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Arts & Culture

Virginia's Traveling African Art Exhibit

Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund

When it comes to ethnicity, the largest group of people in Virginia—about 20% -- trace their ancestry back to Africa, but kids in our schools learn relatively little about African history, arts and culture.  Now, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will offer a lively supplement to the curriculum -- taking children on a virtual trip to Mali, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

The VMFA has a large collection of African art, and this year about 90 pieces will be making the rounds in Virginia as part of a show called Fortune, Courage and Love.  School groups will visit the William King Museum in Abingdon, the Taubman in Roanoke or the Piedmont Arts Center in Martinsville, and local teachers will use the show as a springboard for classroom lessons according to Jeffrey Allison, manager of statewide programs and exhibitions.

“We have already put teacher kits together that incorporate original objects from those cultures that are available to go to the schools in the region where the exhibition is going to be hosted, and it has a week’s worth of lesson plans in it.”

The works range from large, colorful fabrics to tiny gold weights used at one time in history to measure a substance of equal value – salt.  

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