(A rendering of the planned Virginia African American Cultural Center in Virginia Beach.)


Joan Rhodes-Copeland has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Virginia African American Cultural Center (VAACC) in Virginia Beach.

Rhodes-Copeland brings a wealth of experience to the position. She is the former Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads.

The Center was founded by Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond in 2014. Dr. Ross-Hammond is also the Chairwoman of the non-profit organization, and further contributes to the arts as a board member of both the ViBe Creative District and Arts for Learning Virginia. 

VAACC will be a multi-purpose facility with a research center, artists studios, event and lecture hall, meeting rooms, and exhibition areas.

The mission of the Virginia African American Cultural Center is “To collect, preserve, interpret, inform and celebrate Virginia’s African American history, culture and community and to educate the public about African Americans’ contributions in all area of endeavor.”

A capital campaign will be launched this year to help fund the proposed $9 million site featuring a circular 30,000-square-foot building. 

“We are looking at another two years before we open the doors,” said Rhodes-Copeland.

In the meantime, the Center is staying active and visible through a series of community events such as the virtual “Tasting Thursday” on February 4 from 7-8 pm featuring Shoe Crazy Wine, an African-American female owned wine business. On Feb. 11, VAACC will present the video documentary “Chairman Jones — An Improbable Leader” and a virtual event with discussion, and on Feb. 25 the Center partners with Chrysler Museum of Art for “Inside a Silent Tear,” a collection of work created by Black artists who fashioned their enemies into art.

More at vaaccvb.org