Artwork of Local Philanthropist, Artist on Display at Swift Creek Mill Theatre

By | August 29, 2021

A newly-unveiled collection of 56 paintings by artist and philanthropist Baxter Perkinson, Jr., DDS, is on display at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. The collection, titled “Covid Paintings,” features acrylic poured art created in Perkinson’s signature
impressionistic style. The paintings are on loan to the theatre for the run of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts. The musical comedy will kick off the theatre’s 2021-22 Mainstage season. The play opens Sept. 11 and runs through Oct. 23.

“Dr. Perkinson and his family are longtime friends and patrons of the Mill and strong supporters of art and culture in Central Virginia,” said Swift Creek Mill Theatre Managing Director, Steven Koehler. “We are honored to showcase his paintings and couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our new season.”

One of the foremost dentists in Central Virginia, Dr. Perkinson has grown his practice to 15 locations in the Richmond Metro area, eventually forming Virginia Family Dentistry. He has served as a rector and member of the VCU Board of Visitors and also served twice on the VCU Health System Board of Directors. He played a significant role in the concept and construction of the Perkinson Center for The Arts & Education which opened in November of 2020.

Inspired by his neighbor and fellow artist Elly Cox, Perkinson began painting at the age of 35 under Cox’s expert tutelage.

“It didn’t come to me naturally,” he said. “It is a skill you can learn, like playing the piano or typing.”

Later, Perkinson encouraged his brother, Ivan, to explore his own creativity through painting. Today, both men are well known professional watercolor artists in Virginia who share a passion for investing in the community.

Over the course of the 2020-21 pandemic shutdown, Perkinson began experimenting with acrylic poured paint, resulting in the “Covid Paintings” collection comprised of of 400 pieces. True to his philanthropic nature, he has gifted the entire series, including the 56 pieces on loan to the Mill, to the new VCU Adult Outpatient Pavilion. Guests can see “Covid Paintings” on display in the theatre’s Mill and Granite Rooms two hours prior to curtain. There is no admission
fee to view the collection.

“We are very grateful for Dr. Perkinson’s generous sharing of his artistic talent, which inspires and beautifies many of VCU’s academic and clinical environments today,” said Art Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H, Senior Vice President for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System, “This early viewing of his new and amazing art – a dramatic departure from his prior style of work will adorn the interior spaces and healing environments of our new Adult Outpatient Pavilion, a major new addition to VCU’s downtown medical center that is scheduled to open in early
December 2021.”

Historic Swift Creek Mill Theatre is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization offering mainstage and youth productions, educational programs, dining, cabarets, wine dinners, and event and catering services. Housed in a former grist mill, the theatre is listed as one of the oldest landmarks in the nation (circa 1663). Much of the original building structure remains intact. For more information, visit

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