Richmond’s CURRENT Art Fair: Build Your Art Collection


PREFACE: As a journalist I love transparency, so I must let you know that I have been helping out CURRENT Art Fair with its public relations, social media and marketing. So, in a sense, I am biased. But, I would totally write about the art fair even if I wasn’t involved, because it is THAT cool. 

Not going to lie: buying art is intimidating. As a semi-artistic person who has worked in the visual arts world and whose mother is a trained artist, I still feel nervous when purchasing art. Aesthetically I know what I like, and what pieces excite and inspire me. But something about the purchasing process has always scared me. Perhaps it’s because I’m not an artist; I feel like I can’t fully appreciate the piece since I don’t understand what went into creating it. Or, maybe I feel that as a young person I can’t have nice things. Who knows. Over the years I’ve unnecessarily made myself feel insecure about buying art, and as of late I’m realizing that is just silly.

Two years ago we bought our first house, and in those two years not much has been hung on the walls. I’ve blame this on our plaster walls (and attempting to be a minimalist). But, in reality, it might just be me holding out, waiting for a situation to present itself.

That situation has presented itself: next week Richmond will welcome its first contemporary art fair, CURRENT. For those of you who aren’t involved in the arts scene, successful national/international art fairs include the likes of Affordable Art Fair, Armory Show, Art Basel,  Art on Paper, Frieze Art Fair, and Pulse Art Fair. Compared to those art fairs, CURRENT is a baby, just entering into the big, bright art fair circuit. In its first year, CURRENT involves seven contemporary Richmond galleries — 1708, ADA, Candela, Glave Kocen, Page Bond, Reynolds and Quirk. The galleries all have a unique perspective, showing a variety of artists and works, which makes their unity so dynamic, giving CURRENT a strong synergy.

Richmond’s new art fair isn’t just for knowledgeable art collectors, but newbies too. CURRENT is a great opportunity for young people who are just starting their art collection to purchase exciting pieces. As someone who has just started a collection at home, the chance to view a range of pieces from local, national and international artists is such a gift. (And, honestly, it’s a great opportunity for not just Richmond, but our region.)

Art events like CURRENT are the perfect opportunity to throw yourself into a new environment and educate yourself. You can pepper gallery owners with questions about the artists and their processes without feeling silly. The gallery owners and managers behind CURRENT are very passionate and excited about spreading their knowledge, welcoming newcomers to the art world.

And now for a little background info about the event …

Local art philanthropists, collectors, and CURRENT advisory board members Pam and Bill Royall commissioned Shepard Fairey, renowned contemporary street artist, graphic designer, and activist to design the logo for CURRENT (see above image). Playing off the fair’s name — a nod to the nearby James River, the idea of the new, and the notion of an electric spark — Fairey created a graphic inspired by the landmark TV tower on Broad Street that is located mere blocks from the art fair.

CURRENT kicks off Thursday, Oct. 20 with a preview party at Hohman Design in Scott’s Addition. The party is an opportunity for collectors to get a sneak peek at artwork and purchase in advance. (If you have your eye on a piece, this is the time to mark your territory!) I’ll be there looking at pieces to buy / catching up with friends, so if you go, say, “hi!” The art fair runs Friday, Oct. 21 through Sunday, Oct. 23. For more details on the fair — times, food and beer info, extracurricular events, etc., click on over to

And now for the fun part of the blog post — a few pieces that will be featured at the event …


“The inspiration of my work is an ever-ricocheting attention span, resulting in a worldview constructed with pop culture, public radio, punk rock, and conspiracy theories,” writes artist Andrew Kozlowski, of his work. “Often my works on paper engage in oblique conversations through their placement, utilizing the process of closure and the language of comics to generate narratives, as well as considering traditional print media and its relationship to the multiples that litter our landscapes.” • Monolith screen print, 13 x 10 inches via 1708 Gallery

bruce_wilhelm_trippels_blue_tape_72_l2Richmond native Bruce Wilhelm is known for exploring new ways of making art — from his animated paintings using homemade video players to his take on British sporting paintings. This particular piece from the series “Trippels” was created using layers on layers of paint and peeling away masking tape, revealing an entirely new, surprise painting underneath. Bruce received his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, his BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University, and has been exhibiting with ADA Gallery in Richmond since 2005. He’s received the VMFA Fellowship for Painting in both 2004 and 2006.  • Trippels: Blue Ribbon, acrylic on canvas, 26.25 x 21.25 inches, 2016

