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VMFA to exhibit “Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop” beginning in February

On display in Evans Court Gallery from Feb. 1 to June 14, 2020, the exhibition features nearly 180 photographs by fifteen of the early members of the Kamoinge Workshop. Working Together tells the story of the first two decades of this collective of artists, who expanded the boundaries of photography as an art form during a critical era of Black self-determination in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Beginning this February, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will highlight the work of a remarkable group of African American photographers in the exhibition Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop. On display in Evans Court Gallery from Feb. 1 to June 14, 2020, the exhibition features nearly 180 photographs by fifteen of the early members of the Kamoinge Workshop. Working Together tells the story of the first two decades of this collective of artists, who expanded the boundaries of photography as an art form during a critical era of Black self-determination in the 1960s and 1970s. This free exhibition is curated by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, VMFA’s Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

The exhibition has local roots through Louis Draper (1935–2002), who was born in Henrico County and attended the Virginia Randolph School and Virginia State College (now University) before moving to New York in 1957. It was there that Draper met other African American photographers, and in 1963 they came together to form the Kamoinge Workshop. The word Kamoinge means “a group of people acting and working together” in Gikuyu, the language of the Kikuyu people of Kenya. The collective met weekly to look at each other’s work, support one another, and organize their own exhibitions. They were also the driving force behind the Black Photographers Annual, a publication that featured the work of black photographers at a time when mainstream publications offered few opportunities for African Americans. Besides Draper, the early Kamoinge members represented in this exhibition are Anthony Barboza, Adger Cowans, Danny Dawson, Roy DeCarava, Al Fennar, Ray Francis, Herman Howard, Jimmie Mannas, Herb Randall, Herb Robinson, Beuford Smith, Ming Smith, Shawn Walker and Calvin Wilson.

Planning for this exhibition began in 2015 when the museum acquired Draper’s complete archive from his sister, Nell Draper-Winston. The archive consists of more than 50,000 items, including photographs, negatives, contact sheets, slides, computer disks, audiovisual materials, and camera equipment, as well as 15 boxes of valuable documents and publications, which include significant materials about the formation and early years of the Kamoinge Workshop. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Draper archive is now completely catalogued, digitized and will be available on the museum’s website before the exhibition opens. VMFA also received a grant from Bank of America to conserve, stabilize and digitize works in its collection of Kamoinge photographs.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is proud to house the archive of this talented Richmond photographer as well as the most extensive collection of photographs by early members of the Kamoinge Workshop,” said VMFA Director Alex Nyerges. “Our hope is that visitors will learn more about this collective of photographers and experience the beautiful images they created during a time when works by African American artists were marginalized or ignored.”

“When I first had the privilege of looking at Draper’s photographs and began reading his descriptions of the collective’s purpose, I realized this story was of national significance—both art historically and politically,” said Eckhardt.

Eckhardt pointed to a quote by Draper from the VMFA archive that underscores the significance of the African American collective that formed at the height of the civil rights movement and is still active today: “Cognizant of the forces for change revolving around Kamoinge, we dedicated ourselves to speak of our lives as only we can,” Draper wrote. “This was our story to tell and we set out to create the kind of images of our communities that spoke of the truth we’d witnessed and that countered the untruth we’d all seen in mainline publications.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a 304-page illustrated catalogue by Eckhardt, which includes a preface by Deborah Willis and additional essays by Erina Duganne, Romi Crawford, John Edwin Mason and Bill Gaskins. After the exhibition closes at VMFA it will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and two additional museum venues in the United States.

Learn more about the exhibit here.

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VMFA announces 26 recipients of artist fellowships for 2020-2021

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has announced the 2020-21 recipients of VMFA fellowships. Twenty-six students and professional artists were selected from more than 500 applicants to receive a total of $146,000 towards professional advancements in the arts. The VMFA Fellowship Program has awarded more than $5.8 million to over 1,395 artists since 1940.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has announced the 2020-21 recipients of VMFA fellowships. Twenty-six students and professional artists were selected from more than 500 applicants to receive a total of $146,000 towards professional advancements in the arts. The VMFA Fellowship Program has awarded more than $5.8 million to over 1,395 artists since 1940.

