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Van Gogh, Other Artistic Masterpieces on Display at Radford University Art Museum
Vincent Van Gogh, “The Wheat Field behind St. Paul's Hospital,” St. Rémy, 1889. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo by Katherine Wetzel.

RADFORD, VA.- Community leaders and officials from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and Radford University gathered on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, for a preview event celebrating the opening of “Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Whistler: Masterpieces of World Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” an exhibition commemorating the museum’s 75th anniversary. Supported by Altria Group, the special exhibition is open to the public and is featured in the Radford University Art Museum, located in the Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts, from Jan. 21 - March 4, 2011. Admission is free.

The exhibition features the work of about 30 artistic masters from around the world. Featured pieces include those from masters such as Post-Impressionistic icon Vincent Van Gogh, American impressionist James Abbot McNeil Whistler, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, and contemporary artist Sally Mann.

During welcoming remarks, Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle told guests about the history and 18-month planning process associated with the exhibition. Kyle also publicly recognized several individuals who played a special role in bringing the collection to Radford University, including University Centennial Steering Committee Co-Chair and VMFA Board of Trustees Member Barbara-lyn Morris ‘65, Chair of the Radford University Art Department Richard Bay, and VMFA Director Alex Nyerges.

“Suddenly we at Radford were getting stars in our eyes,” Kyle said, referencing the kinds of cultural opportunities planners envisioned for the community when the Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts opened in 2009. “Now the stars are not just in our eyes,” said Kyle. “They’re on our walls.”

Hosting the classic exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for Radford University to provide southwest and southside Virginia residents with a chance to see timeless works of art they may not have otherwise seen in their lifetimes, according to Kyle.

During comments presented later in the evening, VMFA Director Alex Nyerges discussed the museum, its 75th anniversary celebration and expressed his gratitude and excitement about partnering with Radford University on the venture.
Built in Richmond in 1936, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was designed with one purpose in mind, according to Nyerges: to serve as the state's flagship art museum and headquarters for an art educational network bringing masterpieces from throughout the ages into every corner of the commonwealth.

With the success of the VMFA exhibit, Bay sees unlimited potential for the RU Art Museum to establish itself as a major destination “hotspot” for the art community.

“I want this to be the first of many [special exhibitions],” said Bay. “There’s so much more we can now make happen.”

To be selected by the VMFA to house the exclusive art exhibition, the RU Art Museum was upgraded to include improved climate control systems, museum-standard lighting and enhanced security measures.

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