Celebrate African and African American Art: All Good!

Sat, Jun 20, 11 am – 3 pm | VMFA
Free, no tickets required.

To the Ndebele people of South Africa “good” and “beautiful” mean the same thing. At this celebration of diversity, we will introduce themes of pattern and design in African and African American culture and show how these themes relate to daily rituals, rhythm, folkloric motifs, and mathematical concepts across continents. During your visit, view the mural art of Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu, who spent two months in residence at VMFA. It is very good!

Celebrate African and African American Art: All Good!

Performances (times and locations listed below)
Afrika Arkestra | Marble Hall, Level 2
11:30 am—12:15 pm

Listen to artist and musician Ashby Anderson’s original composition that tells the story of Richmond’s African burial grounds.

Step Afrika! |
Leslie Cheek Theater, Level L

12:15—1 pm (doors open at 11:45 am) & 2:15—3 pm (doors open at 1:45 pm)

Step Afrika! is an internationally acclaimed step group that will make you literally feel the patterns in the rhythm. In stepping, the body becomes an instrument, creating intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps, and the spoken word. Stepping’s movements draw inspiration from African foot dances such as Gumboot, originally conceived by miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming. (Seating is limited. First come, first served.)


Exhibitions and Demonstrations


Gallery Hunt | Welcome Table, Atrium, Level 1

Explore the VMFA galleries to see African and African American works of art featuring pattern and design.



Double Dutch | Sculpture Garden, Pauley Center Patio
12:30 pm

Games and sports have been played and shared cross culturally since ancient times. Learn how the sport of jumping rope promotes teamwork and strategy through timing, counting, methodical footwork, and coaching. Watch and then join in.




Community Ndebele Mural Project | Sculpture Garden
(rain location: Art Education Center, Level 1)

The Ndebele home is a symbol of culture, tradition, beauty, family, and community. Join in the rich family tradition of painting symbols, patterns, and designs unique to the Ndebele culture on wooden play houses.


Make Your Own Ndebele Home | Sculpture Garden
(rain location: Atrium, Level 1)

Before or after joining in the community fun of painting a larger scale Ndebele-styled house, create your own one-of-a-kind home while being inspired by traditional colors, patterns, and designs.


Geometry in Art and Basketball Game | Pauley Loading Dock Bay

Identify, define, and practice elements of art and geometry through the game of basketball. Visitors that take a shot will be able to put a ticket into one of their favorite local community center’s buckets. The community center with the most tickets gets to take home one of the large basketball hoops!


Mancala in the Garden | Sculpture Garden
(rain location: Atrium and Best Café, Level 1)

Join in a traditional counting game played by people across the globe. Play in pairs while resting in the Sculpture Garden, or use your whole body to maneuver playing pieces on our giant scale board. When you’re done playing step on over to the ”make it” station and create your own board.


Create your Own Egungun-Inspired Mask! | Sculpture Garden
(rain location: Art Education Center, Level 1)

Create your own Egungun-inspired mask by attaching different strips of fabric, crepe paper, shells, beads, and more to a paper headband strip.


Contemporary Fabric Design | Sculpture Garden
(rain location: Conference Room 1, Level L)

Print your own version of contemporary Kanga fabric using radial symmetry and layered stamping techniques. Visitors will be able to take home their original printed pillowcase.


Create your Own Maasai Beadwork – Inspired Bracelet | Art Education Center, Level 1

Examine different depictions and examples of Maasai beadwork, including elements of design and decoration. Then create your own Maasai beadwork using fusion beads.

Generously sponsored in part by