Grand Opening of Expanded Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The grand opening celebration of the largest expansion project in the history of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2, with an array of free special events and activities, including a ribbon cutting, Tibetan Monks creating a sand mandala, exhibitions, lectures, artist demonstrations, music, dance demonstrations, refreshments, highlights tours and family art activities.

VMFA Director Alex Nyerges urges all Virginians to see the expanded museum. “Everything about it is bigger, brighter and – with free admission – more welcoming. Our new James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing gives us a thrilling, glamorous stage from which to welcome visitors and to display more of our global collection and present important special exhibitions,” he says.

The expanded museum includes double the space for major traveling exhibitions and increases total space for VMFA’s permanent collections and exhibitions to 134,000 square feet. Major expanses of glass allow natural light to pour into the heart of the museum.

The McGlothlin Wing is the primary feature in the museum’s redevelopment of its 13-1/2-acre site that knits together additional new elements – the E. Claiborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden, the Mary Morton Parsons Plaza, and a new landscaped parking deck – with the original museum and three other historic buildings on the museum’s grounds.

Indiana-limestone and glass cover the exterior of the wing, which also includes an art education center, conservation studios, the Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library, a gift shop, and restaurants.

The expansion was designed by London-based Rick Mather Architects in partnership with a Richmond architectural firm, SMBW. The project is the first major U.S. commission for Mather, an American who has also designed modern additions to a number of Great Britain’s most venerable cultural institutions, among them the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

VMFA’s grand opening is sponsored by Altria Group, Dominion Resources, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, and SunTrust Foundation, with support from individuals, foundations and corporations that made the VMFA expansion possible.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
200 N. Boulevard
Richmond, Virginia USA 23220-4007

Image: The new James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photo: Travis Fullerton. ©Virginia Museum of Fine Arts