When the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) was planning their Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose exhibition in 2015, Virginia Beach’s arts district had just been formalized by City Council.
The arts district, anchored by the nationally accredited contemporary art museum, took vision, dedication and imagination, much like the Turn the Page exhibit. Both would push boundaries to promote Virginia Beach as a travel-worthy cultural destination.
Flash forward to today and Virginia Beach is two years in with the up-and-coming ViBe Creative District, which includes some of the City’s most creative individuals, and MOCA’s Turn the Page exhibit has begun a national tour to museums in Ohio and California.
“MOCA is delighted that Turn the Page is traveling to two prominent museums after its successful presentation here in Virginia Beach,” said MOCA’s Director of Exhibitions and Education, Alison Byrne. “We’ve really enjoyed collaborating with our colleagues in Akron and Sacramento. This is such a wonderful opportunity to share this one-of-a-kind exhibition and highlight Virginia MOCA and Hi-Fructose to an ever-expanding audience.”
The exhibit took years to assemble, drawing on 51 loans from private collectors, artists, museums and gallerists all over the world. When it opened at MOCA, local artists from the ViBe Creative District helped play a role in opening night festivities. The community buzzed with energy surrounding the artwork.
Now on exhibit at the Akron Art Museum (AAM) through May 7th, the Turn the Page exhibit continues to stretch imaginations and challenge minds in conservative Northern Ohio. The exhibition’s progressive content and the relationship to the well-read art publication, Hi-Fructose Magazine, were two key selling points for AAM. Their curators knew that this type of artwork was not often seen in Akron, which made it even more important to bring it to their museum.
“We expected a positive and robust response to this exhibit,” said Elizabeth M. Carney, Assistant Curator at AAM. “The variety of people interested is very diverse—some people have been following these artists for a decade and finally have a chance to see their works in person.”
Just like at MOCA, visitors to the exhibition have traveled from other states just to see specific works by favorite artists, and some to see the visiting artists themselves. AAM, the only northeast venue for the exhibit, has hosted an artist pop-up by Tara McPherson and has planned an artist talk with Beth Cavener later this month.
“People have been amazed by the quality of these artworks,” said Carney. “Word of mouth and social media have played a huge role in attracting our audience.”
If you find yourself traveling through the Northeast before May 7th, be sure to stop by Akron to check out their interpretation of this exhibit. Gone are the charcoal grey walls and Hi-Fructose Magazine cover wallpaper featured at MOCA—Akron features a clean slate with white wall and minimalist decals to lead visitors through the gallery.
Next stop: Turn the Page heads to the Crocker Art Museum in California in June, taking MOCA’s exhibit and Virginia Beach’s artistic reach bi-coastal.