Irene Leache: An Impact To This Day
A Founder's Story
The concept of the fine arts as a civic obligation took root in Norfolk in 1871, when two women arrived in the city and established a school for girls. Irene Leache and her student and companion Anna Wood ran the Leache-Wood Seminary for nearly two decades before retiring to Europe, where Leache died in 1900.
To honor her memory and her life-long devotion to the arts, Wood established in Norfolk the Irene Leache Library, which nurtured a growing art collection for a future museum in the city. Their efforts inspired generations of women in the region. From the members of the Norfolk Society of the Arts to influential art patrons such as Florence Sloane and Jean Outland Chrysler, it was the women of Hampton Roads who insisted that the arts play a central role in the life of the community, and who paved the way for the rich cultural experiences that we enjoy here today.
Today, the Irene Leache Memorial Foundation continues to promote the cultural arts while building and maintaining the Irene Leache Memorial Collection.The small art collection that was the inspiration for a future museum has grown into an impressive display of medieval art at the Chrysler Museum. In 2012, the ILM 14th Century triptych, Madonna and Child Flanked by Four Saints, was exhibited at the University of Virginia Museum in Charlottesville, Va. and at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City.
Since 2001, the Foundation has promoted the arts by awarding grants ranging from $1,000 - $8,000 to arts organizations in Southeastern Virginia. Recipients of the 2001-2012 annual ILM grants are listed on this page.
The Irene Leache Memorial Foundation will not be awarding grants in 2013 due to strategic planning. We will be examining how the Foundation can best utilize its resources to continue to support the arts and our collection at the Chrysler Museum. Please check this page next year for updated information.
Previous Grant Recipients:
Arts Enter Cape Charles
Contemporary Art Center (MOCA)
Downtown Hampton Development
Eastern Virginia Brass Society
Governor’s School for the Arts
Granby High School, The Cupola
Hampton Roads Shakespeare Festival
Hermitage Museum & Gardens
Hope House Foundation
Multi-cultural Performing Arts
Newsome House Museum
Park Place Child Life Center
Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
Tidewater Academy of Music
Tidewater Arts Outreach
Todi Music Fest
Virginia Arts Festival
Virginia Ballet Theater, Norfolk
Virginia Children's Chorus, regional (2)
Virginia Chorale, regional
Virginia Opera, Norfolk
Virginia Shakespeare Company, Williamsburg
Virginia Stage Company, Norfolk (2)
Virginia Symphony Orchestra, regional
Visual Arts Center, TCC, Portsmouth
Young Audiences, regional