education organizations in Virginia.
- 1962 Founders and trustees incorporate Hand Workshop. The primary mission was to "provide an outlet for craftsmen of good workmanship; to present to the public the art of crafts through demonstrations and exhibits; to promote and stimulate fine crafts in every way possible.
- 1963 Hand Work-Shop opens to the public on May 2, 1963 at 316 N. 24th Street, The Whitlock House which was built in 1840. The opening included demonstrations of "the fine stitchery" of Marie Pietri.
- 1963 First exhibition featuring the paintings of Lindsay Nolting.
- 1964 Betty Conway Thompson becomes director.
- 1964 Second exhibition, A Sculptor’s Crafts, is presented and includes 70 artists and craftsmen.
- 1964 Elisabeth Scott Bocock purchases 318 N. 24th ST. building and donates it to the organization.
- 1964 First craft fair is held with three crafts guilds represented (woodworking, potter's wheel and silversmithing) with a focus on the "contemporary tradition"
- 1965 Elisabeth Scott Bocock establishes a trust fund to provide $9,500 annually for a period of ten years to pay for operating expenses of the organization.
- 1966 The Hand Workshop is approved as a charitable educational institution
- 1967 Salvation Army Boys Club, Chamberlayne YWCA and Hand Work Shop collaborate to offer classes to Church Hill children and teens
- 1971 Ruth Thompson Summers becomes director
- 1972 The Hand Workshop has a booth at the Virginia State Fair with demonstrations by several artist instructors.
- 1973 Hand Work Shop studies feasibility of establishing a school of crafts
- 1976 Craft Fair moves to Richmond Arena
- 1978 Hand Workshop relocates to 5-7 N. Sixth Street.
- 1981 Hand Workshop offices move to 1001 E. Clay Street with Arts Council Of Richmond (Decatur O. Davis House, National Register of Historic Places, #127-0177); classes held at Jewish Community Center
- 1981 Jan Detter becomes director.
- 1983 Hand Workshop presents special “Craft & Industry” exhibition at June Jubilee
- 1985 Hand Workshop moves to 1812 W. Main Street - all programming reunited in one facility
- 1985 Paula Owen becomes director
- 1988 Exhibition gallery space doubles in size
- 1994 National Endowment for the Arts Chairwoman Jane Alexander visits in recognition of its Advancement grant to the Hand Workshop
- 1995 City of Richmond awards Certificate of Recognition to Hand Workshop and others for Fairfield Court Elementary School’s arts in education program
- 2000 Jo Kennedy becomes director
- 2002 Hand Workshop purchases 1812 W. Main Street
- 2004 Hand Workshop Art Center collaborates with Virginia Commonwealth University and Carver Elementary School for the public art project, “In Peace and Harmony: Carver Portraits,” featuring new work by photographer Wendy Ewald
- 2005 Hand Workshop Art Center becomes Visual Arts Center of Richmond and first phase of building renovation is completed
- 2006 Visual Arts Center is awarded $250,000 challenge grant by the Kresge Foundation
- 2007 Craft & Design Show moves to Science Museum of Virginia
- 2007 Challenge 2007 Capital Campaign raises more than $6 million to complete the final phase of renovation to the West Main building
- 2008 VisArts joins the Podium Foundation to advocate for improving the teaching and learning of writing skills and artful expression in Richmond’s public schools
- 2009 Fresh Ink reading series launches in collaboration with Blackbird, Chop Suey Books, and the Library of Virginia
- 2009 Space of Her Own (SOHO) mentoring program begins with partners Friends Association for Children
- 2010 Studio S program offers classes to seniors
- 2011 Improve and expand the glass studio and create a new letterpress studio
- 2012 Ava Spece becomes director
- 2013 Visual Arts Center of Richmond celebrates 50 years of providing arts learning opportunities to the Richmond region. 1963-2013
Classes and Education
- The Visual Arts Center of Richmond teaches a broad range of studio classes and workshops. Approximately 5,000 adults and children take classes each year. The center provides opportunities for people to express themselves through clay, wood, fiber, painting, photography, printmaking, glass, metal, drawing, writing and the decorative arts. The Visual Arts Center maintains a teaching roster of over 120 teaching artists. Through other educational workshops, experiences, and gallery exhibitions, the Visual Arts Center serves more than 28,000 individuals annually.
Outreach and Free Programming
- The Visual Arts Center of Richmond provides multiple opportunities for the general public to participate in art learning and art making at free events including open houses, First Friday (public event) activities and workshops, and art exhibitions.
- The organization has extensive outreach programming, in addition to regular tuition-based offerings. 2012-13 outreach partnerships include: Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, Richmond Public Schools & Communities in Schools, Richmond Public Library, William Byrd Community House, Podium Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA Growing Younger, The Senior Center, Peter Paul Development Center, Anna Julia Cooper School, Friends Association for Children, Weinstein JCC, School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC), and The Virginia Home.
