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Client Story: Contemporary Art Rooted in Community

If you live in the Hampton Roads area, you may have had the pleasure of visiting the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia MOCA) located about a mile from the oceanfront on 22nd street. As a non-collecting, contemporary art museum, Virginia MOCA seeks out the most soulful and rigorous art and artists, adapting and reinventing their space every three to four months with each new exhibition. A walk-through of the galleries allows you to see first-hand how the museum lives up to its promise to provide a shared space for different perspectives. The art that is on display encourages visitors to connect with both the artists and their fellow community members.

In fact, Virginia MOCA was built by the community. This organization was founded in 1952 as a loose association of artists working together to raise funds to help pay for a friend’s medical bills via an art show which evolved into the Boardwalk Art Show. The collective grew into the Virginia Beach Art Association and then the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia (CACV). In 2010 the CACV received national museum accreditation and assumed the name the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum has distinguished itself regionally and nationally as an ever-changing museum where neighbors, strangers, students, families, communities, and cultures are invited to explore their shared humanity. It boasts locally relevant and nationally resonant art that’s exceptional—in all of its timeliness, restlessness and beauty.

As with many small businesses and not-for-profits, Virginia MOCA was faced with unexpected and significant financial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without an endowment, only a few months of cash reserves on hand, and no earned income flowing in from special event rentals, the operational realities of the pandemic that Virginia MOCA faced were daunting.

When the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) became a resource to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis, Virginia MOCA director and CEO, Gary Ryan reached out to us.

“Atlantic Union Bank became part of the Virginia MOCA team and helped us secure mission critical support at a time of great need, even though the museum was a smaller account,” said Ryan, who works closely with Sabrina Joss, a Business Banker here at Atlantic Union Bank. “The Bank’s team helped us navigate the initial loan process which was unfolding in real time. They were equally as conscientious and helpful in the processing of our second application. With their help, we successfully secured both PPP loans when we needed them.”

We are honored to be a resource for the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and help ensure they live into their motto, “Art Lives Here.”

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