Revving up for September at Woodmere

by William Valerio
Posted 9/2/20

Every September, the pace of activity at Woodmere accelerates and this year is no exception. But the new normal of our challenging times means that we have to think of all activity in three …

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Revving up for September at Woodmere

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Every September, the pace of activity at Woodmere accelerates and this year is no exception. But the new normal of our challenging times means that we have to think of all activity in three categories: in the galleries (one-on-one experiences with art in quiet, reduced-capacity spaces), online (subject to the pros and cons of Zoom, but reaching vast new audiences), and on the grounds (green and beautiful, but at the mercy of the weather).

In the galleries, Africa in the Arts of Philadelphia will close on Monday, September 7 (Labor Day); the museum will be open and admission will be free that day. We hope to fill all our advance ticket timeslots to celebrate this wonderful exhibition, which explores the work of three artists who explored the patterns, colors, and subjects of African art—and the heritage it represents. Our Afrocentric Jazz and Fashion Show, organized by our constant partner in music, Warren Oree, will take place on Saturday, September 5 (purchase tickets here). Africa-inspired jazz and fashion go hand-in-hand and vendors will be selling clothing and jewelry. Online, Woodmere docent Bonnie Brown will lead the final virtual tour of the exhibition on Wednesday, September 2 (register here).

Many of Woodmere’s educational programs have moved online, and there’s a great deal to engage visitors on Zoom. A gallery tour of Gilbert Lewis: Many Figures, Many Faces is being offered on September 17 by Aaron Feltman, a young artist who has long found inspiration in Lewis’s watercolor and gouaches. Our next major exhibition, Sam Feinstein, Group ’55, and Midcentury Abstraction in Philadelphia has its Zoom opening on Thursday, September 24; you can (register here). Organized in collaboration with Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, the show explores midcentury abstract painting in Philadelphia and a group of artists who exhibited together under the name Group ’55. Companion exhibitions will take place at the museum and the school exploring earlier and later work by Feinstein, who was Group ‘55’s leading voice and organizer and, with his wife Barbara Crawford, an instructor at the school. Woodmere’s collaboration with ARTZ to provide programs for individuals with dementia and their caregivers are powerfully meaningful, especially in these times. You can learn more about ARTZ here.

Much is also happening on our grounds. The Woodmere-Mica adventure in outdoor dining will continue as a delicious aesthetic experience on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings through the fall (weather permitting). You can register on Woodmere or Mica’s websites here. Art and Storytelling, for children ages three to five, is moving outside, with social distancing protocols in place. Families and children will engage with an outdoor sculpture, read a related picture book, and make an art project. Learn more here. And finally, Woodmere’s jazz program will be reborn on four consecutive Saturday evenings, in two sets, at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., starting on September 19. Don’t miss our tributes to Linda Ronstadt, Lee Morgan and Horace Silver, Duke and Ella, and of course (a Woodmere favorite) Motown Meets Jazz. All performances will have socially distance seating and are limited to 50 individuals. Make your reservations here.

In my article next week: Woodmere’s annual straw maze gets a makeover and will be transformed this year into a “straw journey.” We hope to please our youngest members!

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