- Outreach programs providing arts learning opportunities include Space of Her Own (SOHO), Art After School, ArtVenture, ENGAGE: Field Trips and Side-By-Side, and Studio S (for seniors).
Art After School
- Art After School is an outreach program that engages over 600 young people annually in multi-week classes in visual and literary arts. More than 70 classes are offered throughout the school year (September–May) at the center and off-site partnership facilities. Current partnerships include: the Richmond City Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, Binford Middle School, Albert Hill Middle School, William Byrd Community House, Podium Foundation, and School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC).
Space of Her Own (SOHO)
- SOHO is a partnership between VisArts and Anna Julia Cooper School that brings together 12 pre-teen girls and 12 volunteer professional women from the Richmond region who serve as mentors throughout the school-year program (September – May). Weekly, teaching artists lead activities and workshops that allow young women to create a “space of her own”. SOHO is sited as a powerful program in increasing awareness and the strength of both the young girls who participate as well as the professional women who volunteer. SOHO culminates in a bedroom makeover for each girl in the program, utilizing the art and craft items created by the paired teams. SOHO utilizes a leadership and life-skills curricula designed by BOUNCE and follows the National Mentoring Partnerhship’s model program guidelines.
- Studio S morning classes provide seniors in need with the opportunity to explore and share ideas in a creative and supportive environment. Participating students are ages 65 and up. Studio S program offers a series of visual and literary arts classes designed to enrich minds, bodies, and spirits of seniors in the Richmond community.
- The Visual Arts Center of Richmond regularly solicits and collects donations to support scholarships for students in need. This is supported primarily through individual contributions. The West Cary Group developed a scholarship fund called Scholarship for Creativity in 2012. The VisArts Clay Guild also initiated a fund (Richard McCord Scholarship Fund for Emerging Artists - of all ages) in 2013. The development of scholarship opportunities for students directly ties to the organization's mission to make arts learning accessible for everyone in the region.
- VisArts provides free ENGAGE: Field Trips to students/teachers from throughout the region, that encourage interaction with the concurrent art exhibit through a hands-on station, a written youth education guide, a docent-led tour, and a relevant studio project. Engage workshops are available to the general public monthly. ENGAGE: Side by Side offers a variety of two-hour workshops related to the concurrent gallery exhibition. Participants are teams of children and adults. There is a small fee to participate for the general public. Big Brothers Big Sisters teams (Bigs and Littles) participate for free as part of the outreach programming of the center. Materials provided and docent tours are written to Virginia state and U.S. national learning standards in the visual arts (Standards of Learning, or SOLs).
Craft + Design Show
Each fall in November, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond holds Richmond's annual Craft and Design Show, a show of high-quality craft artisans from throughout the country. The event has been held annually since 1964. The main priority of the Saturday/Sunday show is to present high-quality artisans and craftsmen to the Richmond Community. There are approximately 60 booths and the event is currently held at the Science Museum of Virginia.
The Visual Arts Center of Richmond houses an 1800 square foot gallery space, the True F. Luck Gallery, which offers at least 5 exhibits annually. The gallery program also includes an extensive field trip program called ENGAGE, which serves hundreds of children each year. In addition, the ENGAGE program includes a Side-By-Side experience/program that brings adults and children together in teams to create art based on the concurrent exhibit on display. Artists of national and local reputation as well as up-and-coming artists are featured, with a focus on exhibiting media which can be learned in the center's studios and classes. In 2012-13, the artist roster has included Oscar Munoz, Megan Marlatt, Aggie Zed, and Harvey Littleton.
- VisArts provides free field trips to students/teachers from throughout the region, that encourage interaction with the concurrent art exhibit through a hands-on station, a written youth education guide, a docent-led tour, and a relevant studio project.
- Engage workshops are available to the general public monthly. ENGAGE: Side by Side offers a variety of two-hour workshops related to the concurrent gallery exhibition. Participants are teams of children and adults. There is a small fee to participate for the general public. Big Brothers Big Sisters teams (Bigs and Littles) participate for free as part of the outreach programming of the center. Materials provided and docent tours are written to Virginia state and U.S. national learning standards in the visual arts (Standards of Learning, or SOL).
-  Better Business Bureau
-  Virginia is for Lovers website
-  GuideStar website
-  NEA grant recipient list
-  Virginia Commission for the Arts
-  Visual Arts Center website
-  Old House Diaries website
-  VisArts outreach programming webpage
-  West Cary Group website
-  VisArts webpage for Engage activities
-  WTVR Antoinette Essa
-  VisArts webpage for C+D
-  VisArts webpage for Gallery programming