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Celebrate Black artists, the stories they tell, and the depth and breadth of the museum’s collections and exhibitions. VMFA hosts programs for all ages throughout February and beyond. Visit the museum 365 days a year for up-close experiences with extraordinary works of art by African American artists. Get the details at VMFA.museum/black-history-month-2023.
EXHIBITION | Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass
Through Jul 9, 2023
Immerse yourself in the life and words of Frederick Douglas in this large-scale film installation. The sights and sounds in Julien’s work collapse time and space, bringing the historical figure to life for modern audiences in a profoundly resonating experience.
EXHIBITION | A Powerful Influence: Early Photographs of African Americans from the Collection of Dennis O. Williams
Through May 8, 2023
Drawn from the collection of Dennis O. Williams, 25 portraits of Black Americans—some enslaved, others free—offer a powerful and poignant way to explore these complicated histories. This installation includes daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and early works on paper made from the 1840s through the 1880s.
EXHIBITION | Ebony Patterson: … three kings weep …
Through February 28, 2023
Experience the visuals, sound, and emotion in this large-scale video installation created by Jamaican-born artist Ebony Patterson. Shown slowly in reverse, Patterson’s film portrays a trilogy of three men, each on a separate screen, dressing themselves while tears quietly roll down their cheeks. These figures occupy a chapel-like space where viewers can sit and contemplate their presence.
INSTALLATION | RVA Community Makers
February 16–March 17, 2023
Now in its 5th year, RVA Community Makers is an annual community-activated public art project presented by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and led by artist Hamilton Glass. Coinciding with VMFA’s celebration of Black History Month, the yearly project honors African American leaders from a variety of fields.
ALSO ON VIEW | VMFA’s Permanent Collection
In 1944, only nine years after opening its doors, VMFA acquired its first work by an African American artist. Since that time, the Museum has remained steadfast in building a collection reflective of the African American experience and expression.
PERFORMING ARTS | Dominion Energy Jazz in the Atrium
Every Wed | 6–8 pm
PERFORMING ARTS | VMFA After 5 Fridays
Fri, Feb 3 | 6–8 pm
Sun, Feb 5
1–3 pm | Studio 1: Create a colorful movie poster with artist Hamilton Glass and videographer Myles Brown
12–3 pm | Studio 2: Create a multimedia abstract ink blot painting
GALLERY PROGRAM | 3 in 30: The Socio-Political Landscape in 21st-Century Art
Tue, Feb 7 | 11–11:30 am
VIRTUAL PROGRAM | 3 in 30: The Socio-Political Landscape in 21st-Century Art
Thu, Feb 9 | 11–11:30 am
Free Admission; Registration via Zoom Required
PERFORMING ARTS | Dominion Energy Jazz Around the Museum
Wed, Feb 15 | 6–8 pm
COMMUNITY RECOGNITION PROGRAM | RVA Community Makers Unveiling
Thu, Feb 16 | 6–7 pm
FILM | Leadbelly (1976)
Friday, Feb 17 | 6:30–9 pm
$8 ($5 VMFA members)
GALLERY PROGRAM | African American Read-In
Thu, Feb 23 | 5:30–7:30 pm
GALLERY PROGRAM | African American Read In for Families
Sat, Feb 25 | 11 am–12:30 pm
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