The Moss Arts Center’s fall exhibitions explore the complex and revealing realities that inspire people to gather together through two distinct lenses — one shows gatherings in protest of police violence and social inequities, while the other portrays celebratory gatherings of two distinct American communities in the 1970s and '80s.

Featuring the work of acclaimed American photographers Sheila Pree Bright and Larry Fink, these two one-person photographic exhibitions open with a reception on Thursday, Sept. 9, from 5-7 p.m., in the Grand Lobby of the Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall. The galleries and all related events are free and open to the public.

A black and white image by photographer Sheila Pree Bright from a voter suppression rally in Atlanta, Georgia,  shows several protestors marching together down a street, some with megaphones.
Sheila Pree Bright's "The People's Uprising, Jim Crow 2.0 Voter Suppression Rally," Atlanta, GA. Digital print, 36 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of the artist

Sheila Pree Bright

"A Beautiful Struggle"

Ruth C. Horton Gallery

Bright is a fine arts photographer who captures individuals and communities that are often unseen. This exhibition includes large-scale photographs that poignantly portray the Black Lives Matter movement and responses to police shootings in Atlanta, Georgia; Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Interspersed throughout the exhibition as a counterpoint to preconceived stereotypes are images of middle class African American suburban communities. Bright has also created a new work commissioned by the Moss Arts Center that will make its debut in this exhibition.

The center will present an online artist talk with Bright on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m., where she will discuss her work and inspirations. The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Bright’s work has been exhibited widely in group exhibitions and is in the collection of the High Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of African History and Culture.

This exhibition is curated by Margo Crutchfield, former curator at large for the Moss Arts Center.

A black and white image by photographer Larry Fink titled Studio 54, New York, NY, May 1977, shows dressed up partygoers dancing.
Larry Fink's "Studio 54, New York, NY, May 1977." Archival pigment print, 22 x 17 inches. Image courtesy of the Virginia Tech Art Collection and donors Scott and Emily Freund and Michael and Jennifer Fay.

Larry Fink

“Gathering: Pearls and Polyester”

Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery and Sherwood Payne Quillen '71 Reception Gallery

Best known for his intimate black and white images of lively social events across various class and cultural spaces, this exhibition of Fink’s work includes a selection of photographic prints that spotlight the role of clothing and adornment in celebratory gatherings in two distinct American cultures during the 1970s and '80s: the glamorous high society of New York City and the spirited country life of Martins Creek, Pennsylvania.

These prints from Fink’s “Social Graces” series are from the Virginia Tech art collection and donors Scott and Emily Freund and Michael and Jennifer Fay. The exhibition also features period-appropriate garments on loan from the Oris Glisson Historic Textile and Costume Collection, which is housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, as well as private collections.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, and now living and working in Martins Creek, Fink has had solo exhibitions at prestigious institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art; received a number of fellowships and awards, including two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships; and held teaching positions at Yale University, Cooper Union, and Bard College. Bridging a divide between editorial fashion and fine art, his work has been published in such magazines as The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, and has been exhibited in Giorgio Armani’s Armani/Silos fashion art museum in Milan, Italy.

This exhibition is curated by curatorial graduate assistant Ali Palin. Dina Smith-Glaviana, assistant professor of fashion merchandising and design and director of the Oris Glisson Historic Textile and Costume Collection, serves as consultant and registrar for the garments on display.

Visiting the galleries

The center’s galleries are open on Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The exhibitions will be on view through Nov. 20.

The Moss Arts Center adheres to the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Tech in its operations, including protocols for distancing, face coverings, and cleaning and sanitation. According to current university policy, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the Moss Arts Center are required to wear a mask.

The center offers many opportunities for students, faculty, and community members to engage with artists and their work. To arrange a group tour of the galleries, contact Meggin Hicklin, exhibitions program manager for the Moss Arts Center.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. When not staffed for a special event, visitors may park in the garage by taking a ticket at entry and paying with Visa or Mastercard upon exit. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jonathan Boulter at 540-231-5300 or email during regular business hours.

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