Special/Signature Issues » A Closer Look

Richmond Arts


Well, Richmond's not getting into a good college with that kind of average, but then, maybe we're more of a home-schooled city. We don't need your fancy curricula -- when we want art, we'll make it ourselves.

And yet we seem to be leaning fairly heavily on the established institutions of this city to give shape to our culture. VCU's various programs proved to be a major part of some of the scenes, and the promise and peril of Richmond CenterStage kept returning to the critics' report cards, the anticipation mostly hopeful. Although the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts continues to endure the inconveniences of surgery, it came up a few times as critics lamented the loss of the Fast/Forward series. Still, VMFA is at the back of our minds since it, like CenterStage, will premiere its new face in 2009. But let's hope there are still performers to use those facilities, because it appears that many artists are being forced to greener pastures by dwindling opportunities here.

These certainly aren't new problems, but if Richmond has problems with getting recognized by the bigger kids out there, that may change with the new venues — both the performing arts center and the music venues that will lure bands with the promise of slick lights and backstage hot tubs. The solution seems to be in the proper balance of those individual plucky arts supporters (who'll hang art on the walls of a cardboard box if they have to, by God) and the great slow-moving institutional whales that break the surface periodically to blast money out of their blowholes. This balance, more than any other, might get us closer to the top of the class. At any rate, we passed. — Brandon Reynolds

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