Photo: Entrance to the Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University (courtesy of museum.com)
Currently operated by a three-person team and located in the middle of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park campus in Richmond, The Anderson Gallery, established in 1970, serves as a stage for both established and emerging artists to exhibit their work in a unique urban university setting. A small, intimate gathering place for students and Richmonders alike, the gallery is comprised of four floors and a neighboring carriage house. The Anderson Gallery boasts over 3,000 works in its permanent collection along with special exhibitions throughout the year. The Anderson Gallery benefits immensely from having rich resources in the form of Virginia Commonwealth University faculty, staff, and students and is known for bringing daring and groundbreaking exhibitions to both Virginia Commonwealth University and the Richmond community. Specialty exhibitions by students and international artists can be viewed at the three-story space. In addition to the art housed inside, Anderson Gallery also has a permanent collection of over 400 works that can be viewed at both Virginia Commonwealth University and the Medical College of Virginia campuses. Sponge, on the third floor of the gallery, functions as a lab and workspace that allows students and faculty to immerse themselves in new, innovative work and experimental ideas.
Dr. Henry Hibbs donated his collection, totaling 800 works, to the Anderson Gallery in 1971, establishing the gallery’s tradition of collection building through gifts and donations. Due to his varied tastes, the gallery possesses a very diverse permanent collection. Forward thinking and evolving, the Anderson Gallery hopes to expand and become a cross-disciplinary hub of interaction that is not only connected with VCUarts, but with the Richmond community at large. Exhibitions at the Anderson have connected to other openings and shows at venues like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Visual Art Center of Richmond. The gallery aspires to provide ongoing, cutting-edge, and contemporary spaces in which to exhibit the latest works from local, national, and international artists. Fostering a working relationship with Richmond’s eclectic art community is also important to the Anderson Gallery.
In addition to the Anderson, Virginia Commonwealth University has four additional galleries, the Fine Arts Building Gallery, or FAB Gallery, the Student Art Space in the student commons, Locker 50b also in the Fine Arts Building and the newly opened student art space in the newly renovated Cary Street Gym.
Locker 50b, found on the third floor of the Fine Arts Building, has been featured in the New York Times as the worlds smallest recognized gallery space. Started by a grad student who had small scale work, Locker 50b was carried on after her graduation. It has wood flooring, white walls and a light, which is push-button operated, like any other gallery. In the past it has even accommodated video clips. Images of past exhibits can be found on the website as a record of all the exhibits that have taken place.
The FAB Gallery, on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building, houses a variety of work from faculty work to grad student work throughout the year. The Student Art Space in the Commons is operated by a group of current students who put together the shows. It features a few students' work at a time and is often open to proposals for the shows. Lastly, the art space at Cary Street Gym is just starting out. It hasn't had time to define itself, and will be something to look for in the future.
Locker 50b, located on the 3rd floor of the Fine Arts Building