VMFA Oct. 14: "An Evening in the Forbidden City" 

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Spotted on the red carpet: Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (right) makes a point to William Royall, VMFA board president, as each arrives for the "An Evening in the Forbidden City."
Guests arriving for the pre-dinner reception and preview of "Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing," were dazzled with an aerialist who created a type of living sculpture in the Cochrane Atrium.
The director and his Chinese court: Alex Nyerges VMFA director (center) is joined by staff from the Palace Museum who were in Richmond for the opening events. From left Feng Gang Lin, Mei Xue, exhibition curator Li Jian, Neurges, Lou Wei, Wang Qi and Qi Yue.
Cheryl Perkins (left), wife of Virginia Union University President Claude Perkins and Rita Henderson, director of art acquisitions, marketing and development at VUU, were at the gala.
Frances Lewis, longtime museum benefactor (seated) greets Robert Burrus, a Richmond attorney and Adrienne Hines as Jack Horn and Carolyn Snow look on. Virginia arts leader Pamela Reynolds, to the right of Snow, was among a number of attendees who wore Chinese-inspired outfits.
Ann Taylor (at left), executive vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, who traveled from Charlottesville for the gala, chatted with Richmond cultural advocate Pamela Reynolds about an exhibition of treasures from Monticello that will open in Beijing in 2016.
Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao and his wife, Monica, were among the first to arrive.
Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton, (at left), huddles with Maggie Hager. Holton's husband, Tim Kaine, is a United States senator (D) and a former Virginia governor. Hager’s spouse, John Hager, served as the commonwealth's lieutenant governor from 1998 to 2002.
Ann Belk (from left) and her daughter Clair McDow with Harry and Marcia Thahimer before dinner.
During his official welcoming remarks VMFA director Alex Nyerges raises a bottle of Harywood Forbidden craft beer after recognizing Robin Nicholson, formerly of the VMFA, for his leadership in spearheading the exhibition’s development. Nicholson recently assumed the directorship of the Frick Museum Pittsburgh.
Praising her contributions in preparing the exhibition, Alex Nyerges welcomes curator Li Jian of the VMFA to the podium.
The scene in the VMFA’s Cochrane Atrium for "An Evening in the Forbidden City" Oct. 14.
Martin Barrington, chairman and chief executive officer of Altria, major sponsor of the exhibition (at right) welcomes Cui Tiankai, United States ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Richmond.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAulife extends greetings on behalf of the commonwealth as Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai, Martin Barrington, Altria chairman and C.E.O., and VMFA director Nyerges look on.
Septimus Serverus, the sculpture of the Roman emperor, that usually stands alone in the museum’s great hall, awaits company as gilt chairs, red lanterns and rose-hued lighting transform the space for a black tie dinner with lamb chops and green tea and ginger sorbet on the menu.
Handsome gold dinner service, place cards and menus await guests in the museum’s great hall.
The ambassador’s place at the table.
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Cheryl Perkins (left), wife of Virginia Union University President Claude Perkins and Rita Henderson, director of art acquisitions, marketing and development at VUU, were at the gala.

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