Penn Museum Presents an Evening to Imagine Africa
A Free Community Night of Music, Dance, and Art, Wednesday, May 23
As Part of Ongoing Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum Gallery Project
PHILADELPHIA, PA—Penn Museum hosts a celebration of African and African-American culture with a Free Community Night, Wednesday, May 23 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. The evening features dynamic percussion by the West Powelton Steppers Drill Team, electrifying moves by line dance instructor Kenny J, and the spoken word poetry of the Philly Youth Poetry Movement, as well as a comic book workshop with members of the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell joins Penn Museum in presenting this event, in conjunction with the ongoing Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum gallery project.
An evening of high-energy music and dance is in store for visitors, beginning with a performance by the West Powelton Steppers Drill Team. This West Philadelphia group, known for its thunderous rhythms and intricate footwork, presents a booming set of drumbeats for visitors’ foot-tapping enjoyment. The spirited team of drummers uses its music and percussion to instill discipline, teamwork and self-respect in its members.
Expert R&B line dance instructor Kenny J brings the crowd to its feet with an adrenaline-fueled array of funky moves and sidesteps. A retired Army drill sergeant, Kenny J lights up the room with fun, synchronized dance that demands audience participation.
Writers from the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, ages 13-19, present readings of their own original poetry. This group of local poets took home top honors at last year’s Brave New Voices poetry slam in San Francisco, the longest-running ongoing spoken word event in the world. Members of the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention join the event with an interactive comic book workshop for all ages, sharing insights and advice about drawing, coloring, storytelling, and more.
During the community night, guests can learn information about the 37th Annual ODUNDE Festival, coming June 10. This annual street festival draws up to a half million people with an eclectic mix of vendors, music and entertainment. And throughout the evening, children and families can create their own Mancala board at a craft station to take home.
Guests can explore the Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum gallery project throughout the evening. With Imagine Africa, the Penn Museum has drawn upon its extraordinary African collection to present more than 50 objects framed around eight broad topics, from “Beauty” and “Strength,” to “Healing,” “Creating,” and “The Divine.” Through a variety of engagement opportunities, visitors are asked to provide feedback on the objects and content they see, and to discuss what would make an engaging exhibition—from their point of view.
Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum is made possible with funding from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program, and the PoGo Family Foundation.
Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 12, 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Wednesday, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered select Wednesdays. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $12 for adults; $10 for senior citizens (65 and above); $8 children (6 to 17) and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger; "pay-what-you-want" the last hour before closing. Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop and Pyramid Shop for Children offer a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at www.penn.museum. For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.
Photo captions (top to bottom): Expert R&B line dance instructor Kenny J lights up the room with fun, synchronized dance at Penn Museum’s Imagine Africa Free Community Night, Wednesday, May 23 (photo courtesy Kenny J); Writers from the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement present readings of their own original poetry at Penn Museum’s Imagine Africa Free Community Night, Wednesday, May 23 (photo courtesy Philly Youth Poetry Movement); Visitors take part in an interactive comic bork workshop at Penn Museum’s Imagine Africa Free Community Night, Wednesday, May 23 (photo: Penn Museum).