Inner Lives: Cinerary Jars by Julian Stair and Rob Barnard

March 3 - 27

“Inner Lives,” an exhibition by ceramics artists Julian Stair and Rob Barnard, will be on display at the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design from March 3 – 27. Stair and Barnard have achieved international awards and recognition for their pieces that showcase the versatility of the medium while remaining utilitarian in form and function.

The subject of the exhibition is cinerary jars, but it is about the inner life of human beings. Julian Stair and Rob Barnard occupy a rather unique position in the ceramics field: not only are they makers, but also writers who have argued in countless articles about pottery’s ability to simultaneously operate on numerous levels to connect with our inner lives. They have sought in their work to restore the connection between works of art and the ordinary events, burdens, and suffering that make up the human experience.

Barnard is one of America’s most respected potters with work in public collections including the Museum of Art and Design, New York; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian; Everson Museum, Syracuse and has received two National Endowment for the Arts awards.. Working out of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, for the last 40 years, Barnard has established a reputation as an eloquent advocate of pottery within contemporary art practice through both his artistic output and critical writing for journals such as American Crafts, The New Art Examiner, Studio Potter and Ceramics, Art and Perception.

Stair is one of the leading potters in the UK, training at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. His work is represented in numerous public collections including the V&A; British Museum; Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Kolumba Museum, Germany. Besides exhibitions, he frequently works to commission, recently completing an altar and font for St Augustine’s Church, London. He is also a ceramic historian and has written for the Courtauld Institute, Yale Center of British Art and Tate Gallery.

Barnard and Stair have known each other for over 30 years, exhibiting together twice before, in London in 1997 and Washington, DC in 2017. With different backgrounds and artistic sensibilities, they nevertheless share a common interest in the multi-faceted language of pottery. For this exhibition, they are re-interpreting the millennial old tradition of funerary ware as part of their belief that pottery can challenge and mediate the inevitability of death, providing metaphorical and practical containment, and solace for what philosopher Simon Critchley called ‘the last great taboo of modern society’.

Design Build Challenge 2020: Ed Pokoj

June 2020 - January 2021

Ed Pokoj is an artist living in Richmond, Virginia.  Ed’s work is often playful and vibrant while exploring different techniques and media ranging from illustrations for children’s literature to larger than life puppets.  Ed chose to take on the 2020 BMAD project as an opportunity to work on a larger scale than he had worked than he had worked in before. The design itself, a take on the Trojan Horse, had its own specific points that Ed found particularly interesting: creating a giant sculpture that could move within the space of the Branch Museum courtyard, and to build a horse out of bamboo gathered in Richmond. This task to some may sound like an impossible task, but as Walt Disney once said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Architecture Camp 2020

July 6 - 17

Embark on an adventure into the world of architecture! In our five-day Architecture Camp, campers interested in building and designing will test basic engineering principles through interactive games and activities, engage in 2-D and 3-D design challenges, and meet local architects and designers. Using the Branch House as a learning tool and workshop, campers will be challenged to think critically about how architecture and design can improve quality of life and positively impact their community. The week will end with a celebratory display of the campers’ architecture and design projects.

Listening Theatres: The Sounds of Iconic Landscapes and Architectural Spaces

July 17 - September 13

Many architects consider the aural qualities of their created spaces in terms of acoustics. This exhibition explores how listening to these created spaces can inspire creativity, imagination and discovery of the surrounding world.  Karen Van Lengen and Jim Welty have created a series of animated soundscapes that portray visual representations of iconic architectural spaces, including The Academical Village at the University of Virginia, and New York City spaces of Grand Central Terminal, The New York Public Library, The Seagram Building, Rockefeller Center and the Guggenheim Museum. Listening Theatres: The Sounds of Iconic Landscapes and Architectural Spaces is an exhibition including sound, animation, and drawings created using real recordings and interpretive drawings, presented in active animations that celebrate the aural personalities of iconic architectures. Photographs of the drawings and stills of the animations are included in a colorful display that demonstrates the artists’ process.

