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VMFA presents The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse

The exhibition explores the aesthetic legacies and traditions of Black culture in the African American South as seen through the lens of contemporary Black musical expression.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) will present the groundbreaking exhibition The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse. On view from May 22 to September 6, 2021, the exhibition explores the aesthetic legacies and traditions of Black culture in the African American South as seen through the lens of contemporary Black musical expression.

“Though this exhibition has been in development for a few years, The Dirty South has a renewed significance at this time of historic social change. We endeavor to create important, innovative and original exhibitions that are relevant to all of our communities,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “With this ambitious and timely exhibition, VMFA affirms its commitment to collect and display works by Black artists.”

The Dirty South makes visible the roots of Southern hip-hop culture and reveals how the aesthetic traditions of the African American South have shaped visual art and musical expression over the last 100 years. Beginning in the 1920s with spirituals, jazz and blues, the exhibition interweaves parallels in the visual art production of the Southern United States. The exhibition features an intergenerational group of artists working in a variety of genres from sculpture, painting and drawing to photography and film as well as sound pieces and large-scale installation works.

Featuring more than 140 works of art, drawing from the visual imagery found in music videos, song lyrics and cultural ephemera, The Dirty South looks deeply into the frameworks of landscape, belief systems and the Black body. Through the contributions of artists – both academically trained as well as those creative intellectuals relegated to the margins as “folk artists” – the foundational aesthetics that gave rise to the shaping of our contemporary expression are uncovered.

Organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Dirty South features art, ephemera and sound work by artists with ties to the South. Included in the exhibition are John Biggers, Beverly Buchanan, Nick Cave, Allison Janae Hamilton, Mose Tolliver, Rodney McMillian, Sister Gertude Morgan, Paul Rucker, Nadine Robinson, Arthur Jafa, Thornton Dial, Jr., Mildred Thompson, Radcliffe Bailey, Bisa Butler, Benny Andrews, RaMell Ross, Kara Walker and El Franco Lee II, among many others.

“The confluence between the visual and sonic arts in the Black creative expression has long been recognized. What has remained elusive, particularly in the presentation of these forms, is the long trajectory of this exchange,” said Cassel Oliver. “André 3000’s iconic phrase, ‘The South’s got something to say,’ really sparks for me a meditation to dig deep and to understand how Southern hip-hop artists were shaping their identity within the bedrock of the landscape that they knew and the creative expression born from the history of that landscape.”

Accompanying the exhibition is an illustrated catalogue, edited by Cassel Oliver, which will serve as a contemplation on the African American South and feature contributions by Cassel Oliver, Fred Moten, Anthony Pinn, Regina Bradley, Rhea Combs, Guthrie Ramsey, Andrea Barwell Brownlee, Roger Reeves, Kirsten Pai Buick, Charlie Braxton and Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid. The publication will also feature an exhibition checklist, plates of the works in the exhibition, artists’ biographies and a bibliography.

More information about the exhibition The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse can be found at www.VMFA.museum.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Arts & Entertainment

Richmond Folk Festival Announce Full Schedule

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The Richmond Folk Festival returns to an in-person event as it celebrates its 17th anniversary October 8-10, 2021, inviting fans to downtown Richmond’s riverfront to celebrate the roots, richness, and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling, and food.

The free, three-day, outdoor event is produced by Venture Richmond Events in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, and the City of Richmond.

Featuring five stages and showcasing music and dance from 30 artists from around the nation and the world, the Richmond Folk Festival today announces the full performance schedule—a captivating mix of cultural traditions, artistic excellence, and individual creativity from some of the nation’s finest traditional artists.

“We are excited to welcome everyone back to Downtown Richmond’s beautiful historic riverfront. We’re doing everything we can to make certain that the Richmond Folk Festival is the same exceptional event you’ve come to know and love,” said Venture Richmond CEO Lisa Sims. “A year and a half into the pandemic, and with a fully approved vaccine available to most of us, we all have tools to help minimize our risks. Those tools include mask wearing for everyone regardless of vaccination status, social distancing wherever possible, and getting your vaccination if you can. Our hope is that everyone will be a Good Neighbor to their fellow attendees by using each of these tools. Our Covid plan is a robust guide to making sure we are all as safe as possible. Our staff, crew, volunteers, and vendors will be masked at the festival — regardless of vaccination status — and all artists will be masked until they are on stage and performing. We hope to see you there!”

