Virginia Flaggers hold candlelight vigil at ‘disrespectful’ art show

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An exhibit at a Richmond art show is causing controversy.

Friday was the first night of InLight Richmond at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The event is put on by 1708 Gallery in Richmond.

Members of the Virginia Flaggers held a quiet candlelight vigil as thousands of people lined up to see the exhibit at the Confederate Memorial Chapel.

“I think it’s a direct slap at the veterans who served Virginia in the war,” said Barry Isenhour with the Virginia Flaggers.

Isenhour said they were there to honor the veterans.

Organizers with 1708 Gallery say the artists used lights to illuminate the outside of the chapel–and shine through the stained glass windows. Mics record footsteps as visitors walk through, and those sounds echoed through the building.

“There’s a long history of art being in historical and religious places, and our approach is really to draw attention to the building and draw attention to the significance,” said Emily Smith, the executive director of 1708 gallery.

“I don’t think it’s proper,” said Isenhour. They’re not talking about the people who built it, they’re not talking about the people who worshipped there. They’re not talking about the people who had their last rights read there.”

Most of the visitors told 8News reporter Claudia Rupcich they thought it was interesting, because it draws attention to Richmond’s history.

“Makes you think about our past and what we can do with our future,” said Denise Pierce, a visitor.

InLight Richmond will be open Saturday at the VMFA 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

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