Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and Virginia Wesleyan University Unveil Plans for Groundbreaking Partnership


The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia MOCA) and Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) proudly announce their collaboration on the construction of a state-of-the-art facility to be built on the University’s Virginia Beach campus. This monumental partnership is a major leap forward for the arts and education in the Hampton Roads community and beyond.

Our new home will serve as a hub for creativity and innovation, a vibrant gathering place where people of all walks can experience contemporary art in deeper and more interdisciplinary ways. With an inventive design and versatile spaces, the facility will enable us to host a range of exhibitions, performances, and educational programs for visitors and students of all ages. Its central location will make Virginia MOCA even more accessible, allowing us to better connect with and strengthen the fabric of the Hampton Roads community and beyond.

Press Release

Installation view of Swoon, Thalassa, 2012. Screenprint, coffee stain, hand painting on paper, 120 x 84 in. Collection of the Waldo Family. Photo by Lindsay Collette


July 25, 2023

I feel fortunate and proud to lead the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia MOCA), one of the very best contemporary art museums in the country and an important cultural asset of Virginia Beach.

I am so excited to announce that we will have a new home within our city, in a newly constructed, state-of-the-art facility on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU). This new home will serve as the anchor for Virginia MOCA to continue to fulfill our mission and to do so much more in the years to come.

Virginia MOCA’s mission is to present locally relevant, nationally resonant art that is exceptional. Recent exhibitions of the work of internationally known artists Maya Lin and Kara Walker, as well as our juried Made in VA exhibitions of the finest Virginia artists working today, demonstrate that we bring the most vibrant art of our time to our community. Virginia MOCA lives into its mission and our tagline: art lives here.

None of that will change with our move to VWU. But since I lead an art museum, please allow me to paint a picture of what more we will be able to achieve in our amazing new home, working in collaboration with VWU.

First, we will Educate.

Virginia MOCA already works closely with schools in Virginia Beach and throughout our region to educate students through innovative programming centered on the outstanding contemporary art we bring to our museum. Now we can provide those experiences for and with VWU students and faculty. Our new home will be much more than a building—it will be, in effect, an incredible new classroom. In it, we will conduct the very best interdisciplinary, experiential learning using the most vibrant art of our time. We will create new arts undergraduate and graduate programs and help VWU faculty use art as an inspirational tool for other academic disciplines. By engaging students of all ages and backgrounds, we will help shape the future leaders of the world through the power of art.

Second, we will Connect.

Virginia MOCA excels at drawing in our diverse community to experience art and art education. All ages, races, and cultures meet within our walls to experience art and explore what it means to them. We promote dialogue about the issues that matter in our region and our society. Our new home at VWU will be a vibrant gathering place for understanding, compassion, and community. It will be a flexible space, accessible for all, to come together and understand each other and our time, using the power of contemporary art—in all its timeliness, restlessness, and beauty.

And last, we will Serve.

Virginia MOCA will continue to elevate the city of Virginia Beach and our region. We are grateful for the ongoing support we receive from the Virginia Beach City Council and our wonderful relationship with the Virginia Beach City Manager’s office. And our economic impact is considerable: we bring visitors to our city, who then go to restaurants, hotels, and other attractions. Studies show that public money invested in Virginia MOCA yields a 300% return. We are proud that investment in Virginia MOCA pays off.

But our cultural impact is even greater than our economic impact. Our work strengthens the fabric of our community. Our work brings people together and brings beauty and joy to our community.

And we view these economic and cultural impacts as our responsibility to Virginia Beach and indeed to the entire state of Virginia. We serve the community by doing what only we can: we use contemporary art to bring people together and elevate our quality of life. This amazing new facility and our new affiliation with VWU will enable us to meet that responsibility even more fully for years to come.

We are so very excited to take this incredible leap forward for the arts and education in our region. This collaboration between Virginia MOCA and VWU will only increase the impacts we have in our community, and we invite you all to join us on this incredible journey.