Experience art with all of your senses.

Our exhibition space is designed to adapt to accommodate installations, exhibitions and artistic programming of all forms. Guests enjoy an immersive educational and social experience in a comfortable and fun environment that appeals to a wide spectrum of guests.

Current Exhibition


Context & Meaning in Abstraction

February 24th - April 1st, 2017

Pro-Forma assembles nine painters and sculptors who work around, with, and through abstraction. They exploit the ways in which abstraction not only is, in itself and for itself, but pictures things, touches the past, tells stories, and creates meaning.

+ Trudy Benson
+ Jamison Brosseau
+ Stacy Fisher
+ Leigh Anne Chambers
+ Jason Stopa
+ Paul Behnke
+ Nikki Leone
+ Ron Johnson
+ Matthew F Fisher

Abstraction itself is old news. And yet it is still viewed with suspicion from across the political spectrum for seeming to flee from reality. This is because traditionally abstraction has been tied to the impulse for autonomy, to art’s yearning to stand on its own, to be its own justification, to refuse to serve kings or popes.

It turned out to be pretty good at this latter task, but we shouldn’t mistake the particulars of abstraction’s history for any indelible quality, especially with regard to specific artists.

The artists in Pro-Forma take part in a new chapter in abstraction’s history; its refusal to sit back and be pretty, its muscling into our everyday lives. They do this through their imagery, which ranges from explicit to suggestive, and also through their materials and processes, which invite and sustain myriad connections.

Their works will create spaces of energy and contemplation among and between the walls of Work Release, and the viewer will encounter their distinct wills and personalities in that space. Unapologetic in their decisions, wanting their work to be itself, most fully and richly, the artists have not given up on modernism’s old dream of autonomy. But autonomy is not exclusive, and while the paintings and sculptures, placed in a space that calls for contextual, conversational engagement, welcome and invite close concentrated looking, they also reach out to one another and their situation.

As is often the case when a curator grafts a thin idea onto real-world working artists, abstraction as a theme is not the first thing on any of these artists’ minds. Instead they are thinking about color, pattern, process, myth, desire, books, street lamps, laundry, and everything else specific to artists and common to humans. Hopefully it is not too much of a stretch to say that the very self-absorption of these artists, their commitment as whole human beings to their work, is what makes it also about the viewer. The conflict between the participatory and contextual orientation of Work Release, and the inwardly-directed, formalist and visual orientation of abstraction, collapses and reconciles, and the myth of “passive” viewing explodes.

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Previous Exhibitions

Under the Gun

A contemporary art show and community dialogue addressing gun violence in all forms, starting here in Norfolk.

January 13th - February 4th, 2017

+ Jeff Hewitt
+ Kate Kretz
+ Raul Martinez
+ William Storms
+ Nancy Floyd
+ Jennifer Meridian
+ Noah Scalin
+ Robert Mickelsen
+ Sam Hundley
+ Will Houp
+ Marissa DiGirolamo
+ Kelsie McNair
+ Charlotte Potter

Under the Gun will feature a mix of national and local artists using a wide array of materials, including digital forms, bullet casings, photography, fresh flowers, matches, and found materials from the beaches of Ocean View. Local artists will include Marissa DiGirolamo of Studio Posy, Charlotte Potter of the Chrysler Glass Studio, Kelsie McNair of With Lavender & Lace, Jeff Hewitt, and Will Houp and Sam Hundley from the Virginian-Pilot.

The show is being sponsored by an unexpected source: the Norfolk faith community, led by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Grace Episcopal Church, and Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, along with Work | Release.

“Talking to colleagues and parishioners, we realized that many of us were feeling heartbroken, and frustrated by how powerless we felt,” said John Rohrs, rector of St. Andrew’s. “We wanted to do something to make a difference locally, because there are people dying right here in Hampton Roads. Gun violence affects all of us, and this moment demands more than just our prayers.”

Programming surrounding Under the Gun will be robust, including a brunch bringing together police officers, activists, and faith leaders on 1/14 from 12pm to 4pm; a suicide prevention workshop for clergy on 1/19 from 9am to 4pm; a women’s empowerment workshop on 1/21 from 10am to 1pm; and a forum on mental healthcare in Norfolk on 1/26 from 6pm to 7:30pm.

“Meredith and I have always believed that art can teach, inspire, and bring people together in unexpected ways,” said Brother Rutter, of the Rutter Family Art Foundation and owner of Work | Release. “This exhibition has the potential to accomplish all of that, and more.”

