Art Connection Hampton Roads

by Shannon Bowman

The Art Connection Hampton Roads (ACHR) is a unique gifting program that places donated, original works of visual art with human service organizations throughout Hampton Roads.

The mission of ACHR is to connect donated, original works of art to organizations that otherwise would not have access to them so that their clients might be able to experience the transformative powers of original art. Sometimes just one painting or sculpture makes a world of difference!


History of Art Connection Hampton Roads

Originally founded in Boston in 1995 by Norfolk, VA native Fay Chandler, Art Connection programs in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia, have facilitated the donation of thousands of pieces of art to deserving agencies serving hundreds of thousands of people. With generous support from the Slover Fund of The Boston Foundation and the Batten Family, ARCH attempt to reach out to people with limited access to the arts due to health, economic, or social conditions. Art Connection Hampton Roads is an extension of the generous spirit of Fay Chandler and her insight that interaction with original works of art can transform lives every day.

Although now a long-time resident of Boston, Fay grew up in Norfolk’s Larchmont neighborhood. Fay’s roots with ODU go back more than 80 years when she attended Larchmont Elementary School in what was to become the first building to house the then-fledgling Old Dominion University in 1930. Now 91-years old, Fay Chandler is a painter and sculptor who found her passion for creating art in the second half of her life. As she considered what to do with some of her inventory of work, she became convinced that the best result would be transferring it to interested social service organizations in the community that have no funds for purchasing art. As Fay made plans for a retrospective exhibition of her work at the Boston Center for the Arts, she decided to invite a number of diverse local public service organizations to attend the exhibition and to select pieces that would be donated to them if they were not purchased by the end of the exhibition. Encouraged by the level of community interest in the distribution of her work after the retrospective exhibit, Fay continued to consult with other artists and with community organizations promoting the arts about possible ways to expand the program. The program grew as founding directors recognized a demand for expanding public access to the visual arts and from their ability to build a unique program to meet that need. After almost two decades, Art Connection now flourishes in major metropolitan areas up and down the Atlantic coast, including Hampton Roads.


How does it work?

Artist-donors: The artist-donors are both established and emerging. Their work represents the spectrum of disciplines, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and mixed-media. They donate for a number of reasons, including working with a reliable program that makes the process simple.

Collector-donors: The Art Connection Hampton Roads also works with collectors who are interested in donating artwork. Collectors may want to make room in their collection for the acquisition of new pieces over time, and/or are interested in the tax deduction they are entitled to receive (Note: the law currently allows tax deductions for collectors only, not artists.). Children and spouses have also served as "collectors" of a family member's work they have inherited, and they may seek to donate works in an effort to find a lasting home for the artwork to inspire others.

Selection process: Once a digital image of the artwork is received by ACHR, it is added it to a database from which qualified agencies will make their selections. Because the agencies themselves select the artworks that best fit the needs of their clients and the space that they have, it may take some time for work to be selected.


You can find more about ARCH online or Facebook.