Richmond galleries distribute free posters to celebrate Theresa Pollak's 100th birthday. 

Happy Birthday, Theresa Pollak

Richmond artist Theresa Pollak may be celebrating her 100th birthday Aug. 13, but it is Richmonders who will be showered with a gift on her special day. In honor of Pollak's artistic contributions to the community, Virginia Commonwealth University's School of the Arts will distribute 3,000 free Pollak art posters at more than 20 galleries throughout the city.

Pollak painted the handsome portrait of art student "Maxine" in 1930, using a representational style far different from the colorfully abstract paintings she is best known for. "Maxine" is nonetheless testament to Pollak's skill with a paintbrush.

"We thought it would be nice to make a gift to the Richmond community to allow several thousand people to have a reproduction of a Theresa Pollak painting that they would be proud to frame," says John Bryan, associate dean of VCU's School of the Arts. Bryan has known Pollak since 1981.

Pollak, who was born in Richmond, attended Saturday art classes as a child and went on to the Art Students' League in New York after her 1921 graduation from Westhampton College. It was in 1928 that she played a major role in creating an art department at the School of Social Work and Public Health, later to become VCU. Today, VCU's School of the Arts is among the top in the nation, and the administrative offices for the art and design departments are housed in a building that bears her name.

According to Bryan, Pollak, who taught at VCU until 1968, committed herself to sharing her love and knowledge of art with others. "She didn't ever want to use her art as a means of supporting herself," Bryan says. Instead, she supported herself by teaching.

"She's a terrific artist and a terrific art teacher," he says. "She's extremely perceptive and observant, and she is extremely interested in people and her surroundings."

To receive your free copy of Theresa Pollak's "Maxine" visit one of the following organizations or galleries:Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityArtspaceAstra DesignBeth Ahaba MuseumBrazier Fine Art...but is it Art? galleryCoincidence GalleryCorporate & Museum FrameCudahy's GalleryThe Cultural Arts Center at Glen AllenThe 43rd Street GalleryHand Workshop Art CenterMain Art GalleryMarsh Art GalleryUniversity of RichmondPhenomenon GalleryReynolds Gallery1708 GalleryThe Eric Schindler GalleryValentine MuseumVirginia Museum of Fine ArtsWestminster Canterbury, Gallery of Works of Virginia Artists

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