Under the Gun will be curated by local community leader Jesse Scaccia, and co-curated by Hannah Serrano. Scaccia and Serrano were the lead activists behind the initial formation of the NEON District, and previously were leaders of numerous public art and vibrancy projects, including Art | Everywhere, SPIN (Street Performance in Norfolk), Norfology, the Naro neo-classic film series, and the Chalking of Ghent.

“The beauty and power of good, thoughtful art is that it’s not self-serving in the ways that most forms of human communication are,” said Serrano. “Art produces a deeper dialogue that enables individuals to explore their beliefs, fears, aspirations; which in turn allows them to effect change of attitudes and actions within themselves and others.”

The Under the Gun art show is a beginning, not an end.

“I have hope that this will be part of the solution,” said Harold Cobb, rector of Grace Episcopal Church. “If we work together to promote peace, love, and tolerance, we can do great things.”

The opening will take place on January 13 from 6pm until late, and is open to the public. Under the Gun will be on view Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through February 4, 2017.

“We’ve had wonderful support from city officials, the arts community, faith leaders and more, and we have some good programming in place,” said Rohrs. “Why can’t Norfolk be on the forefront of reducing gun violence in all forms? That’s our vision, and it’s a goal that everyone can support if we can just get past the politics and work together.”

(expand image to check out special programming associated with Under the Gun)


OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION – Friday, January 13th, 2017 at 6pm.Refreshments and live acoustic music 6-9pm. LRDMRCY (NFK) + Stereofaith (DC) finish the night 9pm-2am.

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October 14th - November 19th, 2016

October 14th thru November 19th

Free & Open to the Public
Rutter Family Art Foundation is proud to present
a Group New Media Exhibition curated by Charles Rasputin
just in time for the Fall season and the NEON District’s Halloween tradition.
+ Alli Coates http://allicoates.studio/
+ Signe Pierce http://signepierce.tumblr.com/
+ Jeremy Coulliard http://www.jeremycouillard.com/
+ Shomi Patwary https://vimeo.com/shomipatwary
+ ASAP Rocky http://www.asapmob.com/
+ Noah Scalin http://www.noahscalin.com/
+ Bob Weisz http://heywhatsupitbob.com/
+ Rusty Lazer http://rustylazer.com/
+ Jami Girouard http://jamigirouard.com/
+ FANG GANG http://charlesrasput.in/ http://carlmedley.com/
+ Ian Watt https://vimeo.com/iangwatt
+ Kidmograph http://kidmograph.tumblr.com/
+ N e w A e ѕ т н e т ι c
+ Russell White http://arts.vcu.edu/kineticimaging/graduate/russell-white/

When Ryle described Descartes’ mind/body philosophy as a “Ghost in the Machine” it was almost a premonition of the future in the 21st century. The concept that spirit and body were separate or that mind & soul could exist separately from one’s physicality has been widely considered and discussed for centuries. In this new age of technology the examination of the philosophy of mind/body dualism takes on entire new dimensions.
Hackers, Makers, Builders, Programmers, Producers and a thousand other creative designations are this era’s contribution to artisanship, intellectual development and trade mastery. As we step into an era of immersive worlds & augmented realities, our creatorship becomes a fluid entity and the tangible embodiment of the intangible soul.
Intelligence ~ artificial & organic…
The difference isn’t always so clear.
These artists explore mind / body duality through mechanical and organic perspective and their practice manifests through the lens of technology, video and new media in this Fall group exhibition at Work | Release curated by Charles Rasputin.

Opening Night Performances
Artist Meet & Greet
Exhibition Discussion by curator Charles Rasputin
Late Night DJ sets to celebrate the impending season!

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Sarah Blood | NEAR Program

September 15th - 24th, 2016

The “New Energy Artists Residency” (or NEAR) Program is hosted in Norfolk’s newly minted NEON District (http://neonnfk.com/). The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio is partnering with the Rutter Family Art Foundation and Glass Wheel Studio to give an individual artist time and space to create and exhibit new exploratory work. These three organizations are instrumental in the NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) District, and we are excited to collaborate in bringing emerging and experimental practices of glass and new media to our region.

The show will highlight work of Sarah Blood. She will work at the Glass Wheel and at the Chrysler Glass Studio and show her work the last two weeks of the program at Work|Release. Sarah’s work responds to personal experiences such as memory, mortality and the human condition. Her primary medium is light, which is explored through glass, luminous gasses and mixed media to create abstract works that invite association to minimalist sculpture. Sarah exhibits widely throughout the world including UK, Europe, Hong Kong, the Arab Emirates and USA. She is currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. She will be in residence in Norfolk in January for one month, during which time she will create her works and showcase them for public view the last two weeks of the month at Work|Release.  www.sarahblood.com

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August 5th - September 3rd, 2016

The Ancient Roman term domus refers directly to the home, a stronghold in modern society that molds one’s perception of domestication. For every individual, this perception differs uniquely.

