Art-Reach Announces Recipients of the 2015 Commitment to Cultural Access Awards

On March 28, 2015, Art-Reach will honor Main Line Art Center and People’s Light

Art-Reach, a Philadelphia-based arts accessibility non-profit, announced today the recipients of the 2015 Commitment to Cultural Access Awards. Each year, Art-Reach honors organizations or individuals in Greater Philadelphia who are doing extraordinary work in alignment with their mission to make the arts more accessible to all. The Awards will be presented at Main Line Art Center in Haverford, Pennsylvania, on Saturday March 28, to celebrate the honorees and raise funds for Art-Reach’s ongoing programs that connect underserved individuals to the arts.

The 2015 Commitment to Cultural Access honorees are: Main Line Art Center, whose exceptional arts education programs have embraced individuals who have a disability and encouraged self-expression through art for 75 years, making them a pioneer of such programs in the region; and People’s Light, whose enthusiasm for integrating accessible approaches into their work – including this year, a special sensory-friendly production – has strengthened their commitment to patrons who have disabilities and built a welcoming, judgment-free and inclusive community.

“We are so honored to receive this Commitment to Cultural Access Award from Art-Reach as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our life-transforming Accessible Art Programs for children and adults with disabilities,” says Amie Potsic, Executive Director, Main Line Art Center.  It is especially meaningful to be recognized for these programs because it is also a testament to the teaching artists, volunteers, and supportive partner organizations who share our commitment to arts accessibility and fulfill our mission of Art for Everyone.”

Both honorees will be recognized at the 2015 Commitment to Cultural Access Awards Celebration, held on Saturday March 28, at Main Line Art Center from 5:30pm-8:30pm. An anticipated 200 guests will be in attendance, and proceeds from the event will generate approximately 10% of Art-Reach’s annual operating budget, allowing them to provide arts and cultural experiences to over 17,000 individuals of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, every year. For tickets and more information about the Awards, visit www.art-reach.org.

Of this award, Marcie Bramucci, Director of Community Investment at People’s Light, said, “We are deeply appreciative. Our first sensory friendly performance, offered earlier this year, was a manifestation of values that People’s Light committed to long ago.  This meaningful honor from Art-Reach will allow a platform for greater visibility around this kind of work both to the special needs community and others in the field, and will help support our current efforts around inclusivity and accessibility as well as our future aspirations.”

Art-Reach Executive Director John Orr expressed his enthusiasm about the 2015 recipients, saying, “We look forward to celebrating the many accomplishments of these two worthy honorees. Both organizations have been dedicated to making their programs accessible for many years. Thanks to them, the art and culture of our region is readily available to all members of our community – and they are building inclusive communities that welcome a wider audience to engage in vibrant art experiences.”

About Art Reach: Art-Reach is a Philadelphia-based non-profit established in 1986 to make the arts of our region more accessible to people that lack access to our cultural organizations because of a disability, economic disadvantage, or other adversity.  Through ticketed live arts events, on-site workshops, and a variety of services, Art-Reach empowers over 17,000 traditionally under-served individuals, of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to creatively participate in their communities, every year. For tickets and more information about the Awards, visit www.art-reach.org.

About Main Line Art Center: Main Line Art Center in Haverford, PA, is our community’s home to create, experience, and discover the value of visual art.  From award-winning visual art classes, to contemporary and innovative exhibitions, you can count on quality and expect the unexpected at Main Line Art Center.  The mission of Main Line Art Center is to inspire and engage artistic creativity for all ages and abilities and to celebrate and strengthen the essential role of visual art in community life.  Committed to arts accessibility, Main Line Art Center’s Accessible Art Programs for children and adults with disabilities, at-risk youth, and low income families have transformed the lives of thousands of people in their 51 year history.  Last year over 16,000 people were a part of the Art Center’s creative community, and over 80,000 were impacted through the Center’s exhibitions in the community and participation in festivals across the Philadelphia area. For more information about Main Line Art Center, visit www.mainlineart.org or call 610.525.0272.

