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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts[VMFA]

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VMFA is a state-supported, privately endowed educational institution created for the benefit of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art, to encourage the study of the arts, and thus to enrich the lives of all.

Serving Virginia, looking out to the world: The development of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

In the midst of the Great Depression, on January 16, 1936, Virginia's political and business leaders bravely demonstrated their faith in the future and their belief in the value of art by opening the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The English Renaissance-style headquarters building designed by Peebles and Ferguson Architects of Norfolk barely hinted at the innovative mandate given to the fledgling institution: the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was to serve as the state's flagship art museum and as the headquarters for an educational network that would bring the best of world art, past and present, to every corner of the commonwealth.

The idea of a state-operated art museum in Richmond, and the beginnings of an unusual partnership between private donors and state legislators, actually surfaced long before the new museum was built. In 1919, Judge John Barton Payne, a prominent Virginian who held high offices in law and national politics, donated his entire collection of 50 paintings to the commonwealth. Gifts of art to the state from other donors soon followed, and in 1932 Judge Payne proposed a $100,000 challenge grant to build a museum for this burgeoning public art collection.

The challenge was accepted by Virginia Governor John Garland Pollard. He not only helped to raise funds from private donors, but also promoted the use of state revenues to support the new museum's operating expenses. Virginia's General Assembly approved legislation authorizing the museum on March 27, 1934. With additional funds from the Federal Works Projects Administration, Judge Payne's dream became a reality.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Mon10:00 AM5:00 PM
Tue10:00 AM5:00 PM
Wed10:00 AM5:00 PM
Thr10:00 AM9:00 PM
Fri10:00 AM9:00 PM
Sat10:00 AM5:00 PM
Sun10:00 AM5:00 PM
Notes: None Listed


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