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VMFA’s Backyard Aviation Exhibition Opens At Richmond International Airport

Feb 5, 2018

Richmond, Virginia (February 5, 2018)

An exhibition of paintings by Virginia-based artist Nils Westergard, called “Backyard Aviation,” has opened at Richmond International Airport (RIC). The show will be on view in the first level of the terminal through August 2018.

Westergard developed an early interest in birds thanks largely to his grandfather, who was a painter in Belgium. He incorporated an owl in each of his paintings as a type of signature, and his grandson delighted in finding the owl—whether peeking out from a church steeple or hiding behind a bush—in every scene.

In his own paintings, Westergard employs a large scale to magnify certain features and characteristics of these avian creatures, allowing viewers a close examination of their detail and drama. He also portrays them against backgrounds of gritty urban textures to illustrate how birds can both blend in and stand out in equally beautiful ways in our environment. Every species featured in these eight paintings can be found in the Richmond area. Some, such as the northern cardinal, our state bird, are as common and easy to spot as a sunflower. Sightings of others—the great horned owl, for example—are rare treat that require a trained eye and certain amount of luck.

In a building that exists for flight, take a moment to reflect on where we first got the idea.

2015 marked the 75th anniversary of VMFA’s Fellowship Program. This exhibition is a celebration not only of this landmark but also a celebration of this selected VMFA fellow who has made impressive contributions to the arts in Virginia.

About Richmond International Airport (RIC)
Richmond International Airport (RIC) is one of the most modern, well-equipped airports in the eastern United States, offering nonstop flights to major domestic destinations and connecting service to points around the globe. More than three million passengers and 100 million pounds of cargo travel through RIC annually, utilizing more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse/office space and 1,000,000 square feet of ramp space. For more information, please visit

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA)
With a collection of art that spans the globe and more than 5,000 years, plus a wide array of special exhibitions, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is recognized as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. The museum’s permanent collection encompasses more than 23,000 works of art, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside Russia and one of the nation’s finest collections of American Art, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. VMFA is home to acclaimed collections of English Silver and Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British Sporting and Modern & Contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its 75-year history. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus fun after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, visit


Richmond International Airport
Troy M. Bell, C.M.

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