Alyssa SalomanANIMAL LAND is a new project by visual artist Alyssa C. Salomon in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University, and Anne Wright, director of Environmental Outreach at the Rice Rivers Center. The series shines light on the wildlife dwellings among tamed and untamed habitats threaded along the James River in Central Virginia. The images primarily draw on night-vision infrared stills collected in the James River Park System and are made using 19th century photographic printmaking processes. • EK000183 2015-11-30 JRP, by Alyssa Salomon, in collaboration with Anne Wright, Science in the Park, and VCU Rice Rivers Center. 16.75 x 16.75 inches, Van dyke photo emulsion on kozo-abaca paper, waxed via Candela Books & Gallery 















“All my work is rooted in nature or in natural phenomena, like wind or *currents* or waves,” Sue Heatley says of her art. “For me, it’s really important that art doesn’t hit you in the face with its meaning. You have to come to it as a viewer and make your own sense out of it.” • Blue Creeper, Rust Ripple, Moss Grainrelief print on Sekishu paper, 18 1/4 x 17 3/4 inches, limited edition Monotype via Glave Kocen Gallery


“I am passionate about challenging preconceived notions of the shared human experience and eroding the conventionally assigned racial archetypes'” says artist S. Ross Browne. “To that end in [the Self Evident Truths] series I examine the possible in the perceived introspections and shared history of my subjects in classical pictorial representations using delineations of factual chronicles and imagined mythology. Using portraiture replete with persuasive imagery that defies the common visual library, I make conduit for communication and an instigator of discourse.” • Princess______ IV, 2016, oil on clapboard, 12 x 12 inches via Page Bond Gallery


Suzanna Fields’ spring show at Quirk Gallery, titled “Inside Out”, had an amazing response and those who came to view her work were fascinated by her unique and complex processes of extruding, pouring, dripping, spraying, cutting, and drawing with paint and ink. “An intermingling of high and low, contemplation and spontaneity, my work mixes wonder with ebullience, persistence and unease,” she says. • Chasing The Feeling, detail, ink and acrylic on synthetic paper, 48 by 60 inches via Quirk Gallery

“There is a modesty in Freed’s work — not of ambition but of presentation — that is like the spread of light in certain Renaissance paintings. One doesn’t know where it come from, but it is everywhere, enlightening, leaving us, somehow, more room to look in, a seduction of sorts that eschews excess,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright, of Virginia artist David Freed’s work • Rain I; etching, woodblock, and pastel on paper; 9.5 x 12.5 inches via Reynolds Gallery

My Favorite Richmond Vintage Furniture + Decor Boutiques


Some of my most beloved pieces of furniture and decor have been culled from the vintage furniture stores right here in Richmond. I try to make a habit of scoping out my favorite second-hand shops monthly. I usually stick to the ones nearby in the Near West End — Eviction, Susan’s Selections, Verve Home Furnishings, and Born Again Furnishings.

In August, Class + Trash opened a second location in Scott’s Addition at 1720 Altamont Ave. I stumbled upon the new warehouse while leaving Eviction one Saturday morning. Class + Trash’s new space is filled with a mix of antiques, industrial pieces, hardware, along with patio furniture and garden decor. I purchased a galvanized “Virginia” sign that now hangs in my home office, along with a rusty metal “M” (for Moomaw) that adorns our tiny kitchen.


One of my all-time favorite places to find unique pieces is Verve Home Furnishings at 4903 W. Leigh St. Owner Kim Vincze’s love for Asian-inspired decor and Hollywood Regency style is on display in the 12,000-square-foot warehouse that she shares with a few other local vendors. When we first moved to town, we scored a fabulous English antique dining room table along with a funky orange floral wingback chair from the warehouse. If you are looking for a statement piece, this is the place to go.