Recipients must be Virginia residents and may use the award as desired, including for education and studio investments. Each year, professional curators and working artists serve as jurors to select fellowship recipients.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship Program is proud to support student and professional artists working across the Commonwealth,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA director and CEO. “We offer one of the largest fellowship programs of its kind in the United States and recognize this effort as a core part of our mission.”

Fellowship Recipients

VMFA awarded ten professional fellowships of $8,000 each this year. Professional fellowship recipients are Paul Finch, New & Emerging Media, Richmond; Emma Gould, Photography, Richmond; Sterling Hundley, Drawing, Chesterfield; Sue Johnson, Mixed Media, Richmond; Abigail Lucien, Sculpture, Richmond; Margaret Meehan, Sculpture, Richmond; David Riley, Film/Video, Richmond; Dash Shaw, Drawing, Richmond; Jon-Philip Sheridan, New & Emerging Media, Richmond; and Susan Worsham, Photography, Richmond. Veronica Roberts, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art, was the juror for the professional fellowship entries.

Undergraduate fellowships of $4,000 went to ten students this year. The recipients are Tatyana Bailey, Photography, Virginia Commonwealth Univeristy (VCU), Richmond; Emma Carlson, Film/Video, VCU, Des Moines, IA; Nicolas Fernandez, Photography, VCU, Fredericksburg; Erika Masis Laverde, Mixed Media, VCU, Glen Allen; Amuri Morris, Painting, VCU, Richmond; Megan O’Casey, Mixed Media, VCU, Arlington; Zoe Pettit, Mixed Media, VCU, Mechanicsville; Sarah N. Smith, Sculpture, VCU, Williamsburg; Nadya Steare, Drawing, George Mason University (GMU), Falls Church; and Elizabeth Yoo, New & Emerging Media, VCU, Glen Allen. Gayle Paul, curator at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, was the juror for the undergraduate fellowship entries.

Five graduate students were awarded $6,000 each this year. The recipients are Kelvin Parnell, Art History, University of Virginia (UVA), Charlottesville; Katie Revilla, Crafts, VCU, Richmond; Aniko Safran, Photography, James Madison University (JMU), Harrisonburg; Abed Elmajid Shalabi, Sculpture, VCU, Richmond; and Dennis Wymer, Painting, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Mouth of Wilson. Katelyn D. Crawford, PhD and the William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and Gayle Paul, curator at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, were the jurors for the graduate fellowship entries.

The Cy Twombly Graduate Fellowship, which honors the renowned Virginia artist and two-time VMFA Fellowship winner, was inaugurated into the VMFA Fellowship Program last year. The award is supported by the McClintock Endowment. This year’s awardee is Gary Abbott, a graduate student studying New and Emerging Media at Hollins University.

The Fellowship Program was established in 1940 with a generous contribution made by the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg. Offered through the VMFA Statewide Program, fellowships are still largely funded through the Pratt Endowment and supplemented with gifts from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation and the J. Warwick McClintic Jr. Scholarship Fund. In addition to providing financial rewards to all recipients, VMFA exhibits works by past fellowship winners in VMFA’s Amuse Restaurant and Claiborne Robertson Room, VMFA’s Pauley Center Galleries and select spaces at Richmond International Airport. Several past and present fellowship recipients have also shown their work in the galleries of the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton and the Capital One Commons in Richmond.

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The world is coming to Richmond for the Menuhin Competition – the “Olympics of Violin” – this May

The world is coming to Richmond from May 14-24, 2020 for the Menuhin Competition, the world’s leading international competition for young violinists. This Competition, called the “Olympics of the Violin,” is held every two years in different cities around the world.

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The world is coming to Richmond from May 14-24, 2020 for the Menuhin Competition, the world’s leading international competition for young violinists. This Competition, called the “Olympics of the Violin,” is held every two years in different cities around the world. Richmond is set to be the host city in 2020—only the second time that the Competition has been held in the U.S.

The Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 will showcase the exceptional talents of 44 competitors: 22 Juniors ages 15 and under, and 22 Seniors from ages 15-21. A record 321 candidates from 32 countries and five continents applied by the Oct. 31 deadline, and the 44 global competitors were announced in January. One of the competitors is from Virginia, Kayleigh Kim.

