Thursday, June 15, 2017
philadelphia museum celebrates black arts movement
PhilAesthetic explores local Black Arts Movement
Ayana Jones Tribune Staff Writer Jun 13, 2017
Helen Haynes, left, Patricia Wilson Aden and James Claiborne of the African American Museum in Philadelphia speak about PhilAesthetic events scheduled through August. — PHoto by ABDUL SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER
The Philadelphia Dance Company, one of four collaborators in the weeks-long cultural event, is scheduled to perform July 18 at the Dell Music Center. — SUBMITTED PHOTO
“One of the objectives of our project is to tie generations together,“ said Helen Haynes, PhilAesthetic producing director. — SUBMITTED PHOTO
Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble will put on a show in helping to launch PhilAesthetic during a reception on Thursday at the African American Museum of Philadelphia. — SUBMITTED PHOTO
The African American Museum of Philadelphia is marking its 40th anniversary by curating PhilAesthetic: A Celebration of Philadelphia’s Black Arts Movement, a multimedia, pop-up
exhibition that opens this week.
The celebration is an unprecedented collaboration between four cultural institutions: The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, Philadelphia Dance Compay, the New
Freedom Theatre and AAMP.
“PhilAesthetic is a shared celebration amongst Philadelphia’s African-American legacy cultural organizations,” Patricia Wilson Aden, AAMP president and CEO, told The Philadelphia Tribune.
“All of these organizations, for the first time, are offering programs with a shared theme. PhilAesthetic is all about the Black Arts Movement,” she said. “The Black arts movement is that
time between the late ‘60s and early ‘70s where we had a lot of creative energy percolating up
not only from neighborhoods in Philadelphia, but also nationally and internationally.”
“What we wanted to do is highlight the fact that these legacy organizations very often had their genesis during that time period and those legacy organizations have associated with them artists that have had impact not only here in Philadelphia but across the globe For so long we believed
that these legacy organizations haven’t been celebrated collectively as they could and should be, “ Aden said.
“We really want people to appreciate the fact that they have had this fantastic, immeasurable and invaluable imprint. The culture community is changing, the neighborhoods in which they exist are changing and very often their impact is under appreciated,” she added.
PhilAesthetic is anchored by a two-gallery exhibition showcasing four decades of works by some
of the top Black visual artists. It also features community workshop performances and pop-up exhibits at the three partner institutions where visitors can explore the stories, history and work of each of community cultural organizations.
“One of the objectives of our project is to tie generations together,“ said Helen Haynes,
PhilAesthetic producing director. “We talk about the Black Arts Movement and we talk about
what the boomers’ experience with it, but a lot of the millennials and the Xers haven’t had that
same experience with these institutions.
“We want to attract younger people to these institutions. This programming is really designed to attract younger people to the institutions to really get them more involved with them and also different cultures to these institutions,“ she said.
PhilAesthetic launches Thursday with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at the AAMP, 701 Arch St. The reception features live performances by the Clef Club Ensemble, Ursula Rucker and Kulu
Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble.
Through August, each partner institution will host a series of performances showcasing the
diversity of artwork created by the Black Arts Movement artists and their influence on
A performance titled “Fierce! Three Generations of Jazz, Funk and Hip-Hop” will be held June 24
at 8 p.m. at the Philadelphia Clef Club, 738 S. Broad St. The event features Jamaaladeen Tacuma
and his band, soul-singer Lady Alma as well as rapper, singer and songwriter Hezekiah.
An event titled “The Ultimate Supa Sisters!” featuring Ursula Rucker, Sonia Sanchez and Jessica Care Moore will be held July 14 at 8 p.m. at AAMP.
Other events include a Philadanco performance at 7 p.m. July 28 at the Dell Music Center, 2400 Strawberry Mansion Drive, and a theatrical production at 8 p.m. Aug. 11 at New Freedom Theatre, 1346 N Broad St. The production explores major Black Arts Movement headlines connected to Philadelphia’s Broad Street.
PhilAesthetic has received a $75,000 grant from the PNC Arts Alive initiative and is supported
by the King Foundation and PECO.
“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing
new and exciting programs to our community,” Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey, said in a news release.
“The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced, while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances, “ Meterchick said.For ticket information, visit www.aampmuseum.org/philaesthetic or call (215) 574-0380.