Another go-to for accent furniture is Born Again Furnishings at 5446 W. Broad St. One recent Saturday morning when visiting the shop, as new items were being unloaded, and I eyed this teak record cabinet ($175). I have been looking for a new entryway piece for the past year-and-a-half, and finally came across this clean, contemporary-looking cabinet.


Born Again also sells up-cycled furniture as well. A few years ago I purchased this bar cart ($225) created by Bill McCarthy, who fuses together pieces to create rustic-meets-industrial furniture. I wrote this little Q&A about his re-fabricated pieces for R•Home awhile back.


Tucked behind the Krispy Kreme off Broad Street, Susan’s Selections has always proven to be a gold mine. When we first moved to town, I purchased an Martha Washington sewing table for $125 from the store. I even recall at one point in time seeing an authentic Cherner Chair.

The above vintage rattan chair that I found at Susan’s reminds me of my Nana Sue. When I was a little girl, her beach apartment was decorated with ’70s-era Peacock chairs. This small rattan chair was just $40 at Susan’s, which is such a steal. I saw a similar chair on Etsy recently for $225! Word on the street is that Susan’s is moving to a new location. More info TBA.


POP-UP SALES: Another way to find great pieces is at pop-up sales. For instance, Susan Auman of Ralph’s Warehouse had a fabulous yard sale a few years back, where I purchased a vintage typewriter ($25) in working condition, along with a few fun tcotckes. Also, last year, artist Maurice Beane and gallery owner Geraldine Duskin were hosting monthly warehouse sales in the back of Ghostprint Gallery. For $40 I bought three animal skulls, much to my husband’s chagrin.screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-7-11-20-pm

What are your favorite places to purchase second-hand and vintage pieces in town? Currently looking for statement rugs, abstract artwork, and prints. I look forward to hearing your recommendations! cheers, marissa

Isca Greenfield-Sanders exhibit at Reynolds Gallery

Dunes, mixed media oil on canvas, 2015, 63 x 63 inches

New York-based artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders will be exhibiting her contemporary paintings, watercolors, and drawings in the exhibit Balance Point at Reynolds Gallery Sept. 9 through Oct. 28, 2016. An opening reception will be held at the gallery Friday, Sept. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Painted in subtle hues, Greenfield-Sanders’ ethereal watercolors of American experiences — beach trips, the sea, summer camp — have a washed-out quality to them, playing on the concept of fleeting time and hazy memories. Greenfield-Sanders blends elements of time through paint, manipulating memory, vision, and historical art practices. 

Dock Girls, mixed media oil on canvas, 35 x 35 inches

Greenfield-Sanders’ process is almost like that of memory — as each image is recollected, details fade.

“The integrity of memory is diminished the more you recall it. As you think about something over and over, you infuse it with details that did not exist. This relates to how I make my work,” Greenfield-Sanders says. “I drag the original image through different incarnations but by keeping the photographic scaffold, my viewers read it as within the realm of the real. Yet each turn I’m eroding the photographic information.” 

Bucket Beach, mixed media oil on canvas, 35 x 35 inches

ARTISTIC PROCESS: The artist transforms found slides from the ’50s and ’60s by scanning and gridding them, and then applying layers of watercolor, colored pencil, or oil paint.

“The resulting painting blends photographic and painted elements to reimagine scenes of beach vacations or Nantucket outings. With fuzzy figures and muddled blues, her painted imagery evokes a nostalgic air that tugs at the viewer’s memory and perception.” – Reynolds Gallery

To learn more about about the artist, visit

The Big Easy meets Asian at The Dog & Pig Show


Photo by Betty Clicker

Recently I wrote a profile on Richmond’s eatery The Dog & Pig Show for The Scout Guide. I’m a huge fan of this little joint because of the way Chef James marries the bold flavors of New Orleans and Southeast Asia. It’s such an unexpected and perfect fusion of flavors. Here’s a little excerpt from the piece.

Richmond, Virginia is enjoying a Golden Era of dining. It seems that every week a new article is published on the city’s latest culinary triumph, with one journalist after the next raving about the area’s restaurants and food producers.

The much-deserved credit for this newfound recognition goes to the restaurant owners and chefs who saw potential in the city, and who recognized that Virginia has an amazing arsenal of farms, fisheries, and food makers that can provide them with the fresh bounty that’s at the heart of their creations.

Among the people at the center of this culinary movement are James and Isabel Eckrosh, who moved to Richmond and opened their fast-casual eatery, The Dog & Pig Show, in January 2015. At the time, their historic neighborhood, Church Hill, was already enjoying a resurgence, and the city’s culinary scene was making leaps and bounds toward its current status as an up-and-coming food destination.

Arriving from New Orleans, where James was head chef in highly regarded—and highly popular—restaurants, the husband-and-wife duo brought the distinct flavors of The Big Easy to their new endeavor. A menu of comforting dishes like po’ boys, shrimp and grits, and grilled cheese that you can dip into a hot habanero tomato soup lured in hungry diners and made The Dog & Pig Show an instant hit.

You can read the whole story here. cheers, marissa


Discover Richmond: A Dog Owner’s Guide

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Earlier this week, the fall edition of Discover Richmond hit newsstands, and my sweet little Harvey’s face is gracing the cover. (That’s also me pushing him in his bike basket.) I pitched a dog owner’s guide to the Richmond Times-Dispatch because Harvey comes with me when I’m out and about — to breweries, the river, restaurants, you name it. Richmond is such a dog-friendly city, and I wanted to highlight some of the places you can go and things you can do with your furry friends in tow. Since moving to Richmond nearly four years ago, I’ve been exploring the city with Harvey by my side. Here are a few of my favorite snapshots of our adventures in the city. Also, a behind-the-scenes look at Harvey conducting research for this story.

Go out and grab a copy off newsstands now, and be sure to include your canine companion in your next River City adventure. cheers, marissa

Shagbark, Where Eating Is Believing

“Eating is an agricultural act.”
— Wendell Berry

Dining at Shagbark, Chef Walter Bundy’s dazzling new restaurant, I can’t help but think of Wendell Berry’s wise words, “Eating is an agricultural act.”

From produce grown in the fertile Shenandoah Valley to seafood culled from the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s bounty is overfloweth. I find myself constantly amazed by the farmers, artisans, and chefs who are stewards of our land and food, championing community and what is grown nearby. RVAdine’s newest gem, Shagbark embraces Virginia’s bounty with such sincerity and beauty, shaping dishes (and cocktails!) out of the freshest flavors of the season.

Choosing what we eat and where we eat empowers not just us as consumers, but our greater community. While eating at Shagbark is a one-of-a-kind experience of delicious food and lovely wine, it’s much more. It’s supporting our local purveyors — folks who run oyster companies on the eastern shore, wineries along the Blue Ridge, and the little farms just right out our back door.

Below, I’ve shared some of the dishes that highlight local flavor.

SUMMER STRONG. This cocktail is a summer Caprese salad in liquid form with milk-washed UA navy-strength gin, Campari, local basil and tomato shrub, lime, and garnished with a mozzarella ball, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaf. $13

TASTE OF TANGIER. These meaty oysters have layers of depth. Tangier, an island off the coast of Virginia, just started harvesting and selling their oysters. The island is located in its very own zone, which makes these oysters truly one of a kind, unlike any other in the Chesapeake area. Great eaten straight-up or dressed. I really wish we would’ve splurged and gone for the dozen.

Shagbark also serves oysters from Big Island Aquaculture in Gloucester, Shooting Point Oyster Company in Franktown, and White Stone Oyster Company in White Stone. 1/2 dozen $13, dozen $24


HAM AND CHEESE. Slather a heap of Sam’s ham salad topped with crispy crumbs and Bundy’s sharp Pimiento cheese over Billy Bread sourdough slices. $9
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BREAD AND BUTTER. This isn’t your basic bread and butter. Made from Chef Bundy’s honey (he keeps bees in Goochland), this honey butter is sprinkled simply with sea salt. Spread over Billy Bread.

