Aug 21, 2013

PFAC to Become the Peninsula Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University

(Newport News, Va.) - The membership of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center at its annual meeting on Monday, August 5, officially approved a merger with Christopher Newport University. Both the University and the greater Hampton Roads community will benefit from this relationship through enhanced exhibitions, public programming and educational opportunities for generations to come.

CNU joins the ranks of other prestigious liberal arts universities with fine arts museums and a mission to educate, engage and inspire the campus community and general public through shared experiences with the visual arts.

“Our mission is to instruct and inspire, and nothing instructs and inspires more powerfully than great art and great architecture. This new relationship helps us to fulfill our educational mission and in partnership with the PFAC expand and enhance visual-arts programming for all the citizens of our community and commonwealth,” said CNU President Paul Trible.

In this last General Assembly session, the governor and the Virginia General Assembly granted approval for CNU to proceed with the design of a new fine arts center, which will include museum and gallery spaces as well as state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces. The Peninsula Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University will continue to operate at its present location until construction is completed.

Courtney Gardner, Executive Director of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, noted, “As we create a new art museum for the 21st century, we are able to take advantage of the Center’s resources as well as the vast array of arts programs at CNU. The new fine arts center will allow for the presentation of nationally significant exhibitions, research and conservation, and it will create opportunities to develop new audiences from throughout Hampton Roads and beyond.”

Community and business leader David Peebles said, “The Peninsula Fine Arts Center has enjoyed 51 years of relevance in the arts community, teaching not only adults but children from our public schools, recognizing aspiring artists, promoting formidable art shows, and including outstanding volunteers and inspiring loyal patrons of the arts. Our CNU connection will allow us to dream great dreams and work to make those dreams reality – a tribute to our past accomplishments, an inspiration to a bright future.”

Former Newport News Mayor Joe Frank noted, “This community is blessed and enriched by the arts: the sculptures placed in our public spaces by the Art Foundation, the Ferguson Center for the Arts, the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, and by our museums – The Mariners’ Museum, the Virginia Living Museum, the War Museum, Endview Plantation and others. The new relationship between our exceptional and highly successful university, Christopher Newport, which brings so much in so many ways to our community, and the PFAC, which has served us so well for over 50 years, will add a new dimension to the quality and accessibility of the arts on the Peninsula.”

Membership and public support will continue to be key to the Center’s success. The PFAC currently has approximately 1,000 members. As with the PFAC, the Peninsula Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University will be an affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Future plans for the Center include hosting important traveling collections, the presentation of exhibitions by emerging and regional artists, cross-disciplinary and experiential learning opportunities for students of all ages, and the establishment of a permanent collection.

A four-year public university in Newport News, Virginia, Christopher Newport University enrolls 5,000 students in rigorous academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences through the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences, including the Luter School of Business. CNU offers great teaching and small class sizes with an emphasis on leadership, civic engagement and honor.

Media Contact:
Lori Jacobs
Director of Public Relations

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