Art Museum Talk: Ornamental Blackness & the Decorative Arts

Storyteller Denise Valentine and art historian Adrienne Childs offer new perspectives on historical representations of black people in the context of slavery. This talk is the Eda G. Diskant Memorial Lecture.

Denise Valentine opens the program with a story based on her research of Philadelphia histories of slavery. Adrienne Childs will survey depictions of black people in European decorative arts. In what societies, and according to what ideas of beauty, were they produced?

A moderated discussion on race and representation will follow. Image: Beaker, c. 1770. Artist/maker unknown, Bohemian. Bequest of Constance A. Jones, 1988.

CollegeFest: FREE Philly Museums on September 7!

CollegeFest is quickly approaching, and we’re beyond excited!  On Saturday, September 7 experience your BEST five hours in Philly.  This year, we’ll have the biggest festival yet in Dilworth Park, featuring exhibitors with prizes and giveaways, pop-up performances, outdoor games, and so much more

CollegeFest is all about introducing you to your extended campus, the city of Philadelphia, so in addition to the huge party at Dilworth Park, we’re also partnering with museums and attractions all over Philly that you’ll get to discover for FREE.  That’s right!  If you’re a current college student, register today for Express Check-In  so you can skip the line at Dilworth Park (next to City Hall) on September 7, grab your wristband and check out these attractions for F-R-E-E! Continue reading “CollegeFest: FREE Philly Museums on September 7!”

Yoshitoshi & Comics

Art and manga historian Ryan Holmberg joins narrative artist Ronald Wimberly for a conversation on the enduring influence of Yoshitoshi on contemporary comics. Keep this pop-up comic-con going afterwards with local vendors Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Dirty Diamonds, Beehive Books, and Anuj Srestha. Enjoy book signings and a Yoshitoshi-inspired printmaking activity. Food and drink available for purchase. $10 ($8 members).

Offered in conjunction with “Yoshitoshi: Spirit and Spectacle.”

Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19130

Top 5 Events: Artistic & Athletic

This week’s Top 5 has some arts and some sports too, with events for those who enjoy creativity or athleticism or both. Whether you want to catch a film screening, enjoy some exciting music and the galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or run around Philly on a massive scavenger hunt, there’s definitely something for everyone. Here’s your chance to exercise both your mind and your body!

 Film Screening: 250 Miles Crossing Philadelphia 
When: April 16, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Where: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

This screening will feature the premiere of the innovative navigational documentary 250 Miles Crossing Philadelphia. The film depicts the daily lives of a few select people and objects, but doesn’t do so in a traditional way. Instead of filming those subjects, the Netherlands-based artist duo, PolakVanBekkum, explore the city visually through Google Earth satellite imagery. Layered behind those distant images are the close and local sounds of humans and objects within them. The result is an inventive synthesis of art, science, and technology. After the screening, there will be a Q&A with the artists who created the film. Check out this boundary-pushing expression of art and chat with the creative minds behind it! (While the event is free, a donation of $5 is suggested)

CitySolve Urban Race Series
When: April 17-18 Where: Field House, 1150 Filbert Street, Philadelphia Cost: Varies

While you might have to spend a little more money on this event, it’s worth it (and some of the proceeds will go to the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild). This one-of-a-kind Philly scavenger hunt combines trivia and adventure in an event that’s more than a scavenger hunt but less physical than running a 5k. Teams will solve clues on everything from pop culture to history and will partake in fun and interactive activities across the city (like bocce ball, corn hole, and more!). Rittenhouse Square, South Street, Society Hill, and other spots in between will be your playground as you and your friends navigate a The-Amazing-Race-style scavenger hunt. At the end of the race, there will be prizes for the race winners ($300 grand prize!), as well as ones for best tweet, best costume, and more. This event is a great chance to get outside and get moving in a fun and team-oriented way. So get your friends together, form your team, and get moving!

Art after 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
When: April 17, 5:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia Cost: $14

Every week the Great Stair Hall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art transforms into a space to enjoy a unique variety of entertainment. This week’s featured performers are a sextet of Philly musicians who will be playing equal parts modern jazz, jazz-funk, and Caribbean styles. Chris Aschman will lead the group, which will featured noted trombonist John Swana. In between performances, you can enjoy guided tours or explore the galleries in the main building. Starr Events will be serving fun and shareable snacks as well as light dinner options and drinks (21+). So grab a group of friends and head to the museum for a night of food, music, and art!

Philadelphia Spinners Season Opener
When: April 18, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Where:  Colonial Stadium, 201 E. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting Cost: $16

If you’ve never seen a Major League Ultimate game, you’re missing out on an exciting sport and a good time. This isn’t like tossing a Frisbee with your friends in the park or being on your college’s club ultimate team; this is professional athleticism at its finest, with speed, stamina, and agility creating an action-packed event. Now’s your chance to experience ultimate—the Philadelphia Spinners will open their season this weekend at home against the Boston Whitecaps (here’s the Spinners’ awesome promo video). The Flyers aren’t making the playoffs (you already know the 76ers aren’t either) and the Phillies will be out of town, so take in a game of ultimate instead.