The household is polymorphic in essence, varying with each inhabitants specific taste. One’s modern, city loft contrasts greatly with another’s two story suburban dwelling. One’s punk dump may slightly digress from the aesthetic tendency of an eighty year old grandmother’s country home. What’s to say, however, that these conflicting aesthetics can’t provide the same nostalgic feeling? The domestic space generates a lasting stamp on a human’s memory bank, especially in reference to specific objects, shapes, and colors.

DOMUS aims to consolidate and re-appropriate the nostalgia of the household experience, immersing the viewer in a collaborative effort executed through the use of sculpture, painting, design, and installation.

Contributing Artists: Brian Mitchell, Matt Jackson, Schuyler Beecroft

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Echoes from the East

Rutter Family Art Foundation Curatorial Fellowship Exhibition

JUNE 3rd - JULY 9th, 2016

RFAF Inaugural Curatorial Fellowship Exhibition

curated by Stephanie Katsias
featuring work by
+ John Cage
+ Bill Viola
+ Ray Kass
+ Staci Katsias
+ Susan Bacik
+ Renata Sheppard

Exhibition Info:
“ECHOES FROM THE EAST” examines the ways in which artists working in a variety of media and genres allow different Buddhist philosophies and meditative practices to inform their work, laying bare the complex intersections between Western artists’ creative minds and their “Buddha minds.” These six artists, John Cage, Bill Viola, Ray Kass, Staci Katsias, Susan Bacik, and Renata Sheppard, have each studied forms of Eastern philosophies, and have adopted the tenets and themes that resonate with their individual creative selves to varying degrees of direct influence. In this way, the ideas that inform their work become an aggregate of their experiences: a unification of their exposure to both daily life in the United States, combined with study of Eastern religious, spiritual, and cultural practices. Exploring the concepts of emptiness, impermanence, openness, and spontaneity central to Buddhist and Taoist thought, the works included in this exhibition arrive at radically different visual and sonic representations of these abstract concepts.
This exhibition is curated by Stephanie Katsias, the inaugural recipient of the Rutter Family Art Foundation’s Curatorial Fellowship. The Rutter Family Art Foundation (RFAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to featuring modern and contemporary art of the highest quality to the Hampton Roads area, anchored by innovative programming designed to engage the community. Work | Release is the first floor exhibition space in the historic Texaco Building on Granby Street in Norfolk, Virginia.

Each year in June and July, RFAF will sponsor a Curatorial Fellowship. Applications will be available in the fall and winners will be announced in January. This will be a competitive fellowship open to anyone who will hold a degree by the time of the show. Graduate students would also be eligible. The fellowship provides a budget for all aspects of curating and exhibiting a show at Work | Release.

Katsias will graduate in May from the University of Virginia with a double B.A. in Art History and Arts Administration. A native of Virginia Beach, she has spent her extracurricular time in Charlottesville working as a Student Docent at the Fralin Museum of Art, and a co-instructing a two-credit course on The Beatles, among other things. She has previously interned for the Museum of Modern Art, the Virginia Film Festival, and AltDaily.



Artist performances by Renata Sheppard.

DJ sets by
+ Cam Dinunzio
+ DJ Bee

Live performance by OIIII

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Writing Lightly

A Neon Exhibition

April 1 - May 7, 2016

Writing Lightly focuses on the visualization and interpretation of language through the use of neon and light. Neon is recognized as a classic form of communication in industry and advertising. Impossible to miss, the glow of a neon sign is captivating and vibrant, able to deliver straightforward information to distant viewers. Morris W. Travers, a chemist working on the discoveries of noble gases noted upon his first sight of neon, “The blaze of the crimson light from the tube told its own story, and it was a sight to dwell upon and never to forget”.
Language as expression can be ambiguous or direct; it bears the burden of being the essential vehicle for articulation. This selection of artworks speaks to the complexities of language and the subtle undertones that words create. Writing Lightly exhibits neon and light as a form of poetry and as a material for reconstructing the meaning behind words. Now let the works tell their own story, lightly.

Writing Lightly is organized by curator Hannah Kirkpatrick, and curatorial assistant, Ali Feeney.

