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Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Whistler and More Coming to Radford
for VMFA 75th Anniversary

RADFORD -- Radford University has been chosen by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to kick off its 75th anniversary celebration by hosting the “Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Whistler: Masterpieces of World Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” collection from January 21 - March 4, 2011 at the RU Art Museum at the Covington Center.

Built in Richmond in 1936, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) was designed with one purpose in mind: to serve as the state's flagship art museum and headquarters for an art educational network bringing masterpieces through the ages into every corner of the Commonwealth.

Wheat Field Behind Saint-Paul Hospital by Vincent Van Gogh

“We are thrilled to be able to share the treasures of the museum with the Radford community and inaugurate our 75th anniversary,” said Robin Nicholson, VMFA deputy director for art and education. “As the largest statewide art museum in the country, VMFA is always looking for opportunities to share its collections and programs throughout the state.”

Radford University is honored to cap off its own 100-year centennial celebration as one of the finest institutions of higher learning in southwest Virginia with the exclusive distinction of representing VMFA's first special collection showcasing its storied 75-year history as the pinnacle of artistic excellence in Virginia.

“What we’re truly getting is a microcosm of their entire collection,” said Richard Bay, associate professor of art/art education and co-director of the RU Art Museum. “Other than making a special trip to Washington, D.C., or Richmond, some of the students and people in southwest Virginia may never get a chance to see anything like this again.”

The timeless collection showcases some of the finest works from more than 30 artistic masters worldwide, highlighted by selected pieces from legends, such as Post-Impressionistic icon Vincent Van Gogh, American impressionist James Abbot McNeil Whistler, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, contemporary artist and Virginia-native Sally Mann, and much more.

Bringing the collection to Radford has been a year-long process taking a dedicated campus-wide effort. While The Gallery at the Covington Center provides the main gallery for the Radford University Art Museum – it has more than 2,000 square feet of exhibition space – to be selected by the VMFA to house the exclusive three-month long art exhibition, the RU Art Museum underwent a significant renovation campaign featuring major site renovations, such as the museum's installation of new bamboo floors, climate controls, museum-standard lighting and enhanced security measures.

“We have a long history of working with partners who are upgrading their museum and gallery facilities to ensure they meet the standards necessary to display our collections,” Nicholson said. “VMFA staff consulted on many aspects of the new (RU Art Museum) facility—security, interiors, storage, HVAC—in the hope that this facility would enable Radford to become one of our museum partners. This hope has been vindicated.”

“Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Whistler: Masterpieces of World Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for RU, the community, historians and art aficionados alike.

“A museum is about educating our students, faculty and the public as to how to view and appreciate art at the highest level,” said Bay. “It's about planting that seed in someone’s mind and in their heart about the beauty that’s truly in the world and created by these individual artistic masters across time.”

December 16, 2010
Keith Hagarty; 540-831-7749

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