Welcome to VMFA’s
VIRTUAL FAMILY DAY EVENT
Celebrate African and African American Art: Music & Tradition
Launches on VMFA.museum on Sun, Aug 1, 2021 at 11 am
Stays live through September 2021
Free. No tickets or reservations required.
Exploring Our Virtual Event
Welcome to “Celebrate African and African American Art: Music & Tradition” Family Day!
This year, we are excited to host both our virtual and in-person Family Day event (taking place at VMFA on Aug 1, 1-4 pm).
We are delighted that you have joined us online for this VIRTUAL Family Day!
On the event page below, you will find four buttons that will lead you to a variety of activities, performances, and resources. Take your time and check out everything. These activities and presentations will be available to access through September 2021.
Maybe you would like to watch performances and presentations, or maybe you would like to create your own work of art? These activities, resources, and more are listed below. Have fun, explore, and let your imagination roam!
Generously sponsored by
Come to VMFA to explore our newest special exhibition. The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, investigates the aesthetic impulses of early 20th-century Black culture and their influences on art, music, and other forms of cultural expression in the African American South over the past 100 years. The exhibition features works by an intergenerational group of artists that includes John Biggers, Nick Cave, Mose Tolliver, Nadine Robinson, Radcliffe Bailey, RaMell Ross, Kara Walker, and others.
Tell us about your experience!
We would love your feedback on our virtual Family Day event! Click here to fill out the survey after you have explored our event.
★ Performances & Presentations
Sit back and watch incredible performances and demonstrations! Follow the links provided below to view all presentations.
Join Emerald Holman as she explores the dances of Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Memphis, and Miami, and showcases South Sounds in Action. These five cities constitute the southern hip-hop network, demonstrating distinct styles of movement that continue to contribute to hip-hop culture today. The dance film culminates highlighting Hampton Roads, VA in a protest for freedom as enslaved Africans were brought to present-day Fort Monroe as early as August 1619. Emerald Holman is accompanied by dancer, Unique Wilson.
Emerald Holman, a Washington, DC, native, grew up training at DC’s Northeast Performing Arts, Jones-Haywood School of Dance and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She is currently a professional dancer with Step Afrika! In 2012, she was awarded the Legacy Award from the Creativity Foundation while attending Duke Ellington School of the Arts. In 2017, Emerald earned a BFA in Dance and Choreography with honors from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). While at VCU, she studied dance for a semester in Paris, France, by way of the University of South Florida’s Dance in Paris Program. In her senior year, she was awarded the Black History in the Making Award from the Department of Dance and Choreography in partnership with the African American Studies Department at VCU. As a dance artist, Emerald is interested in increasing dance training and performance accessibility in urban communities.
Unique Wilson grew up in Washington, DC, but she did not start dancing until she entered high school. She attended National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter High School, where she began her dance training as a majorette. By her sophomore year, she became the majorette captain. As the former majorette captain for her high school’s marching band, she became very passionate about dance and decided to pursue this interest in college. As a recipient of the Brittain Scholarship, she continued her studies at Emory University. During her undergraduate career, she explored various performance and choreographic opportunities to hone her craft. In May 2021, she graduated with a B.A. in Dance and Movement Studies. As a dancer/choreographer, Unique hopes to help make the dance industry more inclusive through her work.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, Rob Gibsun has been in love with the visual and performing arts since his youth. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Communication Arts department, Rob’s art and poetry have been published in Yemassee Journal, The Offing, Kinfolks Quarterly, Minetta Review, and Amendment. As a teaching artist, Gibsun has instructed watercolor painting classes with senior citizens at Pine Camp Art Center and facilitated creative writing and performance workshops with inner city youth through Richmond-area non-profit Art180. Gibsun has shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Charlie Wilson, Saul Williams and Lianne La Havas. Founder of VCU’s award-winning poetry organization, Good Clear Sound, Rob has extensive knowledge as a poetry slam coach. A TEDxRVA Speaker, Southern Fried Poetry Slam Champion and Verses and Flow Poet, he urges you to keep it real, create fearlessly, and work with what you got to get what you want. Find more of Rob’s art at linktr.ee/robgibsun
Mikemetic continues to sharpen the cutting edge of creative audio culture through curated soundscapes that capture both the essence and flow of the African Diaspora. Through live presentation and his Dirty South Soundsystem video mix, he consciously captures the essence of The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse exhibit in sound and images and presents a multimedia piece that is an accessible time capsule of sound for this important movement in American music.
Girls for a Change
From 2020-2021, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts hosted the first-ever Girls For A Change (GFAC) Girl Action Team in tandem with the The Dirty Southexhibition! Six girls from GFAC, led by Coach Nickey, individually answered the question “What Does the Dirty South Mean to Me?” by diving deep to learn and explore southern African American history and culture from its roots in Africa to how it is reflected in America. There were several artistic multimedia answers to the question—a filmed “interview-esque” response, a video dance montage paying homage to the decades and [CS(1] southern musical artists that individually inspired each student, and even a studio recording session answering the question over a soundtrack in spoken word form.
As you enjoy the video featuring Ahmaria Rufus, Ca’Miyah King, Madison Wright, Noelle Massenburg, Shania Brown, Madison Wright, with a dash of Coach Nickey and Sis Angela Patton, CEO of Girls For A Change tossed in for fun, we invite you to answer the question yourself—What Does the Dirty South (and it’s worldwide cultural impact) Mean to YOU?
Elegba Folklore Society
Elegba Folklore Society’s interpretive performance is rooted in the music, dance and lifestyle traditions of West Africa’s Manding and Yoruba cosmologies. Let’s explore Black cultural expression that is its own aesthetic. Multi-layered and multi-sensual, Black culture is a strong African Diasporic weave of spirit and sass. Dirty, from its enslavement-bound concentration in the South, it displays itself everywhere without invitation, leaving a red clay printed trail from Afro past to Afro future. Elegba Folklore Society opens this road with music, dance and spoken word. Let’s ride.
