Four Decades of Support Becomes Forever Gift

John and Patsy Barr

John and Patsy Barr

John and Patsy Barr settled in Richmond more than 50 years ago as John was completing his law degree at the University of Richmond. They soon became regular visitors to the museum, getting to know the collection and enjoying special exhibitions. The ancient galleries were a frequent destination for Patsy, a former teacher, who brought her Latin students on field trips.

"Richmond is a wonderful place to call home for many reasons, but the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is at the top of the list for us," Patsy says. "Art, like music and theater, opens our minds to the world's cultures from the beginning of recorded history to the present. Through its collections, exhibitions, and programs, VMFA makes great works of art available to the people of Virginia and beyond free of charge, 365 days a year."

"To be part of the museum's growth over the last 40-some years has been rewarding beyond measure," adds John. He sees VMFA today standing on equal footing with other great American museums like The Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. "Through its leadership, VMFA has captured incredible exhibits, such as the Terracotta Warriors, Picasso, and Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities, that were available only to one or two institutions in the United States."

As a volunteer with the VMFA Council for two decades, working in the VMFA Shop, organizing luncheons for Fine Arts & Flowers, and co-editing The Councillor newsletter, Patsy has seen the museum's evolution up close. "VMFA is much more than the art, exhibits, and programs available for education and enjoyment," she explains. "It is the women and men who spend countless hours to ensure excellence and authenticity in everything the museum does."

The couple makes a gift to support the museum every year and view their planned gift as a way to continue giving beyond their lifetimes. "Public funding is only a small part of the museum's budget," John notes. "Private financial support—large and small—is critical to VMFA's success in the years to come and we're glad to be part of that effort."

Like the Barrs, you can make a gift that supports VMFA's future. To learn how, please contact Erin Sheets Elder at 804.340.1619 or