Art Pages, All Art is Welcomed
When: April 17, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where: Taller Puertorriqueño, 2721 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia Cost: FREE!

Taller Puertorriqueño is an organization that seeks to preserve and promote Puerto Rican arts and culture, as well as bridge work between European, African, Caribbean, and Latino cultures. In honor of their 40-year anniversary, the organization is hosting an event focused on a radical-but-not-so-radical idea: art is for everyone. “Art Pages, All Art is Welcomed” is an exhibition that will feature artwork submitted by the community only. Rather than an emphasis on the canonical “greats” of the art world or a specific theme of art, Taller Puertorriqueño wants to promote the notion that creativity is not exclusive to any person, group, form, or aesthetic. The only guidelines for the show are the the artwork is the artist’s own and that it measures no more than 11 square inches. You can either submit a piece for the exhibition, or come out and peruse the pieces created by Philadelphians!

Top 5 Events: Appreciating the Arts

In a world where technology seems to be creeping further and further into every aspect of society and our lives, the arts still hold important cultural and societal value. And that doesn’t mean ancient statues or paintings that art history labels as important (although they’re cool too); it means everything that people create and share, and you don’t have to be an expert in painting techniques or dance to appreciate and engage in the arts. This week’s Top 5 captures some of the creative and artistic endeavors going on around Philly, with everything from theater to hip-hop for you to enjoy.

Selections from the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
When: March 26, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Where:  International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia Cost: $7 each

This week, International House is showing selections from the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, which is a collection of fiction, documentary, and animated films about human rights. The first film being presented is A Quiet Inquisition, which follows the ethical dilemma of a Nicaraguan OB GYN who must choose whether to follow a new law that bans all abortions or to provide the care that she believes can save a woman’s life. The second film, Private Violencedepicts two women who are domestic violence survivors and pose provocative questions for addressing this societal issue. Lastly, Sepideh – Reaching for the Stars documents the story of Sepideh, a young Iranian woman who dreams of becoming an astronaut despite the societal and familial pressure she feels to check her ambition. All three screenings tell captivating stories of people rising above their situations, so be sure to catch at least one of these inspiring films!

Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
When: March 25, 5:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia Cost: Pay what you wish

Wednesday nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art aren’t your typical experience. You can get creative at art-making workshops, get your poses on at a yoga session, play games, explore the galleries, or enjoy regional artists and musicians. This week’s museum-at-night-exploration includes poets, performers, and scholars who will guide visitors through an evening inspired by Represent: 200 Years of African American Art. A multimedia piece explores the historic impact of the MOVE bombing of 1985, Tracie Morris will present original poetic works, and a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon will allow visitors to help improve how African American artists are represented online. Grab your friends and don’t miss this fun night at the museum!

JT Hip-Hop Workshop
When: March 28, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Where: Headlong Dance Studios, 1170 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia Cost: $20

This hour-and-a-half-long dance session will have you dancing like Justin Timberlake. Ok, maybe not exactly like JT, but pretty close. You’ll be doing slides, shoulder shrugs, spins, and any other move that the master beat-boxer, singer, and dancer pulls out in his music videos. Don’t worry if you don’t have dance experience–the combination are easy to follow and instructors will break down the steps for the routines. Past and present hits will be the soundtrack for the session, and you’ll be inspired to move with the fun choreography lined up. Don’t miss this chance to celebrate the work of Timberlake and to spend the afternoon dancing. 

The Gender Weave Project
When: Through March 29 Where: Mt. Airy Art Garage, 11 West Mt. Airy Avenue, Philadelphia Cost: Free!

In observance of Women’s History Month, the Mt. Airy Art Garage presents “The Gender Weave Project,” an exhibition featuring the work of Moore College of Art & Design students. It will also feature the work of professional artists like Carol Loeffler, Arleen Olshan, and Kathryn Pannepacker. All of the works explore gender and identity, focusing on the respective artist’s own relationships to those categories. Art forms and approaches vary; some of the women employ photography, and others present paintings. Traditional depictions of gender and identity are on display, but so are convention-challenging pieces and ones the explore the multiple identities one person can harbor. All of the works share one similarity, though: they all seek to raise awareness of and overcome social prejudices and misconceptions. This is a great opportunity to enjoy contemporary and captivating art for free!

Hamlet at The Wilma Theater
When: March 25 through April 19 , regular museum hours Where: 265 South Broad Stree, Philadelphia Cost: $10

Hamlet is one of Shakespeare‘s most renowned plays, following indecisive Hamlet as he struggles to make a decision about just about anything. The fight for the throne of Denmark unfolds in the background as the play explores morality and vengeance. But the Wilma Theater isn’t interested in the historicity of centuries ago–instead, their rendition places the intricate mental musings of Hamlet into a 21st century context. Hamlet is played by accomplished actress Zainab Jah in this modern twist on the classic tale. Student tickets are discounted at $10, so be sure to catch this entertaining and innovative approach to one of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies.