VMFA's Picasso piques interest in Richmond

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Picassos have arrived in Richmond. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' much talked about "Pablo Picasso exhibit" is two days way from its debut.

The works represent every major artistic period of Picasso's eight decade career. There are 176 pieces on display. The exhibition is expected to bring hundreds of thousands to the river city. It's the only place on the east coast to see 8 decades of Picasso. His personal collection, on loan from Paris.

Hundreds came out to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Thursday for a special media preview. Museum Curator John Ravenal expects more than 200,000 visitors in less than four months.  "It's a really rare opportunity to see a full retrospective of his career with major works including iconic works that are text book examples and to see these works you would have to travel to Paris to see them together like this."

Picasso kept these particular pieces to shape his own legacy. Nearby Richmond restaurants and shops are hoping to use the Picasso mania to pick up business.

"We saw that in Seattle that everybody got in on the act and they really claimed the exhibition as a community," said Ravenal.

Nacho Mama's in Richmond's Carytown is offering up Picasso margaritas. No two are alike. "It's a little bit abstract and a little bit cubed. So, we're bringing something unique to our regular customers and those that are coming for the exhibit." said owner Raul Cantu. You also get 10% off your meal just for saying "Picasso."

The Strawberry Street Café has a 10 percent discount as well. All you have to do is show your Picasso ticket stub. The restaurant is also mimicking the master -- in chalk. Five Picasso replicas in all will surround you as you dine.

"While they're having dinner just think, man I saw that or I can't believe she did that with chalk. It's just a good experience and her work is incredible," said owner Ron Joseph.

You can see Picasso in Richmond starting this Saturday February 19. It runs through May 15. From here the exhibition goes to San Francisco.

If you want to avoid the crowds, the museum recommends you check out the exhibit on Mondays or Tuesdays late in the afternoon. Museum officials estimate the economic impact of this exhibit will be between $25 million to $35 million.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.