theresa pollak

Theresa Pollak played an instrumental role in the founding of VCU’s School of the Arts, a role that began in 1928 when she taught a painting class with twenty students. Her own artistic foundation was laid down through attending the Richmond Art Club between 1912 and 1917 and taking classes from Adele Clark and Nora Houston, prominnent Virginian suffragists.

After attending college in Virginia and then moving on to New York for more arts education, she was part of her first group exhibition in New York in 1926, and received Frist Prize in painting from the Studio Club of New York. In 1969, Theresa became the first art instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her first solo show was in 1934 at Delphic Studios in New York City. During the rest of her career as an educator and an artist she received multiple awards and had her work exhibited in multiple shows. She also continued to attend classes, workshops, and other educational programs in the arts in New York and elsewhere. Even after she retired from teaching, her influence remained evident on VCU, as a new School of the Arts building was named the Theresa Pollak Building after her. She continued to tireless advocate for modern art and the power of artistic expression.

"That my painting shall be moving in form, vibrantly alive, expressive of myself and of the age in which I live."

Learn more about Theresa Pollak on VCU’s website.