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Artist pays tribute to slain niece Vanessa Pham in Annandale Art Show

Artist and former Northern Virginia Community College student Michelle Pham will be exhibiting her work in the Verizon Gallery at the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at the Annandale Campus, 8333 Little River Turnpike. The exhibition opens Tuesday, Nov.10 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 15. An artist’s reception is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day on Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15.

Inspired by the tragic 2010 slaying of her niece, Vanessa Pham, Michelle’s recent artwork has helped her through her pain and pays tribute to her niece who was only 19 years old at the time of her death. The perpetrator was found and convicted of first-degree murder, and Michelle and her family have been forever changed.

“Life is a journey of happiness, sorrow, courage and strength. It has its own beginning and end, but we carry with us the precious memories. The journey of life is always looking forward, even though we know that, at one point or another, we will realize that some people can only live in our heart, but cannot be by our side until the end,” Michelle said. “The journey of life is a journey of finding ourselves, finding our power and living for ourselves and not for everyone else.

“It’s like a colorful painting and we are the only artists for our journey. In this exhibit, I want to be the artist for my own journey, the journey with many beautiful memories of my loved ones, especially Vanessa Pham, my lovely niece who is gone forever.  Each of my paintings of her display happy memories I will carry in my heart until the end.”

Michelle studied art at NOVA before receiving her Bachelor of Art from George Mason University in 2000. Despite her day-to-day job, Michelle always finds time to pursue her love of art and teaching art to others. This exhibition brings together a select group of Michelle’s work and some of her students’ artwork all inspired by Vanessa.

Those in attendance at the receptions will be able to complete a comment card. One card from each reception will be selected and the lucky patron will be given a work of art to keep. The comments will also be incorporated on Michelle’s blog and Facebook page to continue the tribute to Vanessa.

For more information about the inspiration for this exhibit, please visit Pham’s blog. The Verizon Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and often on weekends when events are scheduled. Visitors can park in the visitor’s garage and B lots for free and a map of the Annandale Campus can be found on NOVA’s website.

Media Contact: Raytevia Evans | 703.425.5839 | revans@nvcc.edu




Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.