Some artists in this exhibition have taken to reappropriating a once industrial, commercial sign; bringing to light our relationship to product advertising, identity, and societal standards. Others look to the craftsmanship behind bending glass to think about ideas of the personal and the handwritten. What seems so industrious in an age of mechanization, one may be surprised to learn that every neon tube made is bent by hand. Alternatively, other artists look towards light and the electrical qualities of neon to reference the evolution of language and communication with ever growing technology.

Alicia Eggert and Safwat Saleem
Bryan Riehl
Clay McGlamory
Craig Kraft
George Horner
Helen Lee
James Akers
Jen Elek
Jeremy Bert
Kristi Totoritis
Liss LaFleur
Nari Ward

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Curated by Charlotte Potter and Gayle Forman

FEBRUARY 12th - MARCH 19th, 2016

Rutter Family Art Foundation invites you to Work | Release for their upcoming exhibition, Native, featuring more than 20 artists with local ties to Norfolk and southeastern Virginia.

Defined, the word Native is the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being. Generally considered the location in which someone originated, it is a word that denotes belonging and an ingrained ownership of a place, creating an invisible community.  This exhibition explores the many facets of being Native, specifically within Eastern Virginia, and how the unique qualities of the land and culture distinctly informed the creation of the 21 pieces included in the show.

As a community almost entirely surrounded by water and rising sea levels, there is an ingrained lifestyle within Norfolk’s nomadic culture. Being one of the world’s largest ports creates a transient space between water and land, home and away, environment and industry. A landing point throughout history, these waterways have been arteries that flow deep into our nation and leave Norfolk and the surrounding region brimming with history and local lore. Whether one heralds from afar or has always called Norfolk home, the social and political cartographies spill into daily life and seep into the artist’s studio. Works consider the uncanny pairings of flooded front porches and a pelt made of lost keys, sugary frosting and historic wallpaper, military mothers to Virginia Beach tourists, and the euphoric discovery of sunken treasure, only to find imported knock-offs. This survey of local artists was selected from an open call and encompasses a range of approaches to artistic practice, from self-taught artists to full time makers, from academics and educators to collaborative teams. Native is an innate glimpse into the ways in which sea and land have a significant impact on a sense of home and personal identity.


Avery Shaffer
Carl Medley III
Christiana Caro
Christopher Revels
Diana Laurel Caramat
Echard Wheeler
Emily Bartelt
Heather Bryant
Heidi Peelen
Henry Chong
Joan Biddle
John Roth
Julia and Robin Rogers
Kathleen Kennedy
Luisa Adelfio
Mary Dixon // Eight Bells Film
Peter Eudenbach
Randy Hess
Robert Sites
Victoria Farr
Virginia Van Horn


Charlotte Potter is an educator, conceptual artist and designer who creates jewelry, sculpture, video, installation and performance. Her work explores the different ways in which humans connect to one another and has been exhibited worldwide at Museums, Galleries and Art festivals. Born and raised in Vermont, Potter holds a BFA from Alfred University and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is trained as a traditional glassmaker. Charlotte has been a pioneer in developing glass as a performative and conceptual medium. Currently Potter is the Glass Studio Manager and Programming Director at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. http://www.charlottepotter.com

As an avid fan of frozen treats, Gayle Forman seems to gravitate toward things that melt, spill, and generally make a mess. As an artist and designer her studio practice and research focuses on play, imagination, the absurd and the everyday. The work is realized as performance, video, photography, installation and sculpture. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gayle received her BFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. Currently Gayle is located in Norfolk, Virginia as a Studio Instructor at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio. http://gayleeforman.com


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American Dreams

Curated by Charles Rasputin

January 22nd - 30th, 2016

Once upon a time, the American Dream was a singular vision. Nuclear family, small town values, flawless faith in the system. Those dreams are undoubtedly changing.

Using light based projection and site specific installations we explore the birth, growth and development of two distinct footprints of creative culture and the journey of imagination these artists have traveled.

Through time, space, process and practice, Shomi and Navid achieve their destination and realize their vision by creating entire imaginary universes, distinct cultural imprints, in fantastic situations and in real time.

Explore and experience the diverse beauty of creative culture, the strength of subculture and the influence of pop culture through looping videos, large scale illustrations and new media exploration. Their creative paths intermingle and expose these acts of imagination, creation and manifestation as the truest new embodiment of American Dreams.

