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Book commemorates Anderson Gallery legacy and celebrates VCU Libraries' collection

May 6, 2016

To celebrate the Anderson Gallery’s 45-year run of introducing innovative contemporary art to Richmond audiences and its vital role in the evolution of Virginia Commonwealth University, the VCU School of the Arts has published a commemorative 232-page book, Anderson Gallery: 45 Years of Art on the Edge.

Overseen by project director and editor Ashley Kistler, with input from former gallery staff Traci Garland and Michael Lease, “45 Years” also illuminates significant developments in the larger cultural community of Richmond.

“The Anderson Gallery gave so many artists a platform to showcase their talents,” said Joseph H. Seipel, dean of the VCU School of the Arts. “This publication captures the history — and legacy — of the Anderson Gallery and gives those of us who knew and loved that space something to reflect on. … I hope the next generation of artists will look back at the gallery as a source of inspiration.”

Some works from the Anderson Gallery Collection, now managed by VCU Libraries are on display in James Branch Cabell Library, where a book launch party was held in the Lecture Hall April 27. The works on view in the library all have close connections to VCU.  They include works by students and faculty and donations by VCU supporters. “It is our charge to continue the gallery’s legacy,” said John E. Ulmschneider, university librarian. See the Art in Cabell album on Flickr.

The richly illustrated book is organized into sections devoted to each decade of the gallery’s history, and includes a foreword by Seipel; essays by former directors Steven High, Marilyn Zeitlin and Kistler; a historical overview by Garland; a remembrance of former director Ted Potter by Bernard Martin; and interviews, commentary and personal reflections by other individuals who have had a close connection with the gallery.

“This publication documents the evolution of not only the Anderson Gallery but also the School of the Arts and our cultural community,” said Kistler, who served as the gallery’s most recent director for nine years. “The momentum created by the gallery will continue to evolve the arts landscape in Richmond.”

A leading venue for contemporary art in the Southeast for decades, the Anderson Gallery was known for presenting the work of regional, national and international artists, as well as the annual graduate and undergraduate student exhibitions. While it closed in May, 2015 its rich, permanent collection of artwork lives on at VCU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives at the James Branch Cabell Library.

A version of this article was posted in University News May 4, 2016.

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