VA Made: Meditation Across Media

July 17 - September 13
Jason Hackett Commerative Set (Mesa, Basin, Mitten Moon)

VA Made: Meditation Across Media is an exhibition bringing together various artists and various forms of art. At one time, artists were learned in diverse materials and techniques. Today, artists are encouraged to narrow their focus and specialize in a specific art form. VA Made is an exhibition intended to consider the broader view of formats available to the artist.  Art forms from large to small, from functional and representational will be exhibited in tandem with one another to explore the relationships between media and subject matter.  To this end VA Made is organized around various and diverse things; it features art forms in media that are generally not exhibited together, including pictures, sculptures, jewelry, furniture, and other “functional” objects.  In doing so VA Made seeks to call attention to seemingly disparate works of various sizes and made of differing materials–wood, glass, fiber, ceramic, metal, paint–and constructed using a variety of techniques.  And while such a presentation of subject matter/material does have the effect of undermining the idea that fine art is somehow superior to craft, the main reason for such a presentation is to encourage broader thinking, especially across media.  In this sense, VA Made is an explicit attempt to explore the relationship between media, to wonder about the effect of media on subject matter and subject matter on media, how one informs the other.

Exhibiting Artists

Stephen Addiss | Paolo Arao | Andras Bality | Robert Barnard | Maurice Bonds | Sukjin Choi | David Crane | Barbara Dill | Andrea Donnelly | Ray Edmondson | Joan Elliott | Wayne Fitzgerald | Steven Glass | Jason Hackett | Valerie Hardy | Brooke Hine | Susan Iverson | John Jessiman | Marty Johnson | Cindy Neushwander | Jiwan Joo | Ray Kass | Jim Meyer | Cindy Myron | Kiara Pelissier | Diego Sanchez | Chuck Scalin | Susan Svendsen | Javier Tapia | Lydia Thompson | Adam Welch | Ken Winebrunner | Dale Quarterman

Cub Creek: Twenty Years Together

July 17 - September 13

Cub Creek: Twenty Years Together highlights the diverse work of residents and founding members and heighten awareness of the only residency program exclusively for the ceramic arts in the Mid-Atlantic region. The exhibition will be a critical reflection of the abiding respect, affection and enthusiasm for the ceramic arts that is embodied and promoted by the Cub Creek Foundation for the Ceramic Arts.  Located in Appomattox, Virginia, Cub Creek hosts workshops and educational events and offers a year-long supportive residency in a rural environment. Cub Creek’s facilities have attracted young ceramic artists from around the world. Several foreign residents have stayed in the Atlantic region and contribute significantly to the vitality of ceramic arts here as teachers and professionals. Workshop presenters at Cub Creek, including Resident Director John Jessiman, represent a virtual who’s who of important figures in the field.

Cub Creek hosts numerous workshops and educational events, and residents prepare and execute regional outreach experiences for local schools and youth groups. In addition, Cub Creek brings internationally recognized artists together annually for a demonstration workshop to share methods and ideas. Regional university students and professional artists are invited to participate.

The Cub Creek Board of Directors believes in providing continued support to those completing a residency. With a network of professional ceramic artists throughout the US and abroad, they have been successful in finding venues for many to continue their educational pursuits.

Exhibiting Artists

Ashwini Bhat | Cory Brown | Sukjin Choi | Brian Pitney | Randy Edmonson | Shanna Fliegel | Steven Glass | Mitch Iburg | Tom Jaszczak | John Jessiman | Heidi Krietchet | Shasta Krueger | Kirke Martin | Brian Pitney | Hitomi Shibata |Takuro Shibata | VanderMey | Vicki Wilson

RVA Baroque

July 11 | 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
On July 11, The Branch will partner with our friends at RVA Baroque* (formerly Jefferson Baroque) to return live music to Richmond.  The program has been carefully crafted under all Covid-19 guidelines to offer a beautiful evening of Baroque Music in a magnificent setting.

The concert features innovative simultaneous use of The Branch’s indoor and outdoor space. The audience will experience two different sound worlds: winds and voices in the garden, and strings and harpsichord in the building. The outdoor sets feature medieval and renaissance music, including a mystical hymn by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), while the indoor sets feature 17th and 18th century music, including one of the earliest string quartets.

The July concert represents the first major public event for The Branch and RVA Baroque since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The ensemble has modified the traditional concert format in novel ways to accommodate all government-recommended best practices.  All seating is socially distanced.  The audience will seated in two separate locations (The Branch Museum’s Long Gallery and The Branch Garden).  A brief intermission will permit guests to switch seats and hear the other half of the performance.  Audience and performers will wear masks, with the exception of vocalists.  All singing will be performed below the terrace level and guests will be seated on the terrace above them, in accordance with government guidelines.

“The RVA Baroque musicians have worked closely with us so that they can do what they do so beautifully, perform the very best of baroque music. The Branch contributes to that performance with a beautiful setting that was originally conceived of as a space for musical performance. We hope that you will join us for a lovely summer evening of baroque music.”

Penny Fletcher, Executive Director, The Branch Museum

Light refreshments will be provided. Per the requirements of our performers, all visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing at the event. The outdoor program will be held rain or shine except in the event of severe weather. Tickets are $30 per person.

*During the pandemic, Jefferson Baroque changed their name officially to RVA Baroque.

A Zoom Webinar –“Listening Theatres: The Sounds of Iconic Landscapes and Architectural Spaces”

July 21 | 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Joel Sanders, FAIA, will moderate a discussion with the artists who have produced Listening Theatres: The Sounds of Iconic Landscapes and Architectural Spaces” which is now on display at The Branch Museum through September 16, 2020.  Sanders is an award-winning architect and founder of MIXdesign, an inclusive design thinktank and consultancy in New York City. He is a Professor in Practice and Director of Post-Professional Studies at Yale School of Architecture.

In Listening Theatres Karen Van Lengen and Jim Welty explore the act of attentive listening through an interactive engagement with the world around them. Listening in this sense is not passive, but an active excavation of passing time, fleeting actions and the experiences of others. Sanders will explore with Van Lengen and Welty some of the listening projects in the exhibition:The Academical Village at the University of Virginia, and New York City spaces;  Grand Central Terminal, The New York Public Library, The Seagram Building, Rockefeller Center and The Guggenheim Museum.

Sanders will moderate a lively discussion with the exhibition’s creators Karen Van Lengen and Jim Welty.  Karen Van Lengen, FAIA, is the William Kenan Professor of Architecture and former dean (1999-2009) at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. Van Lengen began her professional career as a design Associate at I M Pei & Partners before forming her own firm in New York City. Her recent projects have focused on the aural aspects of architectural space, bringing awareness to the comprehensive experience of ‘place’.   Jim Welty is an accomplished artist who created the animations for Soundscape New York and Open Gates as well as the Soundscape Architecture web site. Welty began his artistic career working with Frank Stella as the Master Printer and collaborator for over 10 years. He has exhibited his sculptures nationally, including a major exhibition at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. He is currently developing a new interactive body of work incorporating sound, animation and sculpture, extending the current project’s mission to foster genuine listening and engagement with our environment.

These projects have been supported by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, a Jefferson Trust Grant, a School of Architecture Summer Grant and an Arts Grounds Grant at the University of Virginia.

RVA Baroque

July 25 | 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Richmond’s early music ensemble RVA Baroque* gives its second live concert at the Branch Museum on Saturday, July 25, at 4:00 p.m.  The hour-long performance will take place in the garden. Small groups of musicians will perform a diverse array of works from the 16th through 18th centuries. Among the selections featured will be a concerto for four violins by Telemann, keyboard music by J.S. Bach arranged for strings by Mozart, and two rediscovered French arias that have not been performed for three centuries. A set of a capella madrigals will highlight the ensemble’s vocal talent.  Full attention will be paid to patron accessibility, audibility in the outside space, and above all hygiene and safety. Socially distanced seating is limited.

Light refreshments will be provided. All visitors are asked to wear a mask. Tickets are $30 per person.

A handicap entrance is available at the front of the building, but guests needing accommodation may find it easier to enter directly through the parking lot.  If you need this accommodation, please let us know in advance. Call us at 804-655-6055.

RVA Baroque is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Richmond, Virginia. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram or get on their mailing list by writing to rvabaroque@gmail.com.

*During the pandemic, Jefferson Baroque changed their name officially to RVA Baroque.

Dialogue with Artists: Frank Harmon

September 10 | 6:00 PM

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Did you miss out on his events in November? Do you have more questions? Want to do more urban sketching? Frank Harmon is back for another lecture.

