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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts : Open, Integrated Into The Community Fabric

Somehow, I was invited to the press tour of the soon-to-be-open-after-years-of-construction Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Honeychiles, you know I'm no writer. But I *jumped* at the chance to see the new architecture, the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing, and the amazing collections of beloved art!!!

Walking in, the open yet connectedness of all the different parts of the museum made me feel relaxed, not overwhelmed.  I am very sensitive to artificial light or any feeling of being hemmed in - I felt led gently by the architecture from one area to another, not confined by it.

Rick Mather may have been stuck in London (um, thanks volcanic ash cloud), but the architecture team was well represented. Here are some of his thoughts and feelings about this project.  They mentioned how even before the architects began to think of the new wing, they diagrammed the existing galleries and wings created in different eras over the last seventy years before considering the new architecture, and how to best integrate it all with each other and into the community, today.

Thanks to Bill Richards of The Virginia Center For Architecture, I unwittingly stalked and caught a very nice architect on the team who explained the challenge of taking English architecture and adjusting it to work in the United States. [Don't forget there are totally different sets of codes, certifications, etc. which colleagues have discussed at length on twitter. (Thank you, English architecture twitter friends!)]

Another aspect of museum architecture to consider here in energy efficiency is how to control the temperature throughout, so that natural light and height can be prevalent, yet visitors can traverse these areas with consistent and comfortable temperatures. They did a great job.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - An Architect Speaks

I am very excited to have the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts accessible again.
The collections are some of the best in the world.
It was amazing to stroll through the galleries and remember each piece and setting I had admired as a child, seen now, in updated settings. Alex Nyerges, director, explains:

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Press Opening

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts further proves its determination to be accessible for all: 

When they reopen, they will no longer charge admission.
Grateful, I will make sure my donations are even larger when I visit.

You might wonder:
WHAT was it like to wander a museum full of treasures, some of the most amazing collections in the world: some of the best modern art, FabergĂ©, Dali, Monet; Egyptian, Asian, and African art; mid-century furniture, art deco and art nouveau bedroom suites, 1800s silverware...  unfettered?
How would YOU feel?!?
How would you feel just walking about, meandering through spaces where there was priceless art still on the floor as they readied the exhibit rooms?

Where construction was ongoing, banging, drilling, painting as you strolled through?!?

Who are we kidding, IT WAS COOL!!!
It was one of the GREATEST MOMENTS I have had in awhile...

Go see it for yourself.
Make it a day, you won't be sorry.

It's a great time to live in or visit Richmond.

Constance Costas, editor of Skirt! Richmond, said it well:

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Press Opening

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At 4/23/10, 12:21 PM , Blogger Amy said...

Ooooooo... I don't remembering seeing that particular Salvador Dali piece last time I went. I'm all over it. When do they reopen, you know, for the not 'pink and famous'?


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