Melding Four Centuries of Richmond Art and History

The Valentine Core Gallery Developed and Designed by Richmond Artists

A redesigned gallery space at the Valentine in Richmond’s Court End neighborhood features a new take on telling Richmond’s stories. This is Richmond, Virginia curators David Voelkel and Meg Hughes have created a compelling exhibition of Richmond heritage and lifestyle by showcasing many previously unseen objects from the 1.6 million collection of Valentine art and historical objects.


Nancy E. Beck, Decorative Painter

To orient guests entering the new space, the Valentine resurrects an old form of commercial art – the urban map. Restoration artist Nancy Beck has created a floor painting of an 1856 map of the City of Richmond featuring early neighborhoods such as Oregon Hill, Manchester and Chimborazo Hill, tied together by the mighty James River. Beck, educated at Virginia Commonwealth University, restores old buildings and antiques using sophisticated techniques in decorative wall painting, gilding and reverse glass painting.

View a gallery of Nancy’s work 

Map of the City of Richmond, 1856
Henrico County, Virginia
M. Ellyson
Gift of Mrs. Sarah Baughman Wills


Wendy Umanoff, Lighting Designer

Richmonder Wendy Umanoff says the chandelier she created for the Valentine is as unique as the museum itself. Known for re-purposing found objects, Umanoff uses skills in textural design to add dimension to her one-of-a-kind pieces. Her creations are popular among North American design firms and are shown in places as distant as Hawaii, Toronto and Dubai. For the Valentine piece, Umanoff designed a whimsically sophisticated chandelier to welcome guests into the museum, taking her inspiration from the eclectic Valentine collection, especially the aged pull-toys once painted with primary colors but muted over 100-plus years. Like the Valentine, the chandelier incorporates pieces of Richmond history — some from vintage chandelier glass, reclaimed metal flower shades and a bird in flight, and countless more items. Each tells a story, like the Valentine, that makes up a bigger whole of how community is created.

View a gallery of Wendy’s work

Glavé and Holmes Architects

Richmond architectural firm, Glavé and Holmes, which designed the Valentine renovation project, was founded in part by Jim Glavé, whose original passion was revitalization and restoration. Today, the firm is an outgrowth of the sixties change-agent and operates six studios. The cultural studio focuses on places such as the Valentine and Colonial Williamsburg Foundation where communities congregate, learn and reflect.

Riggs Ward, Exhibition Designers

Design firm Riggs Ward developed the This is Richmond, Virginia exhibition together with curators Voelkel and Hughes. With many cultural institutions to its credit, including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, this Richmond firm helps people navigate America’s cultural heritage.