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4 Billion, Amanda Lechner


August 30- September 28, 2022

Artists Amanda Lechner and Michael Borowski were invited by the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation, to create an art installation in response to objects and photographs from its collection. The resulting collaboration is Trace Elements, and includes Lechner’s paintings of handmade ink, made from locally collected walnuts, oak gall, and collected oxidized iron. Her paintings are engaged with Borowski’s series of cyanotypes processed using the water from Yellow Sulphur Springs in Christiansburg, VA. Both artists’ works are perceptive reflections on local time, place and materials, and connect with the spaces, archives, human history, built environments, and geologic history of SW Virginia.

The Artists

Michael Borowski (he/him) is an artist living and working in occupied Tutelo/Moneton land (Blacksburg, Virginia). He works with an expanded photographic practice, critically examining history, technology, and the built environment to show that design is not neutral, but reflects political values, personal biases, and desires. His work has been included in national and international exhibitions. He has been awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation in 2019 and a VMFA Fellowship in 2022. He received his MFA from the University of Michigan, and a BFA from the University of New Mexico. Michael is an Associate Professor and Chair of Studio Art at Virginia Tech. 


Amanda Lechner (she/her) is a visual artist born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She divides her time between Santa Fe and Blacksburg, Virginia. Lechner's studio practice primarily encompasses drawing and painting. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States. Lechner studied painting at the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA) and at the Rhode Island School of Design (MFA). Upon completing her formal education, she moved to Brooklyn, NY and has since 2014 resided in Santa Fe, New York, Iowa, Indiana and Virginia. Lechner attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2018 and has participated in artist residencies at the Penland School of Crafts, the Wassaic Project in New York and in 2021 was artist in residence at Stove Works in Chattanooga, TN. She has recently presented solo exhibitions at Vital Spaces and Axle Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at Standard Space in Connecticut. Upcoming projects includeTerra Ignota : Land Unknown at  W&L University, Lexington, VA. Lechner holds the position of Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Art.


Roanoke Times


Garden Path, Michael Borowski

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July 8 - August 18, 2022

Virginia is for Farmers:  Agriculture in Southwest Virginia, Then and Now explores pre-settler agriculture in southwestern Virginia, Blacksburg area farms in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the birth of the Future Farmers of America at Virginia Tech in the early 20th Century, and brings us to our present-day local farmers’ market and Blacksburg’s neighborhood gardens. The exhibit includes agricultural tools from the late-19th and early 20th century, adapted farm tools for farmers with disabilities, Future Farmers of America and Virginia historical items, maps, photos, and interviews


Roanoke Times


NRV News

Town of Blacksburg

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May 10- June 25th, 2022

The exhibition examines the final destination for most consumed goods, the landfill. “In the United States alone, an estimated total of 146 million tons of material went into landfills in 2018. Sites such as those featured in this body of work address aspects of the burial of solid waste,” says Ratcliffe, “as much as we love to buy things, no one wants to pay for their disposal. Many regional public landfills are self-funded.” 

This exhibit allows for the viewing of sites rarely seen by the general public. As Ratcliffe considers the spaces occupied by our waste, “they represent the idea of a magical place called away where things can be sent and forgotten. With examination, these places may help us to heal from our obsession to consume at all costs.”

Bill Ratcliffe, a native of southwestern Virginia, first worked in a darkroom in 1993 and went on to earn a BFA and MFA with a fine art photography concentration. He has since worked as a freelance photographer, exhibiting artist, and photography instructor. He has exhibited in numerous solo, group, and juried shows across the states, his images have been published in magazines in the US and the Philippines, and he has received numerous awards for his photography. 

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March 8 - April 26, 2022

“The Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile Collection is excited to partner with the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation, dedicating its main gallery space in the Alexander Black House to display women's garments from the late 1910s and 1920s. Not only will holding an exhibition off-campus make a selection of the collection's holdings more accessible to the local community but setting the exhibition in a historical and aesthetically pleasing venue will contribute to what we believe will be a very engaging historic clothing exhibition,” states curator Dina Smith-Glaviana, Assistant Professor of Fashion Merchandising and Design at Virginia Tech.

Flappers, bathtub gin, and the Charleston. Women of the “Roaring 20s” were removing their corsets, raising their hemlines, bobbing their hair, and fighting for their freedoms and the right to vote. The arrival of the Jazz Age in 1920s America, with music from New Orleans and Louis Armstrong, the rise of filmmaking, and Hollywood’s growing influence, along with an increase in 1920s fashion marketing, were re-shaping women’s roles and styles.

These cultural shifts were brought about by the technology of the mass-produced automobile, moving pictures, and cheap radio sets. These adjustments in popular taste were reflected in visual arts, music, literature, dance, and fashion. Women began taking off their corsets and wearing chemise dresses that no longer defined their waists but hung loosely from shoulder to knees. Costume jewelry became popular, along with sportswear designs, silk stockings, velvet, and furs. Rouged lips and increased use of makeup were fashionable.