December 2013

Exotic Mushrooms

Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski

This month Art of Food takes a trip outside the city to visit Woodland Jewel Mushrooms in Chester County. In this segment, we join the husband and wife team of Norman and Heather Fetter on their family farm in Spring City as they harvest gourmet mushrooms and raise their two young children. The Fetters specialize in mushrooms that take concentrated, time-consuming care and thus are unable to be produced by the large-scale Kennet Square mushroom farms. Besides cultivating quality mushrooms, Heather and Norman share their knowledge of the medicinal properties of mushrooms. The duo also take pride in having the second person who touches the mushrooms be the chef cooking them. Top Philadelphia chefs have embraced Woodland Jewel’s fresh, exotic but locally grown mushrooms. The mushrooms not only bring great flavor but also serve as beautiful ornamentation to their dishes.

Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster

Art of Life — Produced by Karen Smyles

Propaganda is used to mobilize people in times of war. Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster presents 33 posters, most targeting Africans and African-American civilians in times of war. These carefully designed works of art were aimed at mobilizing people of color in war efforts, even as they faced oppression and injustice in their homelands. Witness changing messages on race and politics through propaganda from the American Civil War to the African Independence movement in this innovative, world-premiere exhibition on display through March 2nd, 2014.

Tukufu Zuberi, the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, curates the exhibition, providing his perspective on more than 200 years of African and African American military history, told through his private collection of propaganda posters. Zuberi is also one of the hosts of the PBS series History Detectives.

Recently, Friday Arts spoke with, and toured the exhibit with Dr. Zuberi, to find out what makes this unique collection of works so special. We also talked with one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Eugene Richardson, who gaves his perspective on one of the posters featuring a Tuskegee Airman.

The Cusp of Things

Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly

James Turrell is an artist who works with light, both natural and artificial. His work is often hard to reproduce in photos and video in that he plays with the human perception of light, form and color. Couple that with the fact that many have reported something of a spiritual reaction to his work, and you might begin to understand why the Chestnut Hill Friends (Quakers for the uninitiated) welcomed the addition of one of his “SkySpaces” to the new meeting house they were building on Mermaid Lane.

A Quaker himself (he says his family were strict “Wiburites in that art and music were considered a vanity”), Turell is coming off major retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and LACMA in Los Angeles. FRIDAY ARTS sat down with Turrell, as well as members of the Chestnut Hill Friends congregation, to understand the how and the why of the inclusion of the SkySpace, and in the process, captured a man, place and group on the cusp of a new era.

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