Mission & History
1708 Gallery's mission is to present exceptional new art. 1708 Gallery is committed to providing opportunities for artistic innovation for emerging and established artists and to expanding the understanding and appreciation of new art for the public.
1708 Gallery sprang from a group of impassioned artists in September 1978. A group of rising stars from Virginia Commonwealth University including Joseph Seipel, Richard Carlyon, Gerald Donato, Tom Chenoweth, James Bradford and Davi Det Hompson were looking for a space for the risk-taking work of contemporary artists.
They founded 1708 Gallery, a nonprofit arts organization run by artists, in a flood-damaged Richmond warehouse at 1708 East Main Street, where they showcased an excitig mix – alternative art forms, large-scale pieces, important works – not driven by commercialism.
1708 Gallery personified the post Vietnam Era, America after Watergate, showing art that questions, challenges, and redefines traditional boundaries. Just as New Yorkers turned to Franklin Furnace, Richmonders turned to 1708 Gallery for experimental work and an alternative to the comfortable art scene. In it's original Shockoe Bottom location, the 1708 Gallery contributed to the stabilization and redevelopment of that area.
The past 38 years reflect trends other alternative spaces experienced. 1708 Gallery fought the culture wars, transitioned across generations, and adapted to a new cultural climate and funding demands. 1708 Gallery has kept its edge and has become a vital force in its community. In 1993, 1708 Gallery acquired and renovated an historic building at 103 East Broad Street in the heart of Richmond's historic retail district. In September 2001, the Gallery moved to its current location at 319 West Broad St.
Today, a combination of guts, maturity, and openness defines 1708 Gallery, one of the oldest artist-run galleries in the nation. 1708 Gallery's mission to expand the understanding, development, and appreciation of new art remains firm, as does our passion for incubating new art and new artists.
1708 Gallery continues to connect the community to the work of living artists and is a leader among Richmond's art scene.