PHOTOS: Craft and Design 2022

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Governor Glenn Youngkin announced this week that employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia and preschool and K-12 teachers (public and private) are eligible for free admission to the new exhibit. Stepped Strings: The Guitar in American Art now in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). Serving military personnel and their immediate families can also enjoy free admission through the museum’s year-round expansion of the Blue Star Museums program. The exhibition is visible at the VMFA until March 19, 2023.

“We are fortunate to have such an enriching and innovative host of cultural gems across the Commonwealth,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said. “With works presented by local Virginia artists and performers, I encourage all Commonwealth employees and educators to take advantage of their free admission to stepped strings at VMFA.

Stepped Strings: The Guitar in American Art explores the instrument as a visual subject, enduring symbol and storyteller’s companion. Struck everywhere, from living rooms and porches to protest rallies and rock arenas, the guitar also appears far and wide in American art. Featuring 125 works of art, as well as 35 musical instruments, the exhibit shows how guitars figure prominently in the visual stories Americans tell about themselves – their histories, identities, and aspirations.

The exhibition includes incredible paintings, drawings, watercolors, photographs and sculptures by eminent American artists such as John Baldessari, Romare Bearden, Thomas Hart Benton, Elizabeth Catlett, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, William Eggleston, Robert Henri, Lonnie Holley, Frances Benjamin Johnston, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Annie Leibovitz and many more.

Audio-visual kiosks featuring music and filmed performances further enhance the visitor experience. As an extension of the exhibition, performances by more than a dozen acclaimed guitarists will be videotaped in the gallery’s fully functional recording studio for broadcast as Richmond Sessions ’22–’23. In partnership with In Your Ear Studios, a new recording will be posted every two weeks on the VMFA YouTube channel and linked on the museum’s website until March 2023.

“Visitors to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will be captivated by the sights and sounds of this multi-faceted exhibit,” said Alex Nyerges, Director and CEO of VMFA. “We hope that our colleagues and teachers in the Commonwealth of Virginia will take this opportunity to see Stepped Strings: The Guitar in American Art.”

Regularly priced tickets for the special exhibition Stepped Strings: The Guitar in American Art are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for youth ages 7-17 and students with ID. The exhibition is free for VMFA members; children 6 and under; preschool and K-12 teachers (public and private) and Commonwealth of Virginia employees. The exhibit is also free to active duty military members and their immediate families.

Commonwealth employees and educators should call 804.340.1405 to make reservations and show their employee ID card or badge at the museum’s Visitor Services desk when picking up their tickets. One free ticket is available per badge. Reservations for the first available tickets for the exhibition can also be made in person at the Visitor Services counter. Tickets are timed to help limit gallery capacity to ensure the comfort of our visitors.

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