SHOMI RAHMAN PATWARY is a Bengali born filmmaker that hails from Virginia Beach, Virginia and centers his operations in New York City presently. His work, a veritable who’s who of indie rock, electronic music and hip hop, but his vision and creation transcend the pop and hip hop world that his work has become ubiquitous with. Creating worlds and atmospheres that bring some of the top names in entertainment’s music to life visually, Shomi dreams into existence the visual fabric of our verge culture, influencing and creating it from within. http://www.shomipatwary.com

NAVID IQBALUR RAHMAN is a Bengali born illustrator raised in Virginia Beach, creating work under the pseudonym Everyone Ruins. Using primarily traditional pen and ink, he is obsessive in his attention to line weight and meticulous detail. His work explores worlds grounded in fantasy but rendered in reality and challenges the viewer to fall into the dream-like layers of his illustrative universe. http://everyoneruins.com

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Curated by Brett Day Windham and George Terry

OCTOBER 16 - NOVEMBER 21, 2015

In the heart of the NEON District, The Rutter Family Art Foundation opened an impressive new media exhibition during the district’s NEON Festival. The artists featured in DOPPELGÄNGING build props, sets, installations, and costumes, ultimately creating their own highly personal and singular imagined worlds. Ensconced in these dense and particular studio practices, there is the potential to re-imagine movement, behavior and ideas outside the banality of everyday life. This created space is one in which each artist can examine and re-imagine his or her own agency, personality and desire for role-play. Performing within these environments often allows themes of character and identity to be investigated. However, this is where the similarities end; from outrageous performance to intimate gesture, from HD video to Super 8 Transfer, from hand-crafted animation to underwater iPhone video, every work in the show beats its own path.

Because both action and sculpture factor so strongly into the work, installations and performances were scheduled into the run of the show. Scheduled performers included Rachel Mason, Irvin Morazan (performing with Cooper Holoweski) an artist talk with Brian Bress, and an installation from Nellie Appleby.

www.georgeterrystudio.com      www.brettdaywindham.com

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Curated by Charles Rasputin & Careyann Weinberg

JUNE 5 - JULY 11, 2015

Graffiti culture has influenced the higher art world since its inception. What began as simple messages in complicated spaces became stylized alphanumerics, indecipherable codes. Symbols and pictures. Aerosol and Paint. Paper and paste. The tools have grown and the methods vary, but the creative spirit remains. We are always making our marks and sending our messages out, even if nobody writes letters anymore.

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Curated by Suzanne Peck

APRIL 3 - MAY 2, 2015

AGLOW is a neon exhibition showcasing twelve local, national and international artists working with sculptural neon. The exhibiting artworks were selected from a global call-out for artist submissions. Each work uses primarily non-language based neon to explore themes of light, narrative, and form. Without defaulting to the written word, a common trope with this medium, AGLOW illuminates the sculptural and conceptual side of neon. The jury consisted of Brother Rutter, Work|Release founder, contemporary art collector and dedicated supporter of the arts, Jesse Scaccia, editor of AltDaily, chair of the NEON’s Public Art Committee and a member of Norfolk’s Public Art Commission and Suzanne Peck, contemporary artist, writer, educator and curator.

The exhibition features works from  a diverse range of  talent, from emerging to established artists, established through emerging. Included in the lineup is Ben Wright, Education Director of UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, exploring notions of myth, humor and sensuality with his mixed media work “On the Outside Looking In”. Sarah Blood, professor at Alfred University, conflates memory and nostalgia in “Contusing Without”. California-based contemporary artist, Hiromi Takizawa, creates subtle rainbow magic in “From California with Love” with her combination of impossibly thin blown glass and neon. Prize-winning work, “Treehouse”, by the local Norfolk arts group, Woodrow Collective, will illuminate the space above our heads. Clay McGlamory, professor of print media at Old Dominion University, creates a new site-specific work from disassembled parts of his past efforts. The artworks range in scale and emotional temperature, yet are united by a commitment to excellence in medium, method and intent.

AGLOW is spearheaded by curator Suzanne Peck, a New York-based artist, writer and educator. Suzanne lived in Norfolk during the fall of  2014, teaching 3D Design at Old Dominion University, making artwork at the Chrysler Museum’s Glass Studio and curating pop-up exhibitions at Glass Wheel Gallery and Range Gallery. She loves Norfolk and is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue engaging in local art dialogue.

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Thank you for your inquiry. Our private event coordinator is currently out of the country with limited email access and will return on Monday, March 13th. Please allow a minimum of 2-3 business days for a reply. We appreciate your interest in Work | Release. For any urgent
requests please contact [email protected].