As I look around and quietly watch the autumn leaves display their colorful hues of brown, yellow, red, and orange, it reminds me of the wonder of how their collective differences coexist. During this historic turn of events, cloaked in uncertainty, we must give thanks for the resilience of humanity. Our willingness as humans to reach out to help others, whether a single soul, a community, or an organization like ours, is alive and well. Seeing this outpouring of care has empowered us to stay the course, knowing that our mission is timeless.
In the midst of the pandemic, we donated masks and continued limited outreach programs in the community. An observer commented, "Why are doing this? You are only a small organization?" It's the right thing to do, and we are all in this together.
Proof of this unity and compassion: VAACC was awarded a COVID-19 Recovery Arts grant, we launched a successful membership drive and have hired our first executive director.
These gifts recall the old saying: “Give and it shall be given to you.” We are very grateful that this community's spirit of humanity will allow us to enrich a mosaic of knowledge and experiences that will be shared through the Virginia African American Cultural Center - like the colorful hues of the autumn leaves.
- Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond
Founder and Chairman
MEET OUR NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
She received her Master’s in business education from Columbia University, New York, N.Y. Rhodes-Copeland's professional background is in education and school administration. She worked at various schools in New York City and retired from ECPI College, where, for over 15 years, she worked in a variety of administrative positions. Her love for the arts was developed during her growing years with her family and at Norfolk State University. It was nourished in New York City through the many theater, opera, and artistic events she attended.
She has made her mark in Virginia with the ownership of the Art Atrium II art gallery in Portsmouth; curatorship of many art exhibitions (outdoors and in local arts venues), her work with museums (chair of the Friends of African Art at the Chrysler Museum), and as the Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads. The Alliance provided support and training for various Hampton Roads arts and cultural organizations. Under her leadership, the Alliance won a state award from the Virginia Arts Commission (50 for 50 state recognition award in November 2016) for its work in the statewide arts community.
Rhodes-Copeland was presented the Martin Luther King Dreamer Award by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in January 2017 as a tribute to her work in the arts community and her efforts to bring all groups into the arts. Recently, she ended her tenure as the co-chairman of the Regional South Atlantic Arts and Letters Committee of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Her vision, hopes, and dreams for the VAACC include a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the Center's construction. "We can then walk through the doors and showcase the VAACC, a facility that will house artifacts and serve as a contemporary venue to feature programs and exhibitions that enlighten and feature the contributions of African Americans in our State," Rhodes-Copeland said. she sees her job as working with the Board to develop and execute procedures and programs that will increase the visibility and financial stability of the Center so that its distinction and prominence will be heightened throughout the state of Virginia, assuring the success of the Capital Campaign and the achievement of our ultimate goals and vision.
WELCOME TO OUR NEW MEMBERS!
Kudos to Board Members Shevette Jones for spearheading this Membership Drive. We brought in over 110 members at various giving levels. These members, along with our wonderful grantors and donors, supported our Operation Budget.
VAACC participated in the Athletes for Excellence seminars by presenting Cultural Enrichment programs on October 19th and 20th, at the new Virginia Beach Sports Center.
The youth from the Historic Seatack Community learned the importance of family history by working on a family tree activity. One youth shared his Native American heritage and another reflected on his Jamaican descendants. The parents were so thrilled with the activity that they asked for copies of the family trees to replicate with other family members. Indeed, knowledge is power!
Since our inception, VAACC has reached thousands through our interactive programs, artwork, co-partnerships, forums, lectures, social media, outreach activities and volunteerism.
The Center will be sustained with an appropriate mix of earned and contributed income. We believe the Center is a project worthy of your support, especially during this pandemic.
We thank you for being a part of our celebration. You continue to inspire and energize us towards our vision that one-day VAACC will be the statewide leader in generating historical and cultural content through programs, artistic performances, and curated exhibits.
Stay safe and healthy,
Founder/Chairman and Board of Directors
Virginia African American Cultural Center, Inc.
The VAACC is a public-private partnership between the Virginia African American Cultural Center, Inc., and the City of Virginia Beach.