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Governor Glenn Youngkin announced this week that Commonwealth of Virginia employees and preschool and K–12 teachers (public and private) can receive free admission to the new exhibition Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art now at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). Active military and their immediate families can also receive free admission through the museum’s year-round extension of the Blue Star Museums program. The exhibition is on view at VMFA now through March 19, 2023.

“We are fortunate to have such an enriching and innovative host of cultural gems across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “With works featured from home-grown Virginia artists and performers, I encourage all Commonwealth employees and educators to enjoy their free admission to Storied Strings at VMFA.”

Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art explores the instrument as a visual subject, enduring symbol and storyteller’s companion. Strummed everywhere from parlors and front porches to protest rallies and rock arenas, the guitar also appears far and wide in American art. Featuring 125 works of art, as well as 35 musical instruments, the exhibition shows how guitars figure prominently in the visual stories Americans tell about themselves — their histories, identities and aspirations.

The exhibition includes incredible paintings, drawings, watercolors, photographs and sculptures by prominent American artists such as John Baldessari, Romare Bearden, Thomas Hart Benton, Elizabeth Catlett, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, William Eggleston, Robert Henri, Lonnie Holley, Frances Benjamin Johnston, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Annie Leibovitz and more.

Audio-visual kiosks featuring music and filmed performances further enhance the visitor experience. As an extension of the exhibition, performances by more than a dozen recognized guitarists will be videotaped in the fully functioning in-gallery recording studio for release as Richmond Sessions ’22–’23. In partnership with In Your Ear Studios, a new recording will be released every other week on VMFA’s YouTube channel and linked on the museum’s website through March 2023.

“Visitors to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will be captivated by the sights and sounds in this multifaceted exhibition,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “We hope that our Commonwealth of Virginia colleagues and teachers will take this opportunity to see Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art.”

Regularly priced tickets for the special exhibition Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors 65+, and $10 for youth 7–17 and college students with ID. The exhibition is free for VMFA members; children ages 6 and under; preschool and K–12 teachers (public and private) and Commonwealth of Virginia employees. The exhibition is also free to active-duty military personnel and their immediate families.

Commonwealth employees and educators should call 804.340.1405 to make their reservations and show their employee IDs or badges at the Visitor Services Desk in the museum, when picking up their tickets. One free ticket is available per badge. Reservations for first-available tickets to the exhibition can also be made in person at the Visitor Services Desk. Tickets are scheduled to help limit gallery capacity to ensure the comfort of our visitors.

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