The blending of business and creativity – and inventive approaches to both – is back on full display at the VCU School of Business.
The latest art installation by Noah Scalin, the business school’s inaugural artist-in-residence, was unveiled Tuesday afternoon, about a week after it began taking shape in the atrium at Snead Hall.
Viewed from the right perspective, the assemblage of canned foods and toiletry items donated by students, faculty and staff forms a portrait of Richmond businesswoman and philanthropist Frances Lewis, who co-founded the retail chain Best Products Co. with her late husband, Sydney.
The installation continues what Scalin started last fall, when he unveiled a comparable portrait – made from donated clothes – of Richmond business pioneer Maggie Walker.
Just as those clothes were later donated to Goodwill, the canned goods and toiletries will be donated to VCU’s RamPantry and Florida-based nonprofit Forgotten Soldiers Outreach when the portrait is dismantled at the end of this week.
The pieces are part of Scalin’s yearlong residency, which has included creative-thinking seminars with students and faculty, guest lectures and the 30-day “Creative Sprint” challenges he developed through his business consulting firm, Another Limited Rebellion. The firm has worked with clients such as Altria, Capital One and Mozilla to introduce creative approaches to the corporate world.
Scalin said he selected Lewis for her innovative work in both business and art in Richmond. Best Products was known for blending both in architecture, and Lewis has supported the local arts scene over decades, including as a major financial donor to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The school is presenting the Lewis portrait project with the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, which is taking shape at Belvidere and Broad streets and slated to open in October.