The Virginia Commission for the Arts kicked off its 50th anniversary year today in downtown Richmond by announcing a year filled with events, calls for greater support, and a plan to recognize 50 arts and culture leaders throughout the Commonwealth.
As noted in a recent Style cover story, the VCA is a state agency that “is a crucial organization providing operating fund support — such unsexy stuff as utilities, rent and salaries — for arts organizations large and small across Virginia. The bulk of its funding, 74 percent, goes to counties whose income falls below the state median -- basically underserved areas, both urban and rural.”
The agency is especially important in light of recent confirmations that President Trump plans to eliminate the arts and humanities endowments.
The VCA’s Executive Director Margeret Vanderhye was joined today by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and VCA Chair Shelley Kruger Weisberg, in offering praise for the arts and the agency.
Also, there were round table discussions led by members of the local arts community including Ellyn Parker, coordinator of Richmond Public Arts, and Scott Garka, president of CultureWorks. These round tables were recorded and will be available on the VCA website for localities wanting to organize their own events.
“With the launch of our 50th year programs, we plan to harness the energy and ideas of cultural, civic, business, academic, and government leaders across the state to build strong arts organizations and more vibrant communities,” said Vanderhye in a release. “Here is our question: How can the Virginia Commission for the Arts help? And our request: Please don’t sit on the sidelines; be a part of our new Virginia Renaissance. All we need is you!”
The VCA’s 50 for 50 Arts Inspirations Awards will be selected by an honorary committee from a pool of nominees recommended by members of their communities for their contributions to arts and culture, according to the press release.
There will continue to be round table discussions open to the public (before today there were round tables held in Staunton and Charlottesville) to help drive the development of strategies for current and future grant programs and work on how the VCA can best help the arts in the Commonwealth.
Visit the VCA website to learn more about their outreach and programs.