Meredith and C. Arthur "Brother" Rutter, III, have been selected as recipients of Virginia Beach's 2019 Champion for the Arts Award.
As highly respected philanthropists, arts administrators, board members and advocates for art and education, the couple have for many years been ardent supporters of the arts in Virginia Beach and throughout Hampton Roads. Through their foundation and volunteer work, especially with the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), they have cultivated and strengthened the cultural life of the region beyond measure, say local arts advocates.
"Mr. and Mrs. Rutter are generous benefactors to the arts and their steadfast advocacy has positively impacted all of Hampton Roads," said city of Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Director Emily Labows. "Their generosity and commitment are illustrated most notably through The Rutter Family Art Foundation and their numerous contributions to exhibitions at museums and galleries in the region, including Virginia MOCA."
Both have served on numerous boards, including the Chrysler Museum and Virginia MOCA, and they serve on committees for the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Their pioneering work with the conversion of the Texaco building in Norfolk's NEON District formed a multi-faceted art hub that changed how artists and Hampton Roads encounter each other, said Labows.
By creating a method for funding and supporting arts organizations and artists, they have increased the volume of world-class art entering the region, said Labows. Through their creation of a housing space for visiting artists, they have also increased the scope of work local arts organizations can accomplish and enhanced the experience artists have when they visit. Finally, their gallery space coupled with their generous support of art centers and museums in the region has exponentially increased public access to the highest quality art, especially here in Brother's hometown of Virginia Beach, through their work with Virginia MOCA.
"Brother and Meredith are shining examples of passion for art converted to meaningful action," said said Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission Chairman C. Cheyney Cole, Jr. "They have deep knowledge and abiding love for contemporary art; their foundation makes great art possible, the extensive personal collection they share with area museums makes great art accessible, and their dedication to serving communities through the arts make Virginia Beach a more creative and vibrant place to live."
Mrs. Rutter has served and chaired the board at Virginia MOCA, is a member of the Masterpiece Steering Committee at the Chrysler Museum, and a board member of the Norfolk Society of Arts.
Mr. Rutter is a trustee at the Chrysler Museum and head of their exhibitions committee. Together they are co-founders of the Rutter Family Art Foundation, and they both sit on the National Gallery's Contemporary Art Collectors Committee and the Contemporary Art Exhibitions Committee, in Washington, D.C.
An etched crystal plaque of their Champions for the Arts Award was recently presented to them at a special reception, co-hosted by the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission and Virginia MOCA, in its Rodriguez Pavilion. Award recipients' names have been etched in brick and will be installed in the Champion for the Arts path, in front of the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.
The idea for the award was generated through the development of the city's first strategic plan for the arts, known as the Virginia Beach Arts Plan 2030, to recognize community members dedicated to the furtherance of the arts in Virginia Beach, said Cole. Commissioners said that honoring citizens, who go above and beyond to raise awareness for and engagement in the arts in Virginia Beach, encourages others to make meaningful impacts in the community.
Meredith and Brother Rutter have been selected as recipients of Virginia Beach's 2019 Champion for the Arts Award. (Courtesy photo.)
A closer look at the Rutters
Meredith Miller Rutter is a native of Asheville, N.C., and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1988 with a B.A. in Economics. She moved to New York shortly after graduation, where she started her career and cemented her love of contemporary art. Her work, at the time, was at Sotheby’s and her evenings and weekends were spent with friends and her soon-to-be husband, C. Arthur “Brother” Rutter, III, exploring galleries and artists’ work in the midst of a vibrant art scene in Manhattan. After moving to Richmond for a brief time, the couple settled in his hometown of Virginia Beach, where they raise their two sons, Carter and Austin.
A long-time collector of contemporary art, Mrs. Rutter is very much involved with the arts throughout the Hampton Roads community. In addition to serving as chairman of the board at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, she also serves on the Masterpiece Steering Committee for the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk and the board of directors for the Norfolk Society of Arts.
Brother Rutter is a graduate of Harvard University and University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams Law School, where he graduated first in his class. As a managing partner at the Rutter Mills law firm in Norfolk, Virginia, Brother is a high-level litigator, with decades of legal experience. As an advocate, he is extremely active in philanthropic and non-profit organizations, especially those benefitting education and the arts.
He is a trustee for the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk and is head of its Exhibitions Committee. Together, they founded The Rutter Family Art Foundation in Norfolk to foster their mission of bringing contemporary art to the widest possible audience in this community. They are avid contemporary art collectors, with pieces from their private collection on loan at museums around the country. Some pieces of their collection are on loan at the Rutter Family Art Foundation offices on the third floor of the refurbished Texaco Building.