Harmon has loved drawing since he was a boy gazing out of a classroom window. As an architecture student in London in the 1960s, he used freehand sketching to discover, study, and understand the nuances of structures and nature. He still does. Always armed with a pocket-sized sketchbook, a couple of drawing implements, and a miniature watercolor set, he also uses sketching to embed the subject of his drawing in his memory.

“If I take a photograph of something, I’ll soon forget it. But if I draw something, it remains in my mind forever.”

Frank Harmon, FAIA, has designed sustainable modern buildings across the Southeast for 30 years. His work engages pressing contemporary issues such as placelessness, sustainability, and restoration of cities and nature.

Harmon will share excerpts from his book, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, and examples of his own architectural work to illustrate how sketching “as a way to see” enhances the grace with which we observe and appreciate all sorts of “native places”.

The webinar will be held via Zoom and registration is $5.

To order a copy of Native Places, visit http://nativeplacesthebook.com.

Dialogue with Artists: Ed Pokoj

October 7 | 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Have you seen Ody the Outsider in our courtyard along Monument Avenue? Learn about the artist that created it and his practice!

Ed Pokoj is a local Richmond artist and Virginia Commonwealth University alum. Since 2015, Pokoj has been working in illustration. He draws inspiration from classic kids books, comic art, stop motion animation, and music – lot’s of music. Pokoj has illustrated the children’s picture book What Does A Princess Really Look Like? by Mark Loewen, created multiple coloring books including ones focused on Hip-Hop, had a show at The Well Art Gallery here in Richmond, VA, did a mural for Chapel RVA, and banners with Scout Design. Now, he has another children’s book set to be released winter of 2020.

Placemaking and the Future of Monument Avenue

October 14 | 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

How do we create places that are meaningful and inclusive in a community? In light of the recent removal of several Confederate statues on Monument Avenue, these newly vacated public spaces have been, or will need to be, reimagined and remade into places that reflect Richmond’s values. This webinar brings together several subject matter experts and stakeholders who will examine the concept of placemaking and its relevance on Richmond’s “Grand Avenue.”

The Branch House 1919 – 2020: Its Significance Architecturally and for Richmond

October 21 | 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Designed by John Russell Pope, the Branch House and Gardens occupy half a block in Richmond’s Fan District.  This webinar will explore the history of the House and Monument Avenue, critical choices for the location of the House and the architect; the significant role the House and the Branch family have had in Richmond’s history. And we will begin to explore the challenges of restoring one of Richmond’s great architectural treasures.

Community Needs and Revitalization in Richmond’s East End — The Kitchens at Reynolds

October 28 | 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Richmond’s East End consists of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, as well as some of its most under-resourced. A multi-partner revitalization initiative seeks to address the issues of poverty, social justice, and access to healthy food, education, and opportunity that have impacted the area for decades. In this webinar, panelists will discuss how these community needs led to the recent completion of one part of the initiative, The Kitchens at Reynolds.

The Branch House Plaster

November 11 | 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

The Branch House decorative plaster is some of the most beautiful plasterwork in Virginia.  Unfortunately, the century since the House was built and water intrusion have caused significant damage.  You will see up-close views of the beautiful plaster figures and decorations, including the toll that time has taken on the plaster, and you will discover the history of plasterwork in the early 20th century, particularly in Richmond, as well as learn from a dedicated craftsman how this work is being saved at the Branch.  The challenges of restoration are best shown in the work to save our decorative plaster.

Healing Spaces - How the Coronavirus May Impact the Built Environment

November 19 | 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

The outbreak of COVID-19 quickly revealed how the design of hospitals, schools, offices, public spaces, and even entire cities were flawed in preventing the spread of the virus. How can architects, interior designers, and urban planners apply the lessons learned during the pandemic in rethinking the built environment? In this webinar, panelists will explore the potential implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on building design and urban planning.

The Branch House Roof, Trim and Windows

December 2 | 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

The roof and windows are defining features of the Branch House.  The diamond patterned windows enhance the medieval character of the building, the exterior woodwork relied on skilled craftsman to make adjustments on-site like medieval carpenters, and the roof system is a series of pitches with slate and flat surfaces now with modern coatings.  But these features are more than beautiful; they have to keep water out and their wear is showing. Our panel of experts will discuss the challenges of repairing building elements that pose the greatest risk to water infiltration that can either be highly visible or obscured.

Branch Virtual Holiday Celebration 2020

December 17 | 6:30 PM