VMFA is showcasing African American artists in honor of Black History Month. “The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated to representing African American artists throughout the entire year,” Director Alex Nyerges says. “We are honored to join in the nation’s celebration of African American history and the cultural arts.”
VMFA is not only celebrating artists creating visual works, but also performing artists. One of the first performing artists on VMFA’s calendar is the renowned gospel group Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes. Celebrating 65 years of performing gospel music this year, Ms. Ingram is known as the “Gospel Queen” of Richmond, Virginia, and is joined on vocals by her daughter Almeta, granddaughter Cheryl, and close family friend Valerie Stewart. Together for 50-plus years, the group has performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center, the National Folk Festival, and the Richmond Folk Festival and has received numerous awards, including the Virginia Heritage Award for a lifetime of excellence in the folk and traditional arts in 2009.
Ms. Ingram was born July 4, 1930, on Mulholland’s Plantation in Coffee County, Georgia, and worked with her parents in the cotton and tobacco fields. She began singing and playing the piano at an early age, forming a gospel group called Sister Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes, which quickly became popular throughout Florida. In 1961, the musician moved her family to Richmond and continued her music through a prison ministry, partnering with the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in the ‘70s. In 2011, Ms. Ingram was awarded a doctor of music from Virginia Triumphant College and Seminary.
See what’s coming up later in the month.