About People’s Light:

People’s Light, a professional, not-for-profit theatre founded in Chester County, Pennsylvania, makes plays drawn from many sources to entertain, inspire, and engage their community. They extend their mission of making and experiencing theatre through arts education programs that excite curiosity about, and deepen understanding of, the world around us. These plays and programs bring people together and provide opportunities for reflection, discovery, and celebration. Founded in 1974, People’s Light produces seven to nine plays each season, in two black box theatres with 350 and 170 seats respectively, mixing world premieres, contemporary plays, and fresh approaches to classic texts for our 7-play and Discovery Series. People’s Light is committed to making their work as accessible as possible, especially to those who may traditionally experience barriers to access.  Programs include: Community and Access discounted ticket performances; state-of-the-arts assisted listening system; all-access evenings that include audio transcription, sensory tours, open captioning, and ASL translation. Resident artists with People’s Light also design and teach in-school residencies, including a twelve-year partnership with the Pathway School in Norristown to serve students with complex learning disabilities, neurological impairment, and a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders; and an on-going partnership with General Wayne Elementary School to provide residencies for engage students with ADHD, autism, cognitive disabilities, and low hearing and/or vision. For more information about People’s Light, visit www.peopleslight.org.

Yale Russian Chorus Alumni Will Perform

Rarely Heard Russian Choral Repertoire in Concert on

April 18 at St. Mary’s Episcopal, Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA—More than 40 singers of the Yale Russian Chorus Alumni, the oldest continuously performing Russian choral group in the Americas, will perform in concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Hamilton Village, 3916 Locust Walk, in the University City area of Philadelphia.

The public is cordially invited. Admission is $15 for adults at the door, $10 for students, with a maximum of $30 per family.

The full-length concert will comprise a wide range of traditional Russian folk, liturgical, and composed songs, under the direction of co-conductors Brock Holmes and Bruce Lieberman. The assistance of St. Mary’s and that of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Pennsylvania is gratefully acknowledged.

Hear Authentic Performances of Rarely Sung Repertoire by a

Male Chorus Steeped in Slavic Musical Traditions

Much of this Russian and Eastern European male choral repertoire is seldom performed in America. The concert offers a rare opportunity to hear top-quality singers who have mastered the musical and cultural dimensions of Orthodox liturgical and Slavic folk music. The Yale Russian Chorus Alumni perform a cappella, unaccompanied by musical instruments. The chorus’s combined vocal range spans four octaves, from the highest notes of the first tenors to the lowest basso profundo notes of rumbling basses who sing an octave below typical bass voices. These low bass singers, known as “oktavisty” in Russian, are an unforgettable phenomenon of Russian choral music.

Background of the Yale Russian Chorus

The Yale Russian Chorus Alumni include singers and conductors from many different eras. The group’s age range is as wide as its vocal range, from recent Yale graduates to some who have performed since its 1953 establishment by founding conductor Denis Mickiewicz. The Chorus most recently performed in November 2014 at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, Massachusetts. In 2013, more than 130 Yale Russian Chorus Alumni sang a gala concert in Yale’s Woolsey Hall to mark the group’s 60th anniversary, under the joint direction of several former conductors. An October 2015 joint concert in Boston will include the Yale Russian Chorus Alumni and its West Coast offshoot, Slavyanka, based in San Francisco.

The Yale Russian Chorus was founded in 1953 during the height of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR, and the group continues today its mission to bridge cultural differences among diverse peoples through the medium of music. The Chorus has made 16 tours of the USSR and Eastern Europe, won international choral competitions, released 18 recordings and CDs, serenaded Presidents Clinton of the United States, de Gaulle of France, and Gorbachev and Yeltsin of Russia, and performed in the world’s leading concert halls.

Yale Russian Chorus Alumni Repertoire

Liturgical and Composed Songs. Centuries of Russian musical tradition are embodied in the liturgical music the Yale Russian Chorus Alumni perform. The text settings of many of the songs will be familiar to Western audiences. Among liturgical pieces the group performs are settings of:

  • “Blessed Is the Man [Blazhen muzh],” based on centuries-old versions of Psalms 1 and 2 that originated in the Kievo-Pechersky Monastery at Kiev, the cradle of Russian Orthodoxy;
  • an antiphonal version of “Bless the Lord, O My Soul [Blagoslovi dushe moya, Gospoda],” based on Greek chants;
  • “The Lord’s Prayer [Otche nash],” a beloved arrangement by N. Kedrov; and
  • the soaring “Praise the Name of the Lord [Khvalit’e imya Gospodn’e]” and the anguished “With My Voice I Cried Out to the Lord [Glasom moyim ko Gospodu vozzvakh],” both set by A. Arkhangelsky.
  • A Slavonic setting of the Latin “Te Deum Laudamus” (“We Praise Thee, O Lord” [Teb’e Boga khval’im]) by Ukrainian-born composer Dmitry Bortniansky figures prominently in the group’s repertoire.