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetCREAMY VIDALIA ONION BISQUE. This tiny teacup is jam-packed with flavor — grilled onions, Sunburnt Farms rainbow trout caviar, lump blue crab, and red chile oil. $8


MANAKINTOWNE FARM SQUASH BLOSSOM. Delicate blooms are stuffed with herbed goat chesese, and accompanied by roasted peppers and tomato coulis, and drizzled with an herbaceous basil oil. $9

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CHICKEN-FRIED CHESAPEAKE BABY OYSTERS. Move over tuna, you are no longer the chicken of the sea. Deep-fried in crispy batter, these bivalve beauts are served over Byrd Mill stone-ground grits with dill pickle remoulade and Tabasco butter. $11

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BROWN BUTTER-BASTED SCALLOPS. The crown jewels of the dish, buttery and bright sea scallops are served over Anson Mills Carolina gold rice middlins, applewood-smoked bacon, local swiss chard blackened tomato sauce. $26

Aside from food producers, other talented locals like lighting designer Wendy Umanoff and woodworkers Wellborn + Wright also played an integral role in the restaurant, giving Shagbark its rustic chic atmosphere.

The restaurant has a patio/bar menu, as well as a full dinner menu. So you can stop in for a casual bite to eat and drink at the bar, or if you are looking for the full Bundy experience, make reservations and arrive hungry.

Places like Shagbark make me proud to be living, and eating, in RVA. — marissa

Early Mountain Vineyards Visit

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With a glass of Early Mountain Vineyards‘ bright rose in hand, I’m transported sip by sip back to the Madison County winery.

Located north of Charlottesville, the vineyard is just a 1.5-hour jaunt from Richmond. Driving on the bucolic Blue Ridge Turnpike — the most scenic leg of the journey —  you can’t help but let your worries wash away as you find yourself in one of the most picturesque parts of the state.

The winery is a happy place too. (And, that’s not just the wine speaking.) Sitting on 300-some acres with 33 acres under vine, the vineyard is home to blocks that range in variety from muscat and petit mansing to cabernet sauvignon and tannat. The iconic Blue Ridge backdrop paired with delectable wine makes for a truly magical experience.
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Vines were planted in 2005 with the winery opening in 2009. Then in 2012 the vineyard was purchased by AOL co-founder Steve Case and his wife Jean Case, who spearheaded marketing and branding for AOL. The Cases renovated the tasting facility, hiring Richmond-based interior design Janie Molster to transform the space to resemble a modern-day Tuscan villa.

The winery recently hired the talented winemaker Ben Jordan who got his start in Sonoma. During my visit, Ben explained that at its core Early Mountain is all about the art of blending, creating complex, layered wines with texture and dimension. To name a few, the winery produces a cab franc-driven blend and merlot-driven blend, along with Five Forks, a white mashup of viognier, sauvignon blanc, petit manseng, muscat, and pinot gris.   They also produce straight-up varietals of cabernet franc, chardonnay, and pinot gris. The winery even has a rose (one of my faves) that is exceptionally food friendly, and not saccharine like some blushes.

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My main draw to visit Early Mountain was the arrival of winery’s new chef Ryan Collins, who hails from Think Food Group in D.C. He has a rich restaurant resume that ranges from 112 Eatery in Minneapolis to Oyamel in Washington D.C. Heading up the kitchen at Early Mountain, Ryan is embracing the local bounty and showcasing it in a new, exciting light.


Summer salad of peaches, buratta, heirloom tomatoes, hazelnut, praline, watercress, and basil oil.


Shrimp cocktail with a subdued sauce (toned down horseradish), with pickled mustard seeds, blistered tomatoes, and Gulf shrimp.


Meat + cheese plate with housemade chicken and mortadella terrine, Rock Barn hickory ham, Caromont Red Row cheese, housemade ricotta, apricot mustardo (made with the vineyard’s pinot gris), crystalized honey, and housemade pickles.


Classic buttermilk (boneless!) fried chicken with fennel and pickled rhubarb tossed in a mayo + nectarine vinegar dressing.

I’m dreaming of my next trip to Madison to explore the surrounding countryside. What are your favorite places to visit in the Madison and Orange area?

xo, marissa