Dirty South Virtual Speaker Series: Southern Hip-Hop and the Academy
Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African and African American Studies, Duke University; Dr. Anthony Pinn, Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, Rice University; and Dr. Erik Nielson, Professor, Liberal Arts, University of Richmond, discussed Southern Hip-Hop and the Academy on Thursday, June 3, 2021.
Curator’s Talk: The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse
Valerie Cassel Oliver, the exhibition’s curator and VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, discusses the works in the groundbreaking exhibition The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse and how they reveal the aesthetic traditions of the African American South and their influences on art, music, and other forms of cultural expression over the last 100 years.
It’s time to make art! Check out the art activities listed below. Under each art activity title and description, you will find a “how-to” video and an activity resource document with instructions and a list of supplies needed to complete each project.
Create a Guitar
Follow the instructions included below to create your own guitar inspired by southern musicians like B.B. King!
Construct a Wind Chime
Follow the instructions provided here to decorate and assemble your own wind chime!
Customize your own SLAB Textile
Follow the instructions included below to design your own SLAB (Slow, Loud and Bangin) ride! You can find a PDF template of a SLAB car rendition designed by Alex Teschel of Studio Two Three on the art activity sheet.
A Collaboration with Studio Two Three
Studio Two Three is a community print shop, home to over 100 artists located in Richmond, Virginia. We offer artists 24/7 access to studio space, tools, and materials to make art, and make change. Each fabric square was printed by hand at our shop in Scott’s Addition. The design for the print was created by Alex Teschel, illustrator, designer, and studio member at Studio Two Three.
Make a Torn Paper Landscape
Follow the instructions provided below to create a torn paper landscape inspired by landscapes, music, and traditions of the South!
★Virtual Gallery Activities
See works of art from the VMFA’s permanent collection, learn, explore, and participate in activities listed below.
The Dirty South: Family Visit Guide
Interested in coming to VMFA to explore the special exhibition, Dirty South? Make sure to check out our Family Visit Guide. This guide offers families some helpful tips for visiting “The Dirty South” exhibition.
Gallery Hunt: Style
Style is an expression of identity. In many cases style represents a unique personality, while for others it speaks to an entire culture, belief, or movement. Travel through the VMFA galleries to see how art can express attitude, status, trends, spirit, and thoughts!
I Am: Identity in African Art
What can the visual arts tell us about an individual or a community? This resource explores the concept of identity in traditional African art and culture by focusing on twelve objects that speak to various roles within a society. These objects represent cultural groups from different parts of the continent, reminding us of the diversity that exists across Africa.
Gaye Adegbalola “Front Porch Blues”
Virginia musician Gaye Todd Adegbalola was inspired by Romare Bearden’s collage, “Three Folk Musicians” to create a musical composition. Here she talks about her process and the blues genre of music.
Writing to Learn: Haiku
Use an artwork as a prompt for a haiku poem. This activity enables students to activate their imaginations, gives them a framework for connecting personally with art, and their critical observation skills.
Interactive Exercise: Question into Monologue
Artworks can offer an opportunity to consider different perspectives. Artists are intentional about how they depict people alone or in groups. Spending time to look carefully at expressions, body language, and contextual clues in figural artwork can help students consider ideas about identity, community, and belonging. Use this interactive exercise to guide students as they explore a work by Kehinde Wiley, creatively document the ideas it presents to them, and consider how their thoughts connect with the artist’s own ideas and intentions.
Special Exhibition – The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse
Come to VMFA to explore our newest special exhibition. “The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse,” organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, investigates the aesthetic impulses of early 20th-century Black culture that have proved ubiquitous to the southern region of the United States and their influences on art, music, and other forms of cultural expression in the African American South over the past 100 years. The exhibition features works by an intergenerational group of artists that includes John Biggers, Nick Cave, Mose Tolliver, Nadine Robinson, Radcliffe Bailey, RaMell Ross, Kara Walker, and others.
Check out a preview of the exhibition here
Learn more about the exhibition here
Access The Dirty South Family Visit Guide here
Discovering VMFA’s Permanent Collection
Learn about and discover all of the permanent collections VMFA offers.
Explore the permanent collection
Discover children’s books that focus on music, pattern, culture, and tradition! Check out our recommended book list for exploring more.
See the reading list
Accessing VMFA’s Library
The Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the oldest and one of the most extensive art resources in Virginia, with visual arts reference material that addresses virtually all the humanities. In addition to serving museum staff, it also acts as a non-circulating library for scholars, students, researchers, writers, and the general public.
To help limit the risks of COVID-19, the Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library space is currently being redesigned to ensure public safety and to maintain physical distancing. The library is open by appointment only. You can explore the library’s digital collections online. For reference assistance, please contact the library at email@example.com or 804.340.1495
Learn more about the library
Check out the library’s digital collection
The VMFA Shop searches the world to provide a diverse selection of unique jewelry, home accessories, toys, stationery, and books, focusing on merchandise related to the museum’s collections and exhibitions as well as educational items and works by Virginia artists.
Explore VMFA’s Shop
Explore resources, watch artist videos, and engage with more art from around the world!
See online learn resources
Interested in exploring and assessing free e-books through your local library? Check out apps such as Hoopla and The Libby App (OverDrive) that will connect you with e-books for a virtual reading experience. Please note: you need a library card to access e-books and other resources on these apps.
Check out The Libby App
Check out Hoopla
Generously sponsored by
Save the Date!
Celebrate the Art of Latin America: Puerto Rico | Sep 11, 2021 | 11am-3pm