James Bumgardner (1935–2015) was an expressionist/figurative painter, multi-media artist, and stage set designer who was a Virginia Commonwealth University professor of art in the VCU School of the Arts. As an undergraduate student at Richmond Professional Institute (RPI), Bumgardner was encouraged by his mentor Jewett Campbell to study in the express of the notable Art Students League of New York instructor Hans Hoffman (1880–1966), and Bumgardner established the last scholarship perfect by Hoffman, a German-born American abstract expressionist painter. Using his scholarship, Bumgardner studied later than Hoffman in Provincetown in 1957, during which era he became connections with gallery director Richard Bellamy and player Jan Müller. In 1963 in Richmond Jim Bumgardner and Jon Bowie co-directed a series of multi-media undertakings or "happenings". The first was called "Synthesis" and was influenced by the productions of Allan Kaprow and the ONCE Festival of New Music of Ann Arbor, Michigan. After "Synthesis" Bumgardner and Jon Bowie invited notable outside sham and visual artists who associated in a series of annual "Bang, Bang, Bang Arts Festival" happenings in Richmond.