Adding More Diversity to the VMFA

August 7th, 2017

A new curator with a cultural point of view


The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts always has something new up its sleeve, and this summer is no exception. The museum introduced Richmond to Valerie Cassel Oliver, its newest staff member, to work as the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Cassel Oliver has extensive experience with art exhibitions and programs all around the country, including Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. She’s moving to Richmond from the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, where she spent 16 years as the senior curator.

With every position, she’s worked hard to incorporate a diversity of artists. Her highest priority and first order of business at the VMFA will be just that: to expand the museum’s array of cultural representation. They have recently been working to assimilate more art created by African-diasporic and African-American contributors, a subject in which Cassel Oliver has wide experience.

Says Cassel Oliver, “I’m primarily looking for artists that are in plain sight but are under-recognized; new and emerging energies … I like to recognize amazing talent and find spaces within the narrative where those voices are not heard or seen.”

Stay abreast of Oliver’s contributions at

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