A personal message from our new President of the Board…
Our new President of the Board of Directors, Inez Brooks-Myers, reflects on her personal history with the Richmond Art Center. Click here to learn more about our Board and the people who provide governance of the Art Center.
My mother, Hattiemay, loved the Richmond Art Center. After she retired, she volunteered on Friday mornings, answering the telephone, taking messages and greeting Art Center guests. My father, Ed, was president of the Richmond Civic Music Association, bringing artists like Robert Merrill and the Vienna Boys Choir to perform in Richmond. My parents set an example of volunteer civic service.
The Richmond Art Center has been important to me since I was a student at Lincoln Grammar School. I went to the Art Center, located above a garage on 9th Street, just behind the Macdonald Avenue branch of the Mechanics Bank. Hazel Salmi worked with my Girl Scout Troop, helping us to qualify for badge work.
In 1951 I was excited to attend the dedication of the new Richmond Civic Center, where our Governor, Earl Warren (later Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court), spoke. The new location of the Art Center made it more visible, and greater studio space allowed for a variety of artistic endeavors. Richmond’s leaders understood the importance of art in the daily lives of the people of the community—not only making a painting or a sculpture—but the ability of each of us to appreciate those things that are tactile or visual, that are beyond words. Placing the Art Center in the Civic Center was indicative of the commitment that the city had to the cultural life of its citizens.
Since my childhood days, art has been eliminated from public school classrooms. The Richmond Art Center is doing something about that. This year, some 2,000 Richmond school age students have been give free lessons in art at schools and community centers all over the city. Our Art Center offers on-site classes to adults, teens and children and continues to delight the public with free art exhibitions. I personally enjoy coming to the exhibitions, especially those focused on textiles, crafts and design. In this 80th anniversary year for the Richmond Art Center, my hope is that we can each appreciate the good works we have inherited and improve on them for the generations to come.