Overview: An Introduction to MRAA
The Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association
The Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association (MRAA) is a not for profit professional association whose purpose is to promote and encourage the creation of all forms of the visual arts and to foster information sharing through group sponsored workshops, programs and outstanding art exhibitions.
The MRAA began as two separate art organizations, the Richmond Artists Association and the Metropolitan Artists Association.
Looking for ways to display their artworks and introduce Richmond to contemporary fine art, a group of full time art instructors and other professional artists from the Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Arts) started the area’s very first art organization. The Richmond Artists Association began in 1955 with artist/lawyer, Westwood Winfree, as its first president and Theresa Pollock as one of its founding members. The Richmond Artists Association has been a leader in encouraging and showcasing all types of art throughout the community.
In 1963, the West End Allied Artists Association began with ten artists members. Later in 1979, and with seventy-four members, the name was changed to the Metropolitan Artists Association to better reflect the expanded membership. Members of the Metropolitan Artists Association were instrumental in the formation of Richmond’s only co-op gallery, Uptown Gallery.
In the fall of 2005, members of both groups met and decided to join together to form the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association. With the merger of these two long running and active organizations, a new exciting art society was created. Its shortened logo of “MRAA” is fast becoming a recognizable symbol associated with fine artists juried into this organization.
The Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association members generally meet the second Saturday of the month at 10 am at the Crossroads Art Gallery located at 2016 Staples Mill Road. There is time for members to socialize with refreshments followed by a variety of art-related educational lectures or interesting artist demonstrations. On occasion field trips are taken to local art venues of interest. Day trips to museums and galleries in Washington and Baltimore are also sponsored by the organization. December brings one of the highlights of the year, an annual party with a gift exchange of members’ original works of art.
Exhibitions are also a major focus of the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association. All exhibiting members are encouraged to display original artworks at MRAA art shows throughout the Richmond area. Crossroads Art Center, The James Center, Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen, and Uptown Gallery are just a few of the locations where group shows are held. Each year members display their latest pieces in an annual judged show at Crossroads Art Center.