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Historic Richmond, Virginia has a vibrant and growing contemporary arts community that brings internationally renowned artists to Richmond while promoting local, Virginian talent. From the privately owned Virginia Museum of Fine Arts dating back to 1936, to artist-run galleries and Richmond First Fridays, the city is establishing itself as a worthy arts destination. These are ten of the best contemporary art galleries and museums in Richmond, and an extra university-based art space to complement any cultural tour of the city.
Just a few minutes’ walk from downtown Richmond resides Art Works, a spacious and contemporary arts centre that features five different gallery spaces and several studios. Opened in 2003 by co-owners and artists Paula Demmert and Glenda Kotchish, Art Works exhibits new works on a monthly basis, was established to provide support for artists based in Richmond and the surrounding area. The gallery currently has a number of resident artists including Chester, Virginia-based Steven Lloyd whose abstract metal art uses transparent urethane paint on metal to give a hologramic effect to his unique pieces, and biomechanical sculptor James Ross who uses antique medical equipment, vintage jewellery and machine parts to make his steampunk-like creations.
Art Works, 320 Hull Street, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804 291 1400
Reynolds Gallery is the namesake of its owner and director Beverly Reynolds who for the past 30 years has strived to promote the contemporary arts scene in Richmond by exhibiting exciting and creative new works by local, national and international contemporary artists. The gallery, which runs an average of 15 new exhibitions each year, features 4,400 square feet of exhibition space and has shown works by American contemporary greats such as Jasper Johns and Ellsworth Kelly. Recently, the Reynolds Gallery acquired a number of new works that include pieces by American painter Donald Baechler, whose work draws elements from folk, outsider and pop art, and Norwegian artist Anne-Karin Furunes, who creates large-scale portraits from historical photographs by first painting and then perforating canvasses.
Reynolds Gallery, 1514 West Main Street, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804 355 6553
Artspace, a non-profit gallery, started life in 1988 as an artist-run collective aiming to reach out to a wide audience. Artspace, which is located within the Plant Zone Art Center in Richmond’s historic Manchester District, has maintained a gallery since then that showcases innovative, cutting-edge visual contemporary art alongside performance art including drama, dance, poetry and music. The gallery has in recent years exhibited the works of artists including North Carolina-based printmaker Scott Ludwig, who employs a variety of media including photography and drawing in his prints, and Korean-born ceramic artist Sukjin Choi. The Artspace artist collective currently includes local painters Kathleen Westkaemper and Dana Frostick, and every other year the gallery hosts ThinkSmall, an international exhibition featuring works from over 200 artists.
Artspace Gallery, 0 East 4th Street, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804 232 6464
Located in Richmond’s Jackson Ward district, Gallery 5 opened in 2005 with a twofold mission – to establish a space where cutting-edge, progressive visual and performing artists at all stages in their careers showcase their work, and at the same time save the life of one of Richmond’s historic buildings – Steamer Company No. 5, the gallery’s home which was built in 1849 and is the city’s oldest police station and Virginia’s oldest firehouse. Gallery 5 holds new exhibitions each month in conjunction with Richmond’s First Friday Art Walks and in 2012, the gallery was named ‘Best Independent Arts Gallery’ by local magazines Style Weekly in its Best of Richmond awards. Among others, the gallery has exhibited works by realist figurative painter Sean Mahan and paper sculptor Matthew Shlian.
Gallery 5, 200 West Marshall Street, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804 644 0005
Ghostprint Gallery was opened in 1999 with the aim of redefining interpretations of ‘fine art’ by showcasing art from undiscovered contemporary talents and internationally renowned artists working across a range of traditional and non-traditional mediums. The gallery, which is cooperatively owned by art dealer Geraldine Duskin and her daughter Dorothea, a mixed media artist and tattooist, gets its name from the printmaking process of producing a faint impression of an original print. Ghostprint Gallery recently exhibited a series of dreamlike paintings by Brooklyn-based French-Tahitian artist Tifenn Python and currently represents artists such as Benjamin Sack and his captivatingly detailed paper and ink creations, and Juan Perdiguero, who incorporates animals into his work.
Ghostprint Gallery, 1202 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804 344 1557