When Heraclitus of Ephesus proclaimed, ‘life is flux’, I wonder whether he could have envisioned what that would come to mean today.
On a profound level, change remains a constant in our society and is the case too, at The Fralin. Our histories are complex and museums are focused on the work of constructing broader, more diverse, and hopefully, more honest narratives. As part of this global conversation, and as the museum of one of the great academic institutions in the United States, we at The Fralin accept our responsibility to stand up and demonstrate leadership.
Anticipating the release of our 2025 strategic plan, The Fralin has publicly committed to dedicating at least 50% of our exhibitions to historically underrepresented art and artists. To our knowledge, we are the first museum in America to make this definitive commitment, and we did so with the support of the staff, advisory board, and the University. We believe that all people, especially our students, should see themselves and their experiences reflected in our galleries, reaffirming that the museum is a place where their experiences and cultures are valued. While this appears to be a dramatic proclamation, our last three years of exhibitions reveal that we have already been meeting this goal. This announcement distinguishes us to our colleagues in the profession, thereby making us publicly accountable. While the table has become larger, no one has lost a seat—the conversation is simply more dynamic.
I am delighted to introduce to you our new curator of exhibitions, Laura Minton. After an extensive national search, Laura brings significant museum and academic experience. Most recently, she served as curatorial assistant in the department of prints and drawings at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Please join me in welcoming Laura both to The Fralin and Charlottesville.
We are very excited to be partnering with our sister institution, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection with The Inside World, curated by Henry Skerritt. While our museums often work together, this exhibition will publicly demonstrate the strengths of both museums and the opportunities that arise through shared space. Complementing The Inside World is Figures of Memory, curated by our 2019–2020 Barringer-Lindner Fellow, Elyse Gerstenecker, which places memorialization in a wider context through The Fralin’s permanent collection.
In 2019 we also celebrate the twentieth anniversary of an important bequest of art to our museum—The Alan Groh and Buzz Miller Collection. A UVA alumnus, Alan Groh was director of the famed Stable Gallery in New York City and the collection that he acquired with his partner Buzz Miller, a leading Broadway dancer, today represents many of the most important post-War contributions to American art.
As always, I thank you for your continuing support of The Fralin and for partnering with us, to meet the evolving needs of its current and future audiences. You—our members and supporters—are a key to our vitality and continued relevance, as a place of curiosity that values diversity of thought and respectful discourse.
(Photograph by Daniel Perales)