Tuesday, April 24, 2018

You Belong Here

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art 
Last week I started my week in my home state, Virginia with the opening of the new Virginia Commonwealth University, Institute for Contemporary Art (VCU-ICA). The grand opening was perfectly timed for Alumni Week. I received a special VIP invitation from my school’s outgoing Alumni Director. It was not just a school event, but city event. The description from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The $41 million center was already named one of the most anticipated buildings of 2018 by Architectural Digest. Upon entering, visitors could see why: The structure has a soaring atrium with towering ceilings, transparent glass walls, curved edges and a sweeping grand staircase.

The opening exhibition, “Declaration,” features more than 30 artists and roughly 70 works of art. More than a third of the pieces are making their debut at the ICA.

The evening outfit
 I love polka dots 

This was the evening for VCU school donors and alumni to get a preview prior to the grand opening – music was provided, food, drinks, speeches, and personal tours. I stayed about two hours and enjoyed many conversations. I felt especially welcome standing in a second floor garden under the neon “You Belong Here” sign. This garden side of the building faces out on the Broad Street, which is the central north/south street for Richmond.  

I connected with several interesting women (doctors  - VCU alumni) and we talked like old girlfriends while food circled us as we enjoyed the music. It did not take long before a man to asked to be included; a retired international sales executive. My new girlfriends had to leave so he and I ended up talking for a while. When it was time for me to go he volunteered to walk me to the valet stand. A true southern gentleman.  

This was an out of-the way-stop for my trip, in that the next day I traveled to my childhood hometown to visit friends. The shortest distance would have been to go there first and miss the opening. The way the evening worked out, plus the significance of being included, made it a beautiful event and worth while.

Being social and confident provides many advantages.  Escape with poise “Like you belong”.

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