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February 19, 2004
CONTACT: Jennifer Bridges, 804-937-2454
or Janel Kane, 804-726-4442

Richmond's leading non-profit gallery for the visual and performing arts begins new era with 2004 exhibition of Virginia photographers

Richmond - The long-awaited opening of Richmond's Artspace in the rapidly-emerging Arts District In Manchester (ADIM) will take place on Friday, March 5, when the gallery formally opens its doors in the sprawling and spacious Plant Zero Art Center. Plant Zero occupies the site of a former Westvaco warehouse and manufacturing facility on Hull Street just across the James River from Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom. It covers an entire city block and has been under major renovations for more than a year.

The grand opening of the facility gets underway at 6:30 p.m. and will continue until 10 p.m. Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine will lead a host of local dignitaries and politicians in a short opening ceremony that will include a formal ribbon-cutting during the evening. There will be refreshments, a cash bar and tours of the facility throughout the evening.

The initial exhibit for Artspace in this new location will be "Celebratory Inauguration: VSPA @ Artspace," the 2004 membership exhibition of the Virginia Society for the Photographic Arts, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting art through photography. The VSPA show will be on exhibit at Artspace through March 28. In support of the Artspace opening, other professional artists such as Beth Beaven and Wolfgang Jasper, of Howldog Photography, will open their new studios in Plant Zero and welcome patrons to view their work.

Artspace made the decision to move into the ADIM arts district in late summer 2003 when it became apparent that this newest downtown revitalization project was attracting a "critical mass" of many of Central Virginia's most talented and well-known working artists. In addition to Artspace, the Plant Zero facility contains more than 75 working studios of wide-ranging dimensions, and more than 60 artists of various disciplines have already leased these spaces as final construction details are being completed. The School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University has leased an adjoining building from Plant Zero where visiting artists-in-residence will work during their tenure in Richmond. In addition, ArtWorks Studios and Galleries, a full-service art center, will also provide retail opportunities for art patrons. It is located within Plant Zero as well, and it has already leased most of its 70 smaller, exhibit-oriented studios to other working artists.

Artspace officers said that, in addition to the excitement of becoming a leading catalyst in helping to establish this innovative arts district, the airy and open performance space in the new facility was a key component in their decision to move into Plant Zero. "There is enormous potential for a variety of performance artists that was not available before in our former location," said Kitty Johnson, Artspace president. "Of course we are a visual gallery as well, but we are very excited about our new ability in this wonderful facility to have wide-ranging performances from both local and visiting artists."

Plant Zero is being developed by Tom Papa, a former attorney who has been instrumental in a variety of major redevelopment projects throughout Shockoe Bottom, Church Hill, and now, the Hull Street area. In addition to Plant Zero, Papa is completing construction on a number of apartments and condominiums in the upper floors of Plant Zero and neighboring buildings. Papa's partners in the Plant Zero development are local businessmen Rick Gregory and Ted Cox. Their project complements the ongoing efforts of Tom Robinson, another developer who has been instrumental in beginning the revitalization of the entire Manchester area through the development of numerous apartment and condominium renovations. Robinson has led other developers in the acquisition of an estimated $5 million in property along the Hull Street corridor.

Artspace, Richmond's premier non-profit gallery for the visual and performing arts, has been a mainstay in the local artist community for more than 15 years. Its members promote the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. It is artist-run, and it encourages new works from both established and emerging visual and performance artists. Artspace, which offers both monthly exhibitions and regularly scheduled performances, has been an important part of the process that helped develop Plant Zero. Artspace president Johnson says members of her organization look forward to ongoing contributions to the progress of the Arts District in Manchester as a catalyst for revitalization in downtown Richmond.

Artspace is located just off Hull Street at 31 East 3rd Street, which is just south of Shockoe Bottom. From downtown, drive south on 14th Street and cross the Mayo Bridge; Plant Zero is on the left less than half a mile from the north bank of the river. A parking lot with capacity for 140 cars is located directly in front of the Plant Zero entrance at Zero East 4th Street, and the lot faces Hull Street. More information on Artspace and this exciting new project can be found on its website, www.artspacegallery.org.


  • Mission: Artspace is a non-profit gallery for the visual and performing arts that is dedicated to improving the understanding and awareness of contemporary art.
  • Artspace was founded in 1988
  • All categories of membership exceeds 40
  • Artspace is funded through membership dues, community support and grant awards
  • Artspace opens a new work and a reception for the exhibiting artists every first Friday of the month
  • Artspace has served as a forum for original work in poetry, prose, drama, dance and music; the monthly exhibitions and "performance art" series have placed Artspace on the cutting edge of the artistic scene in Richmond
  • Traditional, contemporary and avant-garde artists have exhibited at Artspace from around the world. Visiting artists from the United States have been from New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Washington, D.C. Foreign artists who have shown or performed their works at Artspace have come from France, Russia, Yugoslavia, Qatar, Mexico and Peru.

    ARTSPACE GALLERY : Zero E. 4th St. : RICHMOND,VA 23224
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