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Watch Special Juneteenth Brewer's Sessions Performance at VMFA's Dirty South Exhibit

Bee Boisseau at Dirty South
The Bee Boisseau Project perform a special Brewer's Sessions at the VMFA's Dirty South exhibit.

A special Juneteenth edition of VPM’s Richmond-based music series, Brewer’s Sessions, was recorded at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to celebrate their latest exhibition, The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse. The performance will premiere this Saturday, June 19 at 7 p.m. on Facebook and YouTube

This unique Brewer’s Sessions features The Bee Boisseau Project performing directly from The Dirty South exhibit at the VMFA. Their musical set, like the exhibition, celebrates Black music — from jazz and blues to R&B and funk.  

Ajay Brewer, executive producer of Brewer’s Sessions and owner of Brewer’s Café, from which the sessions are usually recorded, said, “I grew up blocks away from the VMFA. I’ve always loved this place.” He added, “As a true fan of the art community, it was a dream come true to work with them.”  

VMFA’s Dirty South exhibit traces 100 years of African American cultural influence and artistic expression, exploring the visual and musical artistry that has shaped the South and our nation for generations.  

“When I heard about the Dirty South exhibit, I was so excited to have this important visual and music compilation here,” said VPM’s Chief Content Officer, Steve Humble. “We were thrilled to collaborate with the VMFA on a project that celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States; and since music and the arts are so important for both organizations, a special Brewer’s Session in the exhibit just made sense.” 

Having The Bee Boisseau Project perform in the actual exhibit was not an easy endeavor. Brewer created a special set for the space — including a replica of the café’s prominent and iconic coffee bar — giving the performance a strong collaborative feel. 

Bee Boisseau Project at Dirty South

The VMFA worked with Brewer and VPM to ensure the performers had a visually stimulating space in which to play, featuring colorful abstract images of The Dirty South exhibit and maps of the southern cities the exhibit explores. VMFA’s space also provided strong acoustics for professional-quality recording.  

Paula Saylor-Robinson, Director of Audience Development and Community Engagement at the VMFA, remarked that the exhibit was the perfect place for such a performance: “VMFA's exhibition explores generations of artistic influence born in the African American South, and with June being Black Music Month, it's a fitting setting for the musical tribute.”  

She went on to say, “Both VPM and VMFA engage diverse audiences, share a broad spectrum of stories, and entertain. I am so delighted that we came together to honor and celebrate musical genres connected to the Black South and to create this special presentation for our audiences.” 

Brewer echoed her sentiments. “Every day I get up, I make it a goal to push my culture forward. I thank The VMFA and The Bee Boisseau Project for allowing Brewer’s Sessions to do just that!” 

Learn more about The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse from VPM’s interview with Valerie Cassel Oliver, curator for the exhibit and VMFA’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. 

The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse runs through September 6. Tickets are free for VMFA members. Tickets for non-member adults and children are $10-$12.  

Tune in June 19 at 7 p.m. online for the premiere of Brewer’s Sessions x VMFA’s Dirty South. You can view all of Brewer’s Sessions, seasons 1-3 on VPM’s website, VPM’s YouTube page, or at Brewer’s Sessions’ Instagram page.