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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.



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:

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



Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Arts & Entertainment

Dreams of Freedom LolliPops concert celebrates music of Black composers

This concert is a great introduction to the dream and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – created especially for young listeners.



This Saturday, January 15th the Richmond Symphony and Atlantic are presenting the LolliPops concert at the Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theater (600 E. Grace Street).

This concert is a great introduction to the dream and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – created especially for young listeners. More than a century of works by Black composers will be represented, including Florence Price, William Grant Still, Undine Smith Moore, Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, and Adolphus Hailstork. Enjoy the music of freedom, of triumph, of inspiration. Also featuring the recent winner of the Sphinx Competition Junior Division, dazzling 12-year-old violinist Amaryn Olmeda. Chia-Hsuan Lin will be the conductor.

Amaryn Olmeda – Photo Credit: Sweet Jean Photography

Additionally, Mia S. Owens a 12th grader from Glen Allen High School will be reading her poem “Glistening Hope” and Riley Reeves a 5th grader from Greenfield Elementary School will be his poem “The King”. The two were the winners for the Richmond Symphony Youth Poetry Contest: “What Does Dr. King’s Legacy Mean to You?”

Pre-show festivities start at 10am, concert starts at 11am. Tickets: $10-$20,



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Arts & Entertainment

VMFA presents Tsherin Sherpa’s first solo museum exhibition

On view from February 19 to October 16, 2022, Spirits is a tightly focused mid-career retrospective of Tsherin Sherpa’s captivating and sublime paintings and sculptures.



The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) presents Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits, the first solo museum exhibition of the Nepalese-born Tibetan American contemporary artist. On view from February 19 to October 16, 2022, Spirits is a tightly focused mid-career retrospective of Tsherin Sherpa’s captivating and sublime paintings and sculptures.

“Visitors to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts may remember seeing Tsherin Sherpa’s paintings in the museum’s 2019 exhibition Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA Director and CEO. “We are excited to present an exhibition of works by this globally acclaimed artist as the themes he explores — including the quest for individual and collective identity in a rapidly changing world — are universally relatable and compelling.”

Sherpa was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1968, and immigrated to the United States 30 years later. From a young age, he studied Tibetan thangka painting with his father Master Urgen Dorje. He eventually moved away from this form of traditional painting and began creating original work that draws on both Tibetan Buddhist iconography and the imagery of popular culture, exploring the interplay of the sacred and the secular and giving shape to the artist’s own cross-cultural experiences.

Spirits is a captivating exhibition that will intrigue those who have an interest in contemporary global art, traditional Asian art, Tibet and Buddhism,” said exhibition organizer Dr. John Henry Rice, VMFA’s E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art. “Not only are Sherpa’s 36 works in the exhibition visually mesmerizing, but each is layered with meaning. Part autobiography, part social commentary, they contain the artist’s contemplation of struggles faced by Tibetans and other displaced peoples while inviting viewers to examine their own experiences with loss and re-empowerment.”

Presented as a narrative, the exhibition traces Sherpa’s Spirits, a series conceived soon after he shifted away from traditional painting and that has continued to evolve throughout the course of his career. “The story told by these works’ half-human, half-Tibetan-deity subjects is one of cultural loss, protracted struggle, eventual victory, wisdom gained and identity recovered,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education. “I believe that visitors to the exhibition will be captivated, moved and inspired by these works of art.”

The painting Spirits (Metamorphosis) portrays two Spirits at just that moment of recovering their identity. Surrounded by butterflies symbolizing transformation, they discover under the dripping pigmentation of their bodies an internal power visualized as energetically swirling colors.

With Skippers (Kneedeep) — Sherpa’s first work to fully translate his painting into three dimensions — these empowering polychrome forms inhabit the body of a cheeky bubblegum-blowing Spirit clad only in golden briefs.

The sculptural installation Wish-Fulfilling Tree offers audiences a unique participatory experience. The seven-layer offering mandala, made from copper and ornamented with Spirit faces, was originally created to hold the wishes of survivors of Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake. Now it beckons visitors to write their own wishes on pieces of paper that will be inserted into the piece.

The finale of Spirits is a new work — Sherpa’s largest painting to date — created expressly for the exhibition. In it, Sherpa reflects on the long journey he and his Spirits have traveled.

The artist’s prolific Spirits body of work will be explored through a candid conversation between Sherpa and Dr. Rice on February 17, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. in the museum’s Leslie Cheek Theater. For more information about Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits and programs related to the exhibition, visit

Ticket Information

Tickets for the exhibition Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits are now on sale: $10 for adults and $8 for seniors 65+, youth 7–17 and college students with ID. The exhibition is free for VMFA members, children ages 6 and under, and active-duty military personnel and their immediate families.



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Arts & Entertainment

Calling Local Artists, Two Public Projects Looking for Proposals

Three community gardens and a fire station are looking for art to spruce up their neighborhood. Both proposals have January deadlines.



The Richmond Grows Gardens Program and the Public Art Commission are partnering to commission three separate pieces of functional art for use in Community Gardens around the City. Artists throughout the Richmond, Virginia region are invited to submit their qualifications for consideration. Four to six finalists will receive $500 each to develop a more comprehensive proposal for final consideration.
RFQ Deadline: January 21, 2022
Honorarium for Draft Proposal: $500
Number of Commissions: 3
Commission Budget: $30K/each commission inclusive of artist’s fees, materials, insurance, fabrication, installation, travel and all other project-related expenses
The three Community Gardens are: • Charles S. Gilpin at 1420 St Peter Street • Alice Fitz at 1301 Perry Street • Broad Rock at 404 E Broad Rock Road
Richmond’s Public Art Commission seeks an artist or artist team to create a permanent, site-integrated public art commission for a new building that will replace Fire Station #12, the city’s oldest operating station originally built for a horse-and-buggy fire crew in the early 20th century. Professional artists from across the United States and its territories are invited to submit their qualifications for consideration. Three to five finalists will each receive an honorarium of $1,500 to submit a formal proposal for the project. Façade
Design and location map are available at…/public-art-commission
Application Deadline: January 24, 2022
Honorarium for Draft Proposal: $1,500
Total Project Budget: $150,000 (inclusive of all artist fees, materials, insurance, fabrication, installation, travel and all other project-related expenses)
The new fire station will be located at 2223 W. Cary Street.



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