The summer season of Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art—from July 3 through September 25, 2002—will bring to the Great Stair Hall a wide range of performances and activities, including a remarkable mix of international music. The season features sounds from the streets of Naples and the Celtic isles to the songs of roving gypsies, as well as a stimulating lineup of dance, film, gallery talks, and cuisine for every taste.
Every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. until 8:45 p.m., visitors can enjoy the galleries enhanced by music and dance, all for the price of Museum admission. Gallery talks by curators and educators spotlight the exhibitions and collections. Films are screened monthly in the Van Pelt Auditorium. Of particular note this summer is the night of August 21, themed to celebrate Indivisible: Stories of American Community (August 10 – October 6), the touring exhibition that opens a window on the strength and inspiration of 12 communities around the country, including Philadelphia’s Village of Arts and Humanities. The evening features a performance by Stephen Wade, a musician, researcher, recording artist, and writer best known for Banjo Dancing, one of the longest running off-Broadway shows in the United States (Van Pelt Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.), and a gallery talk by Tom Rankin, one of the exhibition organizers and Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.).
A highlight of the summer season is the variety of international music favorites that will perform in the Great Stair Hall. Among them, the Parisian sextet Les Yeux Noirs introduces an American audience to the energy and passion of gypsy music (July 17); The Yuri Yunakov Ensemble plays fast, eclectic, wedding music of the Balkan countries (July 31); Battlefield Band—wildly successful for thirty years in its native Scotland—performs both new songs and Celtic arrangements (August 7); Philly Folk Fest Preview offers Fruit, voted 2001 Best New Pop Rock Band in Australia (August 14); the Southern Italian quintet Spaccanapoli expresses the exuberance of working people through pulsating music and dance (September 18); and the seven musicians of Havana, Cuba’s Trajé Nuevo suitably dress up traditional Cuban music in a new style (September 25).
Dance troupes add to the Wednesday Nights excitement in the Great Stair Hall. Included in the summer season is The International Ballet Theatre of the Performing Arts, featuring Alexander Boitsov who has performed leading roles in such prestigious ballets as Don Quixote, Swan Lake, and Giselle (July 10). Donning colorful handmade costumes, the Ivan Dimitrov Dance Ensemble demonstrates the complex rhythms of traditional and modern dance from various regions of Bulgaria (July 31).
Once a month this season, Wednesday Nights includes a film in the Van Pelt Auditorium at 7:10 p.m. In Norma Rae, Sally Field won her first Oscar as a young Southern single mother and textile worker who agrees to help unionize a mill despite the problems and dangers involved (July 31). The dark and edgy comedy Go chronicles a wild evening in a Los Angeles suburb featuring a weary grocery check-out girl, a drug dealer, and two soap opera stars (August 28). Before Night Falls takes an episodic look at the tumultuous experiences of celebrated Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, based on the fiery memoir of the same name (September 25).
Gallery talks, offered at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., focus on aspects of the Museum’s exhibitions and collections, and offer an intimate opportunity for visitors to engage firsthand with art specialists. Among the gallery talks this season are Zips and Drips: Abstract Expressionism with Melissa Kerr, Exhibition Research Assistant, Modern and Contemporary Art (July 31) and A Look Beneath the Surface of Early Italian Paintings with Museum painting conservators (September 18). General tours of the Museum are also offered by skilled guides throughout the evening.
Creative cuisine complementing each evening’s theme is available for purchase in the Great Stair Hall. The menu serves such delights as brown sugar roast salmon, dill new potatoes, and green beans (August 7) and Cuban roast pork and black beans and rice (September 25). Seated dinners are also available in the Museum Restaurant with a last reservation at 7:30 p.m.
Please note: In recognition of the September 11th anniversary, no performances are planned that evening but the Museum will remain open—free of charge—until 8:45 p.m.