The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s art collection includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, crafts and other works from across the Fifth District.
The Bank's art program serves two basic purposes: to provide enjoyment, education and a visually appealing environment for employees and visitors and to give encouragement and support to the arts in the Fifth Federal Reserve District.
The Richmond Fed has an art program because of a federal push in the 1970s to support the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts appealed to all corporations — and especially government agencies — to commit a percentage of their new building costs for the purchase of art. Arthur Burns, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, encouraged all 12 regional Reserve Banks and their branches across the country to apply that guideline to any of their new buildings. As a result, almost all offices have original work from artists in their district's states.
The Bank provided for the acquisition of art when it began constructing its current headquarters building in downtown Richmond in 1975. The initial works were selected by an advisory panel composed of well-known collectors, museum directors and other respected professionals in the art field. The Baltimore and Charlotte offices started their art collections when new building construction began in the 1980s and relied on advisory panels as well. The collection is largely regional, focusing on contemporary artists from across the Fifth District. For educational purposes, the collection includes works by renowned artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, whose stained canvas, Filming, 1972, hangs in the Richmond office’s main lobby.