A Busy Stage 

Wilder called a special commission to study the project and report its recommendations by Dec. 31, 2006, so it looks like we'll have to wait another year for the prognosis on that project.

Another resignation came from Arts Council Director Stephanie Micas, who'd been at the helm of the money-granting and advocacy nonprofit for 12 years. And the five-year director of Richmond's oldest nonprofit gallery, 1708, stepped down. The board wasted no time replacing Peter Calvert with Kimberly Tetlow, a development director who's worked for many local arts organizations.

Richmond finally got hip to the economic advantages of music with the National Folk Festival, which will return to town for two more years. Despite the rain, the festival attracted more than 80,000 people with all types of music, food and pageantry.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts also had a big year. It broke ground on its $120 million expansion in November. Even more exciting was the announcement in May of the $10 million gift to the capital campaign by board members Fran and Jim McGlothlin, and the bequest of their significant collection of American Art, valued at more than $130 million.

The year came with some bumps and bruises, too. Longtime curator of American Art David Park Curry announced he was leaving, but the big shock came when esteemed VMFA director Michael Brand accepted a position with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The Barksdale Theatre had news in 2005: Its original home, the Hanover Tavern, would finally open again after a 10-year restoration. The theater will keep its Willow Lawn location going while adding a second season of comedies and mysteries in Hanover.

The film-production community had a busy year, with several major motion pictures filming in the area, including "The New World" and "Cry_Wolf," not to mention scenes for another Rod Lurie TV show, "Commander in Chief." Meanwhile, HBO announced intentions to film the Tom Hanks-produced 10-part miniseries "John Adams" in Virginia in 2006.

The arts will miss Gov. Mark Warner, who helped boost the profile of Virginia's arts by raising $400,000 and organizing a weekend of events surrounding Richmond Ballet's Manhattan debut in March.

As a parting gift to the year, the Richmond Symphony's annual fund received an anonymous donation of $250,000 in December — its biggest gift ever. S



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