Venture Richmond Events continues to closely monitor CDC and Virginia guidelines for COVID-19 protocols for large, in-person outdoor events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and recommendations guide all decisions regarding in-person, outdoor events. (see COVID-19 guidelines)

Full Performance Schedule

Read all about the performers at each stage, and see the full weekend event schedule.
Read all about each artist performing, plus audio and video samples.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area and Stage

The Virginia Folklife Area and Stage returns this year with another scintillating lineup of some of the finest traditional artists from across the Commonwealth. After a year away, we’re excited to welcome back some friends who have graced our stage through the years. We’ll revel in the virtuosic bluegrass stylings of Danny Knicely, the lightning quick oyster knife wielding of champion shucking sisters Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd, and the soul stirring and electrifying harmonies of Richmond’s own Legendary Ingramettes. Our 2021 Virginia Folklife Stage will also introduce audiences to a host of gifted artists gracing our stage for the first time. We’ll go honky-tonking with a giant of the Telecaster, Redd Volkaert, move and be moved by the hip hop and bluesy prowess of J Pope and the HearNow and Justin Golden and the Come Up, and get swept up in the frenzy of Corn Tornado, an infectiously raucous bluegrass band led by one of the greatest songwriters ever to come out of Virginia, David “Bluegrass Buddy” Via, reunited for this once in a lifetime performance.

In addition to the musical offerings on the Folklife Stage, the Virginia Folklife Traditional Crafts Area will present MASK, featuring the remarkable Mongolian masks and ceremonial costumes and dance of Arlington, Virginia, resident Gankhuyag “Ganna” Natsag, marking the first time that the Folklife Traditional Crafts Area features the work of a single artist. Ganna is celebrated for recreating all 108 masks associated with the Mongolian Buddhist tsam, a secret and subtle ritual which had been banned by the Communist government in the 1930s along with other tsam religious displays. Ganna’s
artistry has been exhibited to audiences all over the world, including the Dalai Lama himself. For Ganna’s lifetime of work the Mongolian government recently honored him with the title of Cultural Ambassador to the United States.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area and Stage is produced by the Center for Cultural Vibrancy.

Read all about the artists of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area.

Update to the CarMax Family Area

Due to the highly interactive nature of the activities planned for the CarMax Family Area, the Richmond Folk Festival will not host a family area this year. The CarMax Family Area, produced by the Children’s Museum, is a robust and engaging, much-loved, part of the Festival. However, due to the lack of an approved Covid 19 vaccine for children under 12, we believe cancelling the Family Area activities is best for the safety of our littlest patrons. The Children’s Museum will be back to host the much-loved CarMax Family Area in 2022.

For all information on the festival, please visit RichmondFolkFestival.org. #RVAFolkFest

To make a donation to the Richmond Folk Festival today, Text to Give! Text FOLK to 44321.

The Richmond Folk Festival is produced by Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, and the City of Richmond.

The Richmond Folk Festival is sponsored by Altria, Dominion Energy, CoStar Group, CarMax, NewMarket Corp., Richmond Times-Dispatch, WestRock, Brown Distributing, Community Foundation, LIDL, Virginia Lottery, Atlantic Union Bank, NBC12 & CW Richmond, VPM, SummitMedia, Hilton Richmond Downtown, ONE Casino + Resort, Amtrak, Children’s Museum, American Civil War Museum, National Park Service, Virginia Humanities, JAMinc., Plan 9 Music, RMC Events, PD Brooks, SmartBox, Virginia Housing, Winn Transportation, House of Hayes, TNT Auto Rental, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia War Memorial.

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Arts & Entertainment

Style Weekly Ending Run

In another blow to independent journalism Style Weekly’s September 8th edition will be their last.

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Style Weekly posted the following on Facebook.

Note from the Editor-in-Chief:
Style Weekly will cease publishing after the Sept. 8 edition. We thank our talented staff for their award-winning efforts and our loyal readers for their support. Thank you, Richmond.
Style Weekly was many folks’ first connection to the arts and music scene in Richmond. All the talented folks that put their time into the publication will be missed.

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Arts & Entertainment

Richmond Folk Festival Announces More Artists

Richmond Folk Festival has nine new artists for you to check out as we wait, with fingers crossed for the return of Folk Fest.

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The Richmond Folk Festival celebrates its 17th anniversary October 8-10, 2021 inviting fans to downtown Richmond’s riverfront to celebrate the roots, richness, and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling, and food.

The free, three-day, outdoor event is presented by Venture Richmond Events in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, the Children’s Museum, and the City of Richmond.

