Robin Bloom offers a selection of activities for Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend.
“We Speak: Black Artists of Philadelphia, 1920s-1970s” at Woodmere Art Museum
Woodmere Art Museum continues its mission to tell the stories of the art and artists of Philadelphia with We Speak: Black Artists of Philadelphia, 1920s-1970s. The exhibit features over 70 paintings, photographs, sculptures, and prints produced by black artists living and working in Philadelphia during the roughly 50 year period and examines a series of relationships in the arts, while considering how artists supported each other and mentored subsequent generations. Also considered is how different institutions and organizations in Philadelphia either provided a platform for black artists to advance their careers, or fell short doing so. Artists featured include Laura Wheeler Waring, Charles Searles, Moe Brooker, and many more, through January 24. An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition along with related programming and events including a Martin Luther King, Jr. Festival on Monday, January 18, noon-4pm, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Pictured: Barbara Bullock, Dark Gods.
“The Piano Lesson” at McCarter Theatre
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson takes to the stage at McCarter Theatre Center. The Pulitzer Prize winning show marks McCarter’s fourth production of the American playwright’s ten-play American Century Cycle, depicting the struggle between a family’s enduring legacy and its chance for a brighter future. Jade King Carroll makes her directorial debut. Cast includes Shannon Janee Antalan, John Earl Jelks, Frances Brown, Marcus Callender, Cleavant Derricks, Miriam A. Hyman, Owiso Odera, and David Pegram, through February 7, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ. Related programs and events include a Dialogue on Drama post-show discussion with the director on January 17 as well as post-show discussions, pride night, open and audio described captioning. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.
Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin!
Celebrate what would be the 310th birthday of Benjamin Franklin with events this weekend in the Historic District. At the Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th and Chestnut Streets, enjoy Ben Franklin in 3D at the Liberty 360 3D Show in the PECO Theater, featuring an appearance by Dr. Franklin, storytelling, crafts, and many more activities including a special Benjamin Franklin Tippler’s Tour, January 15-16, 22-23. Photo by Jeff Fusco for HPI. The Benjamin Franklin Museum offers free admission on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 18, at Franklin Court, between 3rd and 4th Streets off of Market or Chestnut.
Invention Convention at Hagley
Hagley Museum and Library inspires innovation and creativity with the annual Invention Convention, January 16-18. This year’s theme is robots and how they work. Enjoy demonstrations, hands-on engineering challenges, and in-person conversations with professionals who use robots in their daily work. Also, the usual fun, hands-on activities include tinkering tables, Create an Invention, a science fair, experiments, and more, Buck Road East entrance off Route 100 in Wilmington, DE. Photo courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library.
“Once” at the Academy of Music
The Broadway tour of Once arrives in Philadelphia this weekend with five performances, January 15-17. Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical, the musicians play their own instruments onstage, telling the tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs, Academy of Music, Broad Street, Philadelphia.
Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend events
The 21st annual Martin Luther King Day of Service
Philadelphia honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 21st annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, this Monday, January 18. The event, run by Global Citizen, is the oldest, largest, and most expansive volunteer community service effort of its type in the country with more than 140,000 volunteers participating in approximately 1800 community service projects across the region. This year’s theme is justice – racial, economic, environmental, and criminal – and the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Mayor Jim Kenney, Governor Tom Wolf, Senator Bob Casey, and former Senator Harris Wofford will lead volunteers at the Girard College signature project, sorting and packing new and gently used business attire. Find a project near you. Pictured: Former Mayor Michael Nutter volunteers at a Martin Luther King Day of Service. Photo by Colin M. Lenton, courtesy of the Points of Light Institute.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 26th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert is Monday, January 18, 1:30pm, Girard College Chapel, 2101 S. College Avenue, Philadelphia. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a program of Beethoven, Barber, and more, including Hannibal’s “Work Song” from One Land, One River, One People, commissioned by the Fabulous Philadelphians. Guests include violinist Adé Williams, storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston reciting King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and Dorina Morrow directing choirs from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Concert is free, tickets required. Concert is 90 minutes with no intermission.
Eastern State Penitentiary hosts readings of one of the most influential letters written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the margins of a newspaper and smuggled out of Birmingham Jail, Saturday, January 16 through Monday, January 18, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm each day. Free and open to the public with tickets required. Children ages 7-12 can create art with Art Sanctuary in response to themes found in the letter, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia.
The Franklin Institute celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 18, 10am-4:45pm, with the “I Have a Dream” broadcast hourly, hands-on arts and crafts and more, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosts a MLK Weekend Celebration, January 15-18, with inspirational and family-friendly activities for the whole family including walking tours with the Mural Arts Program, and the opportunity to explore the exhibit, Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876, 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
The National Constitution Center hosts a celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18 with service projects, live performances by “Two of a Kind,” a reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech, crafts, and more, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
The National Museum of American Jewish History celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18, 10am-5pm, featuring performances by the Sister Cities Girl Choir and Drummers with Attitude, screenings of From Swastika to Jim Crow (2000), open-mic poetry slam in partnership with Moonstone Arts Center and more. Free and open to the public. Bring books to donate to Right Books Campaign, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History presents MLK Day: Scientists Make A Difference, Monday, January 18, 9:30am-4:30pm, with hands-on crafts and activities that highlight scientific contributions to natural history from scientists all around the world. Send the kids to the Martin Luther King Day Camp, January 18, 9am-4pm with activities for kids ages 5-10, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE.
The Arts Council of Princeton celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with family-friendly activities, visits from historical characters, live music, and a mock-voting booth at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts on Monday, January 18, 3:45pm-5pm, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ. Free.
Michener Art Museum’s MLK Day of Service event takes place Sunday, January 17, 1pm-3pm, with an art workshop. Learn about the Maasai people living in Kenya, write a letter to a “pen pal,” and more, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, PA.
Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.
To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at email@example.com.