September 05, 2017 News & Features » Cover Story


The 2017 Richmond Fall Arts Preview 

From celebrating local art institutions to welcoming new faces, this busy fall season is exploding with possibilities.

click to enlarge Doug Varone and Dancers will be appearing at the Modlin Center at the University of Richmond on Oct. 11.

Doug Varone and Dancers will be appearing at the Modlin Center at the University of Richmond on Oct. 11.

This fall promised the grand opening of the Institute for Contemporary Art, the gleaming Jawa sandcrawler of a building at Belvidere and Broad streets that looks to transport our arts scene to greater heights. But it was postponed until spring. So what does that leave us? A lot as it turns out.

Richmond’s arts and culture scene continues its steady upswing with many notable events across the worlds of music, theater, film, dance, visual arts and literature. Looking ahead, your biggest dilemma may be narrowing down choices on fall weekends, since one of the curses of Richmond dictates that awesome things always happen at the same time in different parts of the city.

In this seasonal preview, we ask some of our critics to weigh in on the events that they think should be on your radar, as well as featuring newer attractions such as the Afrikana Film Fest and Current Art Fair, both in their sophomore years.

The month of October is always one of the busiest. It’s worth noting that CultureWorks, whose executive director Scott Garka is out of the hospital and recovering at home after a tragic car accident, is holding its second annual ArtoberVA, which seeks to engage the public with a plethora of local arts events. It’s got a newly improved online calendar and is extending its reach to more nonprofits.

An out-of-town event to watch out for is the 30th anniversary of the Virginia Film Festival, the largest and best known film festival in the state, held from Nov. 9 through 12 in Charlottesville. Although the full lineup of films and guests won’t be announced until Sept. 26, we do know that filmmaker Spike Lee will be there showing two films, his Academy Award-nominated documentary, “4 Little Girls,” about the 1963 bombing of a church in Alabama, and his short, “I Can’t Breathe” relating the choking death of Eric Garner to Lee’s prescient “Do the Right Thing.”

There’s an old saying by one of the founders of the European Common Market, Jean Monnet: “Without people, nothing is possible, but without institutions, nothing is lasting.” And Richmond is lucky to have some great art institutions that are celebrating milestones this year: So whether it’s the Richmond Symphony’s 60th anniversary, Richmond Triangle Players’ 25th or InLight Richmond’s 10th, get out there and show your support. — Brent Baldwin

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