Featuring six stages and showcasing music and dance from more than 30 artists from around the nation and the world, the Richmond Folk Festival today announces a second group of artists performing at this year’s festival—a program that will again be culturally diverse and artistically excellent, with some of the finest traditional artists performing throughout the weekend.

“We are proud to be back this year on Richmond’s beautiful downtown riverfront,” said Blaine Waide, associate director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. “From returning favorites to up-and-coming artists making their Richmond debut to traditions like Sicilian traditional music
that we have never presented before, this year’s program lives up to the festival’s reputation for offering a dizzying variety of artistic expressions and experiences—all for free!”

Venture Richmond Events continues to closely monitor CDC and Virginia guidelines for COVID-19 protocols for large outdoor events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and recommendations will guide all decisions regarding the festival.(see COVID-19 guidelines)

The nine newly announced artists to be featured at the 2021 Richmond Folk Festival include:

The Brotherhood Singers (African American a cappella gospel quartet singing)
Covington, Kentucky

Donny Broussard & the Louisiana Stars (Cajun)
Kaplan, Louisiana

Jasmine Bell & North Bear (Lakota hoop dance and Northern Plains drum)
Riverton, Wyoming

The Pedro Giraudo Tango Ensemble (Argentine tango)
New York, New York

Rosa Tatuata with Michela Musolino (Sicilian traditional music)
Clifton, New Jersey

Sugaray Rayford (blues)
Los Angeles, California

Taj Weekes (reggae)
St. Lucia by way of New York, New York

Tres en Punto (trío romántico)
Mission, Texas

The Western Flyers (western swing)
Burleson, Texas

The festival’s previously announced artists include:

Joanie Madden & Cherish the Ladies (Irish)
Yonkers, New York

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (bluegrass)
Charlestown, Indiana

Nava Persian Trio (Persian santour)
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Plena Es (bomba y plena)
Sunrise, Florida

Rare Essence (go-go)
Washington, D.C.

Sean Jones “Dizzy Spellz” feat. Brinae Ali (jazz, hip hop, and tap dance)
Baltimore, Maryland

Click here for extended artist bios, plus audio and video samples on our website.

Encore Performances on VPM

Every Saturday at 5:00pm, catch VPM broadcasts of favorite performances from the past 13 years of the Richmond Folk Festival, as well as the three years the city hosted the National Folk Festival (2005-07). Tune in to Richmond public radio VPM stations 107.3 FM & 93.1 FM for great musical memories. Add these shows to your calendar today:

Aug 28 Dale Ann Bradley
Sep 4 Lurie Bell, Andes Manta
Sept 11 Amargue Bachata Quintet with Andre Veloz
Sept 18 Ahava Raba with Yanky Lemmer
Sept 25 Sona Jobarteh
Oct 2 Maggie Ingram, Frank Newsome, The Paschall Brothers, Clinton Fearon

Interactive Scavenger Hunt

From now through Labor Day weekend, the Richmond Folk Festival is offering an interactive scavenger hunt. It takes about an hour or two to complete, and there are two routes from which to choose. The scavenger hunt presents opportunities to notice often-missed public art, learn about history and different cultures, and listen to relevant musical links along the way. Like the festival, both routes include hills, steps, and uneven ground. Those who successfully complete the festival’s scavenger hunt will be entered in drawings for prizes, with winners selected all summer long! The scavenger hunt runs through September 7.

For all details, please visit our website: https://www.richmondfolkfestival.org/scavhuntintro

More information on the festival and additional artists performing this year will follow soon. For
updates, visit www.richmondfolkfestival.org. #RVAFolkFest

To make a donation to the Richmond Folk Festival today, Text to Give! Text FOLK to 44321.

The Richmond Folk Festival is produced by Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the
National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, the Children’s
Museum, and the City of Richmond.

The Richmond Folk Festival is sponsored by Altria, Dominion Energy, CoStar Group, CarMax,
NewMarket Corp., City of Richmond, WestRock, Brown Distributing, Community Foundation,
Amtrak, LIDL, Virginia Lottery, Atlantic Union Bank, NBC12 & CW Richmond, VPM,
SummitMedia, Hilton Downtown Richmond, ONE Casino + Resort, American Civil War Museum,
National Park Service, Virginia Humanities, JAMinc., Plan 9 Music, RMC Events, PD Brooks,
SmartBox, Virginia Housing, Wells Fargo, Winn Transportation, House of Hayes, TNT Auto
Rental, Federal Reserve Bank, and Virginia War Memorial

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