We started a nonprofit: 2022 in review

An infographic map of the world showing active and in-progress projects of the Center for Cultural Vibrancy

That’s a wrap!

2022. What a year here at the Center for Cultural Vibrancy!

2022 was CCV’s first FULL year in existence. We’ve been busy defining who we are now while simultaneously creating the framework for our future. Amidst the paperwork and lengthy conversations about decision making, we had the great pleasure of engaging with projects near and far. We’re on a steadfast mission to create a more empathetic world where people seek to understand and celebrate one another’s cultural expressions. 2022 was about putting this vision into the world.

Take a gander at the handy infographic above to see the locations of our current projects and those in development. If you have the means, consider supporting our work.

A Few 2022 Highlights:

Ingramettes to Ireland and Beyond!

2022 took us to Ireland where we organized a ten-day tour for The Legendary Ingramettes. This female-fronted gospel powerhouse group performed at festivals and concert halls large and small, connected with new friend Rhiannon Giddens for a workshop at the University of Limerick (thanks for the biscuits, Rhiannon!), and performed for student audiences.

We can’t stop watching this video of the Ingramettes in Ireland, pub-style:

In our first year as an org, we chose to see what the collective powers of the CCV could do for a group like the Ingramettes – who are deeply entrenched in their Richmond community and deserve to be known and celebrated around the world. They began the year with the exciting news of their selection to receive an NEA National Heritage Fellowship, joining the ranks of Mavis Staples, B.B. King, and Shirley Caesar. We were able to follow that remarkable honor by securing tour support through Mid Atlantic Arts for the dates in Ireland, helping to secure them an agent and successfully nominating them for a spot on the Mid Atlantic Arts Touring Roster plus a coveted slot at the Globalfest Showcase at Lincoln Center in 2023. Keep your eyes on this amazing group! The sky is the limit when you are singing towards the heavens with your feet firmly entrenched in community.

An Expanded World Culture in Context Program

The World Culture in Context series was conceived of as a virtual field trip that offered students a window into local cultural traditions; the program pairs custom videos of artists in their unique cultural context with live virtual conversations between artists and students. In 2022 the program has sprouted new wings with the exciting development of custom curriculum designed for each participating artist and new in-person offerings. We also recorded new programs around Jewish music and food, on Hawaiian indigenous instruments, and on the impact of the Hawaiian steel guitar on the world. This program continues to offer avenues of access to young audiences we didn’t think possible a few years back. For a taste, give a few minutes to this short clip. Here, students from the Eastern Shore of Virginia wrote lyrics mined from stories connected to their own families. The great bluesman Jontavious Willis, hearing the lyrics for the first time, takes key phrases and improvises a blues song on the spot:

Richmond Folk Festival was WILD

The Richmond Folk Festival is in the DNA of the Center for Cultural Vibrancy. And the 2022 Festival was one for the record books for sure! No rain, all love. That was the vibe of the entire fest.

CCV’s role in this major effort included the sponsorship and curation of the Center for Cultural Vibrancy Virginia Folklife Stage, featuring performances showcasing traditional music styles from bluegrass and Appalachian music to gospel, blues, and bomba. Additionally, we supported the hard work of the Virginia Folklife Program in producing a material cultural demonstration area with a focus on Virginia’s instrument makers. The festival was a smash with an estimated total attendance of 230,000 people.

In keeping with our efforts to foster cross-cultural collaboration and connections, we brought together multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely with Bolivian master musicians Mario and Jose Oretea and their band Ouros, and a powerful duet between Venezuelan Llanera musician Larry Bellorín and multi-instrumentalist and social activist Joe Troop. The six musicians exploded musical commonality on stage together.

From left to right: Joe Troop, Larry Bellorín, Danny Knicely, Mario “Cesar” Oretea, Jose Oretea, and Ralph Gordon in the “Bridging Borders” workshop on the Center for Cultural Vibrancy Virginia Folklife stage at the Richmond Folk Festival (photo by Pat Jarret).

2023 and beyond!

There has been so much happening in 2022, and so much more is coming in 2023. Keep a lookout for exciting programs on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, in Lahore, Pakistan, and on the stages and in the communities around the U.S.

For a complete list of 2022 CCV activities check out our recent programs. If you want to get on on the ground floor and support this work, please donate now.