Wickham House 200: Inspiring New Art Two Centuries Later

The Valentine Richmond History Center is offering a unique opportunity to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts community to install works of art in the 1812 Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark, located at1015 East Clay Street in the Court End neighborhood, including the exterior Gray Family Terrace and the Valentine Garden.

Call for Proposals

The Valentine Richmond History Center is offering a unique opportunity to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts community to install works of art in the 1812 Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark, located at1015 East Clay Street in the Court End neighborhood, including the exterior Gray Family Terrace and the Valentine Garden.

Proposed works can be three-dimensional objects, self-supporting two-dimensional works, installation pieces, or other media.  The unique design of the house should inspire all proposed works.

The house, completed in 1812, is an outstanding example of early 19th century, Federal style architecture and features neoclassical interior design elements. It was built by John Wickham, a real estate investor and successful attorney who defended Vice-President Aaron Burr during his trial for treason. The first-floor of the house is furnished to represent an 1820 inventory. The basement and second story are minimally furnished. Proposed works can be installed throughout the house, with some limitations (see General Guidelines below).

Read about the Wickham House.

Download the flyer (PDF)

For a free guided tour, contact Jackie Mullins, Valentine Richmond History Center Registrar/Collections Manager.  Be sure to indicate that you are interested in submitting a proposal so that the tour will include specifications about where work can be installed.

Proposals will be accepted until 5pm on Friday, November 16, 2012 for an exhibition that opens on Monday, January 28, 2013.  Selected pieces will be installed January 14-25, 2013 via appointment with Jackie Mullins, Valentine Richmond History Center Registrar/Collections Manager.

Proposals should include:

  1. Resume or curriculum vitae (be sure to include your name, address, email address, area of study, and student status [e.g., senior, first-year graduate student, etc.)
  2. Budget that includes materials, installation and supplies up to $250
  3. Portfolio of 5-7 works
  4. Statement of Intent (not to exceed 500 words)
    • describe the proposed work, including materials to be used and specify whether or not the proposed piece is intended for one-day display
    • explain the particular way in which it responds to the Wickham House
    • note the specific location in the house or its exterior terrace and garden

Proposals will be accepted digitally by sending materials to jmullins@richmondhistorycenter.com, by mail or can be dropped off at the front desk of the Valentine Richmond History Center located at 1015 East Clay Street.

Selected proposals will be granted a stipend provided by a generous donation by Pamela and William Royall, Jr.

Artists will be notified if their proposal has been selected by Friday, November 30, 2012.

General Guidelines for Wickham House 200

  1. Artist should make appointments with Jackie Mullins, Registrar/Collections Manager to ask questions, schedule tours and work in the house.  The Wickham House will be available for appointments Tuesday – Friday, 12:00pm – 4:00pm.
  1. Each artist should plan to complete their piece before arriving on-site.  The Richmond History Center will provide a room for pre-assembly/staging.  This space is not to be used as an artist studio as it is a classroom with finished surfaces, carpeted floors, and limited ventilation.  This room has limited power supply and a small hand-sink that will be available for use.  Artist will be able to assemble completed projects on-site; however they will not be able to create dust, fumes or fire hazards created by drilling, sawing, welding, soldering, painting, spray painting, gluing or other production/fabrication on site.
  2. Nothing can be attached to the walls, ceilings or floors, doors, windows, mantels or any building components.  The Wickham House is a National Historic Landmark and the institution’s largest object and must be treated as such.
  3. As a historic house, the Wickham House has a limited number of electrical outlets, few electrical circuits (20 amps) throughout the house.
  4. The fireplace opening cannot be blocked due to the fire suppression system and security system motion detectors located within.
  5. Artist must follow American Disabilities Act requirements in making sure that the tour path throughout the house is not blocked or impeded in any way.  Refer to the following link for specific details: http://www.ada.gov/business/museum_access.htm
  1. Installations must also adhere to the Valentine Richmond History Center’s policy and procedure related to the Wickham House.
  2. Any stands, bases or other floor mounted objects used in the project must not damage the floor. Floor coverings include carpet, wood floors and floor cloths throughout the house.
  3. All doors throughout the Wickham House must remain open due to design and operation of HVAC and environmental control system in the house.
  4. All installations must be respectful of the proximity to historic objects and floor coverings, particularly in the Parlor and Entryway on the first floor of the Wickham House.
  5. No liquid or perishable items (food, plants), or open flames can be used as they may cause pest control issues or fire hazards.
  6. Painted items should be fully dried and aired before installation in the house as to avoid off-gassing of fumes while in the Wickham House.
  7. Valentine Richmond History Center staff will address specific issues once proposals have been accepted with each artist.
  8. If a piece is damaged while installed at the Richmond History Center, the collections manager will contact the artist first to discuss any repair that needs to be made and work with the artist to make arrangements.  Artists will be asked to sign a waiver releasing the History Center of responsibility for potential damage to pieces of art installed outside or inside the Wickham House or on Valentine Richmond History Center property
  9. Access to the building for finished pieces will include a loading dock door, passenger elevator (2500lb capacity) and standard door frames which measure 79”H x 34”W.  Access to the second floor includes several unusual turns and a ramp.  Visiting the Wickham House and delivery path for finished work during the conception process is strongly suggested.  The second floor of the Wickham House is only accessible through the Museum Building 2nd floor office space.
  10. Any installation with an audio component must be appropriate for a toured space and must have volume control that docents can adjust.
  11. Any installations using electricity must be self-starting.  Staff will turn off power to the house each evening at closing and will turn it on in the morning prior to opening via the circuit breaker box.
  12. The basement Washroom of the Wickham House includes a mechanical room and fire suppression system components which must be accessible at all times.
  13. Current interpretation of the first floor of the Wickham House and Master Bedroom will remain intact.  Museum objects should not be handled. 
  14. Artists cannot modify the History Center’s exhibit furniture (vitrines, platforms and stanchions) without discussion and approval by Richmond History Center staff.
  15. The Wickham Garden and Gray Family Terrace (located on the parking lot side of the History Center) are available in the wedding off-season (November – February).  Any proposed garden installation must accommodate existing plantings, existing garden statuary, and historic fountain.   Existing features will not be transplanted, relocated, removed, or subject to damage to accommodate artist’s proposed installation.