Virginia MOCA moving to Virginia Wesleyan campus
$25M gift will pay for construction
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is moving from Virginia Beach’s ViBe District to Virginia Wesleyan University’s campus, with the aid of a $25 million gift, the museum and university said Tuesday in announcing the partnership.
The gift, from Jane Batten, Joan Brock and David and Susan Goode, will fund construction of the museum’s new space, Virginia Wesleyan President Scott Miller told Virginia Business. The museum, which will be about 30,000 to 35,000 square feet, is being designed by Tymoff + Moss Architects of Norfolk and Richmond-based Hourigan will serve as the contractor, Miller said. The museum could open as soon as 2025.
“This partnership will anchor us in our mission to present locally relevant, nationally resonant art that is exceptional,” Virginia MOCA President and CEO Gary Ryan said in a statement. “While Virginia MOCA remains an independent museum, our collaboration with VWU will allow us to do even more of what we do best: create groundbreaking exhibitions and engage the community in thought-provoking artistic experiences. Our mission remains the same, but we are now bolstered by our partnership with VWU and its amazing educational resources.”
Virginia Wesleyan students and instructors have exhibited at the museum in the past and MOCA has provided students with internships and work opportunities. As part of the move, which has been in the works for several months, the private university is also planning to launch a Master of Arts degree in arts management, Miller said, and other programs in arts and history could develop.
The current museum, which includes 38,500 square feet with 6,300 square feet of exhibition space, will remain open during construction of its replacement.
Virginia Wesleyan sits on the Norfolk side of the Virginia Beach border, just off Interstate 64, an entry point into the city that sees more than 31,000 cars daily, Miller said, adding that the museum’s new location will help make arts more accessible to the entire region. “The relocation to our campus actually puts it in the epicenter of the Hampton Roads community,” he said.
Batten, Brock and the Goodes have been major benefactors to the arts, educational and civic communities in Virginia and at Virginia Wesleyan, where the Jane P. Batten Student Center, the Batten Honors College, the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities, the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center and the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences bear their names.
Miller said the museum, which will be constructed adjacent to the university’s arts center, will continue to have an independent board of directors.