The Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission Announces 2019 Champion for the Arts Award Recipients

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

​The City of Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission is proud to announce that Meredith and Brother Rutter have been selected as recipients of the City's 2019 Champion for the Arts Award.

The idea for the award was generated through the development of the City's first strategic plan for the arts, Virginia Beach Arts Plan 2030, to recognize community members dedicated to the furtherance of the arts in Virginia Beach. The Commission felt that honoring citizens who go above and beyond to raise awareness for and engagement in the arts in Virginia Beach encourages others to make meaningful impacts in the community. The Commission is thrilled to honor Meredith and Brother with this well-deserved award.

As highly respected philanthropists, arts administrators, board members and advocates for art and education, Meredith and Brother Rutter have been ardent supporters of the arts in Virginia Beach and throughout Hampton Roads for many years. Through their foundation and volunteer work, especially with the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, they have cultivated and strengthened the cultural life of our region beyond measure.

"Both Mr. and Mrs. Rutter are generous benefactors to the arts and their steadfast advocacy has positively impacted all of Hampton Roads," said Cultural Affairs Director Emily Labows. "Their generosity and commitment are illustrated most notably through The Rutter Family Art Foundation and their numerous contributions to exhibitions at museums and galleries in the region including Virginia MOCA."

"Brother and Meredith are shining examples of passion for art converted to meaningful action," said Commission Chair C. Cheyney Cole, Jr. "They have deep knowledge and abiding love for contemporary art. Their foundation makes great art possible, the extensive personal collection they share with area museums makes great art accessible, and their dedication to serving communities through the arts make Virginia Beach a more creative and vibrant place to live."

Both have served on numerous boards including the Chrysler Museum and Virginia MOCA, and they serve on committees for the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Their pioneering work with the conversion of the Texaco building in Norfolk's NEON District formed a multi-faceted art hub and changed how artists and Hampton Roads encounter each other. By creating a method for funding and supporting arts organizations and artists, they have increased the volume of world-class art entering the region. Through their creation of a housing space for visiting artists, they have increased the scope of work local arts organizations can accomplish and enhanced the experience artists have when they visit. Finally, their gallery space coupled with their generous support of art centers and museums in the region has exponentially increased public access to the highest quality art, especially here in Brother's hometown of Virginia Beach through their work with Virginia MOCA.

Mrs. Rutter has served and chaired the board at Virginia MOCA, is a member of the Masterpiece Steering Committee at the Chrysler Museum, and a board member of the Norfolk Society of Arts. Mr. Rutter is a trustee at the Chrysler Museum and head of their Exhibitions Committee. Together they are co-founders of the Rutter Family Art Foundation, and they both sit on the Contemporary Art Collectors Committee and the Contemporary Art Exhibitions Committee for the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

An etched crystal plaque of their Champions for the Arts Award was presented to Meredith and Brother Rutter at a special reception co-hosted by the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission and Virginia MOCA in the Rodriguez Pavilion on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. Award recipients' names have been etched in brick and will be installed in the Champion for the Arts path in front of the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.

The mission of the Cultural Affairs Department is to engage residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities.

The Cultural Affairs Department achieves its mission by developing and guiding the vision and direction of the arts, culture and heritage experience in Virginia Beach. Cultural Affairs serves as a comprehensive resource to local arts and humanities organizations, citizens, and visiting artists.

The Cultural Affairs Department enhances the quality of life and economic vitality for the city by assisting and directing the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, coordinating the city's Public Art Program, providing contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, enhancing and supporting Cultural and Public Performing Arts Programming, managing and supporting the Virginia Beach History Museums, and serving as the liaison with Virginia MOCA, the ViBe Creative District, and the Virginia African American Cultural Center.  

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