Non-Liturgical Composed Songs include:

  • an elegant three-part setting of “The Little Golden Cloud [Nochevala tuchka zolotaya]” by N. Rimsky-Korsakov, from the poem by M. Lermontov; and
  • the stirring “Borodino,” a soldiers’ march-song commemorating the defeat of Napoleon’s invading army in the town of Borodino, near Moscow, in 1812. Lermontov may have been the poet and composer for this song.
  • “It Is Not the Wind [To n’e v’et’er or Luchina],” a lament about lost love from the popular “romances [romansy]” genre, and “The Snowstorm [M’et’el’itsa],” portraying a young man pursuing his love through swirling snow, were both set by renowned tenor-composer A. Varlamov.

Folk-Song Repertoire. Folk songs abound in the YRCA repertoire—Russian, Latvian, Bulgarian, Georgian, and others. On the first trip by the Yale Russian Chorus to Russia in 1958, the young Yale students interested in Russian music and culture would gather on a town square or street corner, singing American spirituals from the Yale Songbook. Songs such as “Steal Away” and “I’m Gonna Ride the Chariot” would draw crowds of eager Russian listeners before the choristers burst into rousing Russian renditions of “Kalinka” or “Va kuznits’e [At the Smithy],” to the delight and astonishment of those present.

  • The flirtatious love song “Kalinka” is among the most instantly recognizable Russian folk songs, a minor-key tune set against ever-faster rhythms.
  • A song about a Russian bargehauler, “O You Wide Steppe [Akh ty, st’ep]” portrays the bleak, limitless Russian steppe and the “burlak” who longs to break his chains and soar like an eagle.
  • “On the Seas [Po moryam],” a humorous traditional Russian dance tune, is part sea chanty, part love song.
  • The Macedonian song “Don’t Sit There, Djemo [Ne sedi Djemo],” tells of lazy Djemo’s sister, who has been abducted by Turks.
  • In “Oh, on the Hill [Oi, na hori],” Ukrainian Cossacks pledge to defend their village from the enemy.
  • The “Lezgi Dance [Lezginka]” is a warlike song from native Muslim areas of Central Asia, originally performed by the Don Cossack Choir under Serge Jaroff, transcribed for the YRCA by our co-conductor Bruce Lieberman.
  • “The Legend of the Twelve Brigands [Zhilo dv’enatsat’ razboin’ikov],” based on N. Nekrasov’s poem, narrates the redemption of robber-brigand Kudear, who pillaged and murdered innocent Christians with his band of marauders. One day God awoke his conscience; he entered a monastery “to serve God and man.”

More Information

YouTube Songs: Performances on YouTube include “Kas tie tadi” in Latvian (“Who are they who sing at sunset? They are orphans, servants of a cruel master”), “O You Wide Steppe [Akh ty, st’ep]” “Borodino,” “Oh, the Maiden’s Heart [Akh, ty s’erdtse],” “Blessed Is the Man [Blazhen muzh],” and “The Legend of the Twelve Brigands [Zhilo dv’enatsat’ razboin’ikov].”

YouTube History: Video trailer for KHORISTORIA: Story of the Yale Russian Chorus, documentary by Catherine Mattingly.

Web: www.yrcalums.org

CD: CD recordings will be available for sale at the concert

Tangle presents a dynamic, all-new

circus theater cabaret: Tell It Slant

Tangle Movement Arts presents Tell It Slant, an all-new feminist circus cabaret from Philadelphia’s innovative aerial artists. Tangle’s nine-woman cast mixes traditional circus arts, like trapeze and acrobatics, with dance, theater, and spoken word, to explore female strength, identity, and relationships between women.

In Tell It Slant, seven women dance up and down a rope at a crowded party packed with friendship and drama. A dreamer finds herself in an intimate duet with aerial silks. Two best friends toss each other into the air. And a jilted woman flies on trapeze to exact her sassy revenge on the world. Tangle’s acrobats explore wide-ranging relationships between women in Tell It Slants dynamic circus-theater, delivering Tangle’s characteristic “unexpected visual elements and fearless personal narrative” (Edge Philadelphia).