For 11 days in May, Richmond will be transformed into a celebratory festival of music with competitions, performances, master classes and concerts in several music genres throughout the region. Co-hosts are the Richmond Symphony, the City of Richmond, the University of Richmond, VCU and VPM.

The first round events at Camp Concert Hall at the University of Richmond are free to the public, but a ticket is required for admission and can be requested here. Semi-final rounds will be held at the W.E. Singleton Center at VCU, and final rounds will be held at the Dominion Energy Center downtown.

For more information about the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020, including dates, times, venues and tickets for all of the events, visit the website.

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Richmond Symphony Announces its 2020-2021 Season

Rush Hour at Hardywood, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, and a world-premiere work for trumpet by Richmond native Trey Pollard are just a few of this year’s highlights.

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The Richmond Symphony announced its 63rd Season today, highlighting a range of programming, renowned guest artists, and commemorations as part of its five concert series:  Altria Masterworks, Metro on the Move, Rush Hour at Hardywood, Symphony Pops, and Atlantic Union Bank Lollipops.

The announcement comes as the Symphony wraps up its Music Director search with five candidates being considered to replace former Music Director Steven Smith. The announcement of the new Music Director and his/her participation in the 2020-21 season is anticipated later this Spring.

“Our 2020-21 season marks the beginning of a fresh, new chapter in the Symphony’s great story,” said David Fisk, executive director of the Richmond Symphony. “Not simply are we celebrating our heritage by honoring the major anniversaries of Beethoven and of our Richmond Symphony Chorus; we are excited to be programming works by some of today’s most dynamic composers and presenting diverse guest artists. Leading the orchestra in the year ahead will be our new Music Director, whom we look forward to introducing to our audiences next season, with the warmest of welcomes.”

ALTRIA MASTERWORKS

The eight-program Altria Masterworks series, performed at the Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theatre, is comprised of new and traditional symphonic repertoire, engaging some of the best classical artists in the industry today. The following are highlights of the 2020-21 Masterworks season:

  • The Symphony’s Opening Weekend will take place on Sept. 19-20, 2020, with A Century of American Sound,” showcasing musical contributions that helped define American classical music. Aaron Diehl, known for classical and jazz piano, will perform Gershwin, alongside works by Ellington; William Grant Still, a groundbreaking black composer and conductor; and acclaimed Leonard Bernstein Award recipient Jessie Montgomery.
  • The Symphony will celebrate the 250th Birthday of Beethoven by performing the composer’s iconic Symphony No. 9 (Nov. 14-15, 2020) and Symphony No. 5 (April 17-18, 2021) on the Altria Masterworks series.
  • The Symphony will honor the 50th anniversary and contributions of the Richmond Symphony Chorus through the performance of beloved choral works, including Faure’s Pavane (Nov. 14-15, 2020); Dvorak’s Te Deum (Feb. 6, 2021); and Haydn’s The Creation (May 15, 2021).
  • The Symphony will perform contemporary works from five of today’s most cutting-edge composers on this series, including Coincident Dances by Jessie Montgomery (Sept. 19-20, 2020); Oscillate by Andy Akiho (Oct. 17, 2020); Umoja, Anthem for Unity by Valerie Coleman (Jan. 16, 2021); Maslenitsa by Guillaume Connesson (March 6-7, 2021); and Abstractions by Anna Clyne (April 17-18, 2021).
  • Altria Masterworks will feature classical music favorites, including Ravel’s Bolero (Jan. 16, 2021); Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (April 17-18, 2021); Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Nov. 14-15, 2020); Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3 “Organ” (Feb. 6, 2021); Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites, Nos. 1 and 2 (Jan. 16, 2021); Barber’s Violin Concerto (April 17-18, 2021); Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (March 6-7, 2021); among others.
  • Exciting guest artist debuts with the Richmond Symphony will happen on Altria Masterworks, including pianist Aaron Diehl (Sept. 19-20, 2020); violinist Melissa White (Oct. 17, 2020); pianist Gabriela Martinez (Mar. 6-7, 2021); and violinist Rachel Barton Pine (April 17-18, 2021).

