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Edith Shelton’s Richmond Revisited

Following the Valentine’s popular 2015 exhibition, explore mid-20th Century Richmond neighborhoods through a new selection of imagery by amateur photographer Edith Shelton.

The Valentine Studio Project

In response to calls for cultural institutions to provide an unvarnished history of Richmond’s past, the Valentine has adopted an ambitious plan: completely reinterpret Edward Valentine’s sculpture studio, where many significant Lost Cause artworks were conceived. The Valentine is now seeking community input from the greater Richmond region via a public survey on how to reimagine the space. Edward Valentine was one of the founders of the museum and played a central role in creating and disseminating Lost Cause iconography.

The “Lost Cause” is a concept adopted by former Confederates in the post-Civil War era. The term is understood to represent an inaccurate, romanticized and harmful portrayal of Antebellum life that depicts slavery as largely benign and the south as heroic in their efforts.

The newly reimagined studio would provide visitors a space to confront and reckon with the painful history of Richmond’s and the Valentine’s early role in the development and spread of the Lost Cause myth. If its transfer is approved by Richmond City Council, this space would also house the unmodified statue of Jefferson Davis, covered in paint and damaged by recent protests. Edward Valentine sculpted the Davis statue, which was installed on Monument Avenue as part of a larger piece in 1907.

The previously mentioned survey was developed by a diverse committee made up of local historians, activists, local leaders and others, with support from the University of Virginia’s Public Memory Project and members of the Valentine family. The 18-question survey must be completed by November 1. A series of focus groups will be conducted as well.

Feedback from this survey will inform and guide the Valentine Studio strategic planning process. Your input will help the Valentine understand how our community thinks and feels about these topics and how we can best serve the Richmond region in the future. We are not collecting contact information, and your answers will remain anonymous. It may take about 9 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your time and thoughtful responses.

Access the survey HERE.

DONT TOUCH MY HAIR rva 

Based on footage collected during a Richmond-based documentary directed by Dr. Chaz Antoine Barracks, PhD, DONT TOUCH MY HAIR rva explores diverse African American identity through stories of Black hair experiences. Featuring images by DeAudrea ‘Sha’ Rich and Nicholas Taylor, this media-arts project looks at Black identity by both centering and creating spaces that embody Black cultural production—and understanding everyday Black life as fine art. Beauty salons and other Black-owned locations are included as spaces of community and uninhibited joy. Look through the camera lens to explore nuanced and imaginative concepts of Black homes, which provide space to exist freely and authentically. Originally planned for a gallery space, the project paused as the creators considered how to present an art exhibition in the pandemic era. Now, experience DTMHrva at the Valentine as an exterior installation and through new film presented at the Afrikana Independent Film Festival.

Artists work featured in this current exhibition project are: DeAudrea ‘Sha’ Rich, Nicholas Taylor, NontsiKelelo Mutiti, Wes Taylor, Dr. Pamela Lawton, Tawnya “Dr. T” Pettiford-Wates, Nicholas Vega, Sasha Williams, Johannes Barfield, Christine Wyatt, Christina Nicole Miles, and many more from the Richmond Black arts community. 

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Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Roaring Twenties, the Valentine presents Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond, an exhibition of costume, textiles, art and artifacts in the Nathalie L. Klaus and Reynolds Family Galleries. The 1920s are remembered in America as a decade that “roared” with change, including urban expansion, equal suffrage, social integration, jazz music, fast dancing and short hemlines. In Richmond, the decade’s seismic social shifts unfolded against a backdrop of conservative values. Like the popular 1929 tune of the same name, Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond presents a playful commentary on Richmond’s mixed reaction to the Roaring Twenties amid a sparkling display of some of the 1920s fashions worn in the city.

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The Wickham House

A dialogue-based guided tour of the Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark built in 1812, challenges guests to explore aspects of life in the early 19th century. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine Jr. and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. This historic home allows us to tell the complicated story of the Wickham family, the home’s enslaved occupants, sharing spaces, the realities of urban slavery and more. While the Wickham House is currently closed to the public, you can experience a 360 virtual tour of the house here.

 

 

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#BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage

To highlight the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, #BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage uses modern social media platforms to profile five Richmond viewpoints and the racial and generational tensions that each exposed. Between 1909 and 1920, both pro-suffrage and anti-suffrage advocates battled tenaciously, using all the platforms available to persuade both the legislature and the general public. While they could not use Twitter or Facebook, they did rely on newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, postcards, banners, and personal accessories to proclaim their viewpoints.  Just like our complicated social media battles today, the final political and legal outcome was never a foregone conclusion.

Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic

Despite years of medical and social progress, misconceptions about HIV/AIDS persist today. The disease is viewed by many as a scourge of the past that is now easily treatable and primarily impacting gay white men. However, the numbers reveal a more complicated story—one in which gay African-American men have a 1 in 2 chance of acquiring HIV/AIDS.

Richmond’s rate of HIV infection, currently ranked 19th nationally, is exacerbated by high concentrations of poverty, lack of sex education in public schools and the continuing opioid epidemic. Featuring oral histories collected by Laura Browder and Patricia Herrera with accompanying photographic portraits by Michael Simon, Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic offers a nuanced look at the HIV/AIDS crisis through the stories of survivors, caregivers, activists and health care workers on the front lines.

This project is funded in part by Virginia Humanities.

Support is also provided by University of Richmond, Office of the Provost and Dean’s Office, School of Arts & Sciences and the following generous sponsors. 

 

WellcomeMD logo

RMHF logo

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Dressing Identity: Caring for Collections and Understanding Ourselves

Dressing Identity is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that presents a working Costume and Textiles Collections Lab as well as a gallery of objects which present powerful symbols of identity. Taken together, these galleries provide a glimpse into how both the Valentine and the larger community claim, interpret and share identity through dress.

Dressing Identity: Caring for Collections features a Collections Lab on view where visitors can watch as members of the museum’s Costume and Textile team catalog, mount, photograph, label and prepare artifacts for storage in the museum’s collection. The lab will provide museum attendees with an inside-look at how the Valentine’s historic objects are protected for generations to come.

In the second adjacent gallery and a companion to Dressing Identity: Caring For Collections,  Dressing Identity: Understanding Ourselves presents visible manifestations of grief, pride, honor, ambition, fear and joy. These objects from our collection speak in a broad array of symbolic languages that reflect the rich diversity of Richmond but also communicate a message that is shared by us all.

 

 

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Developing Richmond: Photographs from the Cook Studio

When photographer George S. Cook relocated with his family to Richmond in 1880, he arrived in a city caught between the old and the new: Richmond bustled with post-Civil War construction and economic enterprise even while it held onto the antebellum social and political order.

Acquired by the Valentine Museum in 1954, the Cook Studio’s more than 10,000 negatives and prints visually document Richmond at the turn of the 20th century.  Experience imagery taken by George and his son Huestis Cook of this conflicted and changing city.

 

Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion

Following Monumental: Richmond’s Monuments (1607-2018), the Valentine is hosting Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion. The Storefront for Community Design and the mObstudiO at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts invited teams of planners, architects, designers, artists and individuals to participate in a national design competition to conceptually re-imagine Monument Avenue and contribute to the ongoing dialogue about race, memory, the urban landscape and public art. The finalists are featured in this one-of-a-kind exhibition at the Valentine.

Visit www.monumentavenuegdgd.com for details.

Competition Partners