2022-2023 Season Guest Curator Selections
A trio of spring performances is the culmination of a new collaboration between the Moss Arts Center and North Carolina artist Shirlette Ammons, who is serving as the center’s first independent guest performing arts curator. Ammons brings a new perspective to the center’s lineup, creating a focus on Black Southern artists who effortlessly cross genres and revitalize time-honored music traditions.
About the Performances Curated by Shirlette Ammons
Guest Curator Shirlette Ammons reflects on her curation process in this short essay.
This trio of performances connects neighbors separated by winding roads.
The artists conjured over that three and a half hour drive extend vastly beyond this performance trilogy. But, in various ways, they are represented in the works of Sonny Miles, Rissi Palmer, and yours truly. Sonny, Rissi, and I are part of a regional music community with limbs that reach back and forth, across genre- and borderlines; down into the murk of Black Southernness; across time to invite new interpretations of old sounds and experiences; and out into a world where next door neighbors are divided by fields, and fences, and party lines.
In the planning stages of this series, I traveled to Virginia Tech twice, navigating remote stretches between Durham and Blacksburg, each trip made identical by shallow morning dew and provoking terrain. The landscape reminded me of the small eastern North Carolina plot that raised me, the rural swaths connecting beatdown bungalows, open pastures, and single-wides. I thought about the music that might waft through each kitchen, past walls of family portraits, and out flimsy screen doors. I began making a mental playlist of the songs that came to mind.
Curating this series has been an expansive experience for me. As participants, I hope you are inspired to spend more time getting to know your neighbors, their journeys, and the paths they pave.
A Note to Virginia Tech Students and Faculty
Your knowledge of this campus and the roads that led you to them has informed this series. I hope you witness, at least in a small way, how your input helped steer us to this place we have arrived. Thank you for your generosity.
Whether you want to catch all three shows or curate your own experience, we have you covered.
Article ItemRissi Palmer , article
THURSDAY, MARCH 30-FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 8 PM: As a passionate voice for country artists of color and those who have been marginalized in mainstream country music, Rissi Palmer's gift lies in reaching across all musical boundaries.
Article ItemShirlette Ammons , article
FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 8 PM: Shirlette Ammons is a Durham, North Carolina-based poet, musician, emcee, and film creative whose highly collaborative work defies genre and interrogates her own relationships to gender, Blackness, and Southernness.
Article ItemSonny Miles , article
FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 8 PM: Citing gospel, funk, and neo-soul as his biggest influences, Winston-Salem singer and multi-instrumentalist Sonny Miles fuses catchy, relatable lyrics with soulful compositions to create a unique sound.