Newcomers Embrace VMFA's Vision

Sue and Carl PatowSue and Carl Patow relocated to Richmond just five years ago but quickly embraced their new city and their new museum. Living in the Museum District, the couple has made the most of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts being open 365 days a year.

Walking their dog, Pungo, brings them to the Sculpture Garden most days. Attending member programs or Sue's duties as a Council volunteer merits another visit. Enjoying a glass of wine in view of Chihuly's Red Reeds on Friday evenings is a favorite way to end the week.

The couple's careers have prompted several moves, but a shared passion for the arts has been a constant—beginning with their first date at the National Gallery. Sue was a founding docent at the National Museum of Women in the Arts as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. After retiring from medicine, Carl is now pursuing an MFA in kinetic imaging, digital video and sculpture at VCU. Together, they collect modern and contemporary art.

When an opportunity to move back to the East Coast brought them to Virginia, becoming a VMFA member was an easy decision. The breadth and quality of the collection exceeded their expectations, but what was most striking was the museum's deep connection to the community.

"A museum with outstanding works of art in its galleries that is also engaging with a broad range of visitors—whether for happy hour or exhibitions or studio classes—is really exciting. That's not something that happens without thought and commitment to a vision," notes Sue.

The couple recently decided to include a bequest to the museum in their wills. "We believe in VMFA's mission, particularly the importance of art to education, and we want to ensure that it continues to thrive," explains Carl.

Sue sums up their decision this way: "Richmond is our hometown now. If you're a good citizen, you invest in your community—and in your museum." The Patows' planned gift will support fellowships and other graduate-level educational opportunities at VMFA.

Like Sue and Carl, you, too, can leave an artful legacy that reflects your passion and remains an inspiration for generations to come. Contact Erin Sheets Elder at 804.340.1619 or to get started today.