About the Richmond Center for Visual Arts
Founded in 2007, the Richmond Center for Visual Arts acts as an anchor for the presentation and interpretation of contemporary art and design on the campus of Western Michigan University, within the city of Kalamazoo, and throughout southwest Michigan. Dynamic, diverse, and devoted to the art of today, the mission of the Richmond Center is to spark conversation and sustain dialogue about the social, political, aesthetic, and cultural role of art in the 21st century. Free and open to the public, the Richmond Center for Visual Arts hosts more than 10,000 visitors annually.
In its fourteen year history, the Richmond Center has produced two major traveling exhibitions, Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Works (2013), curated by Patterson Sims, and After the Thrill is Gone: Fashion Politics and Culture in Contemporary South African Art (2016) curated by Andrew Hennlich. In addition to faculty sabbatical shows, solo exhibitions in RCVA’s sprawling Albertine-Monroe Brown Gallery and intimate Rose Netzorg & James Wilfred Kerr Gallery have featured such artists as Dwayne Lowder (2020), Christina Quarles (2019), Robyn O'Neil (2019), Mike Glier (2016), the artist collective Quintapata (2015), Kate Teale (2014), Nayda Collazo-Llorens (2012), Peter Campus (2012), Yinka Shonibare (2010), and Roger Shimomura (2010). Major group exhibitions include Animal Logic: Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw, Paul Sydorenko, Squeak Carnwath (2011); In the Shadows: Contemporary Artists and Obsessive Memory (2014); The Expanded Print: WMU's Collection in Context (2017); Site & Survey: The Architecture of Landscape (2018); On the Inside Out (2018); Spiral: Up and Out (2019), > 1: Celebrating Design + Community; as well as annual faculty and student exhibitions.
Read more about the Richmond Center's exhibition history here and access the exhibition archive here.
Friends of the Richmond Center
The Friends of the Richmond Center members group support the students of the FrosticSchool of Art by investing in our exhibitions programs. More than an affiliate group, Friends of the Richmond Center create a community who acts as our most significant off-campus audience. Since 2007, members of the Friends of the Richmond Center have remained integral in providing financial support for opening receptions and exhibition previews. Proceeds from our bi-annual benefit, which is attended by many Friends members, assist with offsetting operational costs. Friends of the Richmond Center help spread the news about our exhibitions and events to wider audiences and share in the excitement of our work with students, national and international artists, as well as the WMU Art Collection.
Left to right, Director of Exhibitions Indra K. Lācis and Coordinator of Exhibitions, Tanya Bakija
Indra K. Lācis, PhD
Director of Exhibitions
As an art historian and curator, Indra focuses on the art world that lives between academia and the mainstream museum. Since joining the Richmond Center in 2016, she has curated more than a dozen solo and group exhibitions including the first solo exhibition in the Midwest of LA-based painter Christina Quarles, Yew Jumped too Deep, Yew Buried the Lead (2019); a collection-based exhibition about the legendary artists of the 1960s Spiral activist collective, Spiral: Up and Out (2019); a two-person exhibition, Black White Color Life, featuring Peter Plagens and Laurie Fendrich (2018); and On the Inside Out, an exhibition focusing on artists who confront problems of mass incarceration in the United States (2018). Prior to the her work at the Richmond Center, Indra held curatorial, project management, research, and teaching positions at such institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, SPACES, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and Case Western Reserve University, where she earned her M.A. and PhD in art history. Indra's dissertation, which analyzed the sociological and performative nature of fame, celebrity, and notoriety in the contemporary art world, has been downloaded more than 11,000 times since appearing online in 2015. Her writing appears in catalogs published by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and Western Michigan University. She continues to present her work at a range of conferences including the College Art Association(2015); Southeastern College Art Conference (2009, 2011, 2015); Midwest Art History Society (2013, 2019); International Journal of Celebrity Studies Conference at the University of Amsterdam (2016); and the First Annual Feminist Art History Conference at AmericanUniversity in Washington DC (2010). Establishing lasting relationships between artists, audiences, and institutions continues to make her work rewarding.
Coordinator of Exhibitions
Trained as a studio artist and preparator, Tanya is an accomplished creative problem solver with an interest in exhibition design and curation. Tanya is drawn to the form and function of both art and design, as well as the critical functions art as activism provides communities. Using her experience in university museums and galleries, Tanya enjoys working with students and providing instruction, insight, and encouragement into creative fields beyond the classroom. Tanya joined the Richmond Center in late 2019 and has started developing workshops for students, such as This End Up: Solutions for Fine Art Packing, Storage, and Transport. Before joining the Richmond Center, Tanya was Lead Preparator at the Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI. During her twelve-year run at KCAD, Tanya worked on many noteworthy and ambitious exhibitions, including Graphic Design: Now in Production, Pulso: Art of the Americas, the cornerstone exhibition of the DisArt Festival Art of the Lived Experiment, I AM: Assuming Positions with Cassils, Michigan Modern: Killing It, and ArtPrize exhibitions including winner of Best Venue in 2013 and 2017: Designed to Win (2013) and Society of Spectacle (2017). Other notable ArtPrize exhibitions include I AM: Money Matters (2014) with artists Mel Chin, Sonya Clark, Steve Lambert, and William Powhida, and Sightlines (2017) including artists Julie Green, Christopher Baker, Alison Stigora and Prince Varughese Thomas. Tanya also curated exhibitions at KCAD, notably Crossing the Rubicon (2014) and Going Pro: Museum-Quality Display Solutions for Students (2019).
Student Gallery Assistants
The Richmond Center's team of talented and dedicated student employees assist in all areas of exhibitions and develop skills for exhibiting and displaying their own work, as well as skills for careers in museums and galleries.
Richmond Center Advisory Board
The Richmond Center's Advisory Board provided critical support for the Richmond Center through membership recruitment. The Board is integral in assisting with the planning and implementation of the bi-annual benefit, which raised nearly $30,000 in 2017 when the Richmond Center celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Thank you, Richmond Center Board Members, for your service, dedication, energy, and support!
Nancy Trimble Kern