Folk Festival to Highlight Car Culture

Oct 3, 2019

When you think of folk arts, you might think of bluegrass music, primitive paintings and square dancing, but this year’s Folk Festival in Richmond will feature something new – car culture.

Virginia Humanities will highlight people who customize cars in artistic ways.
Credit Virginia Humanities

You may not consider pin-striping, colorfully decorated hot rods and skillfully sculpted muscle cars to be art, but Jon Lohman at Virginia Humanities says they most certainly are.

“It’s hand made," he argues. " It’s made to not just be functional but be beautiful.  It’s a deeply creative process.  When it’s done well it’s done by masters just like any great piece of art.”

So this year, the group’s designated area on Brown’s Island will showcase cars.

"Hot rods and dragsters and muscle cars and all of those automobiles that are modified by individuals in communities," says Lohman. "It’s a very vibrant culture in Virginia."

That’s especially true in the southwestern part of the state where Lohman says car clubs, drag strips and street racers are part of everyday life.

“You go down there and all over the place you’ll find guys tinkering with cars and transforming them into all kinds of  fascinating works of art,” Lohman says.

Admission to the Richmond Folk Festival is free.  The fun begins Friday, October 11th,  and the The Virginia Folklife Area will be open Saturday, and Sunday from noon to six. Also on hand, Team Vibrant – a group of high school kids from the Burton School of Art and Technology in Roanoke County.  They’re national champions when it comes to dismantling and re-assembling a Chevy engine in record time.