Drawing on the Valentine’s extensive collection of historic and contemporary costume and textiles, Our Hearts On Our Sleeves celebrates Richmond’s devotion to diverse creative expression. The fashion and fiber arts have long played an important role in Richmond’s creative community, enlivening Richmond’s streets, shops, galleries, museums, and performance spaces. Codes of dress and works of art have both been employed to communicate or challenge cultural values and to reinforce or subvert social structures. Embedded within these tools of identity construction is a dual nature that invites dynamic exchange about both the personal and the communal experience.
Our Hearts on Our Sleeves examines Richmond’s longstanding infatuation with the arts as articulated through individual style and communal support of avant-garde fashion and fiber art. Like the murals that adorn the city’s buildings, textiles adorn citizen’s bodies uniting artistic expression with self-actualization, creativity with civic service, and traditional techniques with profound irreverence.