April 13 2024 - January 5 2025

Barry Arts Mueseum

Curated by Sara Woodbury

Message in a Bottle considers the rich maritime culture of the Hampton Roads region through a call and response between past and present. Selections from the Barry Art Museum’s permanent collection of 19th-century maritime art will appear alongside works from local museums as well as conceptual pieces from contemporary artists. Vibrant and dynamic traditional oil paintings – carefully collected by museum founder Richard Barry – tell a story of life on the sea: they show the hard work and play of sailors and soldiers. Contemporary works created by ODU faculty and other artists, in turn, reflect on the indelible impact of maritime culture on modern life, from shipping routes underpinning globalization to city layouts. In a world where shipping, sailing, and overall access to the sea can seem invisible, what does it mean for artists to address maritime life? We can’t wait to show you what we’ve found.

Please join us for our opening reception on Friday, April 12 from 6 to 9 PM. There will be free complementary parking in the 43rd street parking garage, live music, and refreshments. The curator will also be providing guided tours of the exhibition.

Exhibition Advisory Committee:

Dick Barry, Co-Founder, Barry Art Museum

Luisa Black, Resilience Manager, Elizabeth River Project

Ellen Gustafson, Navy Spouse, Executive Director of We the Veterans

Ingo Heidbrink, Maritime Historian, Department of History, ODU

Howard Hoege, President & CEO, The Mariners’ Museum and Park

Charlotte Potter Kasic, Executive Director, Barry Art Museum

Elspeth Mcmahon, Associate Vice President, Maritime Initiatives, ODU

George McLeod, Director, Geospatial & Visual Systems, ODU

Elizabeth Smith, Director, Interdisciplinary Initiatives, ODU

Lloyd Taliaferro, Chief Financial Officer, Norfolk Tug

Ricardo Ungo, Professor, Department of Information Technology & Decision Sciences, ODU

Lindsay Usher, Associate Professor of Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies, ODU

Jessica Whitehead, Executive Director, Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, ODU

Brett Day Windham, Independent Artist, Writer and Curator

Robert Wojtowicz, Vice Provost & Dean Graduate School, ODU

Sara Woodbury, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Barry Art Museum


Exhibition Partnerships:

Chrysler Museum of Art

Colonna’s shipyard

Elizabeth River Project

ODU Visual Art Department

Mariners Museum


ODU Maritime Initiatives


Featuring the private collections of:

Dick and Carolyn Barry

David and Susan Goode

Brother and Meredith Rutter

Doug and Pat Perry




Fort Monroe, Old Point Comfort and Hygeia Hotel, VA, 1861 

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