METRO ON THE MOVE

The four-program Metro on the Move series is made up of chamber orchestra favorites, featuring Richmond Symphony musicians as soloists in more intimate settings.  The following are highlights from the 2020-21 Metro on the Move series:

  • In addition to Sunday performances at Randolph-Macon College’s Blackwell Auditorium, the Symphony will perform three Saturday concerts at the new Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts & Education in Chester, Va.  The first concert will be on Jan. 23, 2021.
  • The Metro on the Move series will feature Richmond Symphony musicians Thomas Schneider, principal bassoon, performing Rossini’s Bassoon Concerto (Oct. 25, 2020), and Concertmaster Daisuke Yamamoto (Feb. 20-21, 2021), leading Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos No. 1 and 3.
  • This series will include contemporary works from four of today’s most dynamic composers, including Harp of Nerves by Hilary Purrington (April 24-25, 2021); Variations on an Unheard Theme by Zachary Wadsworth (April 24-25, 2021); Little Moonhead by Melinda Wagner (Feb. 20-21, 2021), and Entr’acte by Caroline Shaw (Jan. 23-24, 2021).
  • Classical favorites will be heard on this Metro on the Move series including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 (April 24-25, 2021), honoring Beethoven’s 250th birthday; Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos No. 1 and 3 (Feb. 20-21, 2021); Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 “Italian,” (Oct. 25, 2020) and more.
  • Acclaimed guitarist JIJI will make her Richmond Symphony debut with Purrington’s Harp of Nerves (April 24-25, 2021).

RUSH HOUR AT HARDYWOOD

The four-program Rush Hour series is made up of casual, one-hour concerts that take place at 6:30 p.m. in the tasting room of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery- Scott’s Addition. Patrons can relax and enjoy craft beer and food, while listening to small-ensemble favorites by the Richmond Symphony. Rush Hour at Hardywood will continue this season, incorporating programs similar to those of the Metro on the Move series (see highlights above).

SYMPHONY POPS

The four-program Symphony Pops series features popular guest artists performing favorites in pop, jazz, classical, Broadway repertoire, and more, alongside the Richmond Symphony at the Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theatre.

Highlights from 2020-21 Symphony Pops series include:

  • VCU Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Rex Richardson will debut a world-premiere work for trumpet by Richmond native Trey Pollard. The premiere is part of a program celebrating the 100th birthdays of Charlie “Bird” Parker and Dave Brubeck (Feb. 27, 2021).
  • Warner Bros. presents BUGS BUNNY AT THE SYMPHONY, 30th Anniversary Edition-LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements © & TM Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s20). This concert will bring the world’s favorite classic LOONEY TUNES projected on the big screen, while the Richmond Symphony performs the exhilarating, original Carl Stalling scores LIVE! (Oct. 3, 2020 at Altria Theater). The program is conducted by George Daugherty, created by George Daugherty & David Ka Lik Wong.
  • “Frank & Ella: A Night of Jazz” will feature vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Tony DeSare, reliving the magic of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald (April 10, 2021).
  • Family favorite Let it Snow! is back again to celebrate the start of the holiday season (Dec. 5-6, 2020).

ATLANTIC UNION BANK LOLLIPOPS

The four-program Atlantic Union Bank LolliPops series is made up of short, sensory-friendly concerts for the entire family.  Taking place at Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theatre, the LolliPops series includes pre-concert activities for kids, including an instrument petting zoo.

The following are highlights from the 2020-21 Atlantic Union Bank LolliPops series:

  • The Symphony will celebrate the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) by performing works honoring the tradition, in collaboration with a performance by the Latin Ballet of Richmond (Oct. 31, 2020). The concert will be presented in both English and Spanish.
  • The Symphony will also bring back LolliPops favoritesThe Snowman (Nov. 28, 2020), “The Life and Times of Beethoven” (Feb. 27, 2021), and the timeless tale of Peter and the Wolf (April 10, 2021).

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Subscription packages are now on-sale for the Richmond Symphony’s Altria Masterworks, Metro on the Move, Rush Hour at Hardywood, Symphony Pops, and Atlantic Union Bank LolliPops series concerts.

Subscribers enjoy a variety of benefits, including priority seating, 20% off single ticket prices, flexible ticket exchanges, pre-sale opportunities for special events and concerts, and much more.

To renew your subscription or to become a new subscriber, please call 804-788-1212, or visit www.richmondsymphony.com.

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