“Our goal in Tell It Slant is to highlight diverse examples of female strength, and connections between women—portraying relationships that range from friendship to love, and support to antagonism,” says Tangle founder Lauren Rile Smith. “From intricate solos to dynamic duets, Tell It Slant highlights the friendships and dramas in our interconnected communities. Tangle’s acrobatic partnering dramatically depicts the ways in which people can be supported, lifted high, brought low— or left hanging.”

Joining Tell It Slant as guest artists are Megan Gendell and Lauren Feldman, internationally performing duo trapeze artists from the celebrated New England Center for Circus Arts. They debut a dramatic new act which explores trust and freedom between two people in dynamic motion. Set design is contributed by artist Julia Wilson, whose fiber art sculptures transform the theater of Christ Church Neighborhood House.

Tangle Movement Arts is a circus arts company with an interdisciplinary focus, whose work integrates traditional circus like aerial acrobatics and tumbling with dance, theater, and live music to tell a multi-dimensional story. Tangle’s work reflects individuals of diverse identities, with an emphasis on queer and female experiences, and is devised collaboratively by its all-female ensemble. Philadelphia City Paper says, “Tangle Movement Arts has a record of quality-yet-accessible shows—simultaneously lovely and exhilarating.” Tangle is based in Philadelphia and has been a Philly FringeArts Festival favorite since its inception in 2011.

Tell It Slant premieres at Christ Church Neighborhood House (20 N. American Street) on Thursday March 12th (8pm), Friday March 13th (8pm), and Saturday March 14th (3pm and 8pm). Tickets ($15-20) are available via www.tangle-arts.com.

LISTINGS INFORMATION:

What: Tangle presents Tell It Slant—a feminist circus-theater cabaret.

When: Thursday, March 12 at 8pm, Friday, March 13 at 8pm, Saturday, March 14 at 3pm and 8pm.

Where: Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N American St, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Tickets: $15-20 (discounts for artists, students, seniors, and groups). Purchase at the door or online at tangle-arts.com. Contact info@tangle-arts.com for discount information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact Lauren Rile Smith at 215-266-6215 or info@tangle-arts.com, or visit www.tangle-arts.com.

For tinycircus, a free trapeze and acrobatics performance series in public locations: contact Lauren Rile Smith (info@tangle-arts.com, 215-266-6215) for upcoming dates. Next tinycircus is Saturday, April 25 at the Go West! Craft Fest at the Woodlands Estate in West Philadelphia (4000 Woodland Avenue).

Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano

February 16–May 10, 2015

Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting the first major exhibition outside Japan to be dedicated to the Kano painters, the most enduring and influential school of Japanese painting. Established in the 15th century, the Kano created and upheld standards of artistic excellence in Japan for nearly four hundred years. It developed against the backdrop of one of the greatest periods in Japanese history. Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano focuses on the artistic dynasty’s leading figures and is drawn largely from Japanese imperial, national, and private collections, including those of such celebrated cultural landmarks as Nijō-jō and Nagoya castles. The exhibition features rare and magnificent works—many distinguished by their stunning use of gold leaf—that are considered treasures in Japan for their high cultural importance and rarity. The exhibition is presented only in Philadelphia.

The Kano School was significant both for its longevity and for the achievements of some its most illustrious members, such as its founder, Kano Masanobu (1434–1530), and Kano Tan’yū (1602–1674). It also became an academy, with rigorous training in workshops that fostered the development and preservation of painting traditions. The Kano School arose and then prospered under unique circumstances, first in Kyoto and then in Edo (present-day Tokyo), with the patronage of Japan’s military and political elite. With the waning of the power of the shoguns and the opening of Japan to cultural influences from abroad in the late nineteenth century, the preeminent role of the Kano School in Japanese art came to an end.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO, said: “Ink and Gold is a much anticipated milestone, both for this Museum and for the study of a significant chapter in the history of Japanese art. This is the most important exhibition of Japanese art that Americans will see in a very long time, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience some of Japan’s greatest artistic achievements. The exhibition will be a revelation and a delight to our visitors.”

Included are works spanning the entire history of the School. The story begins with the exceptionally rare paintings of Masanobu, who specialized in ink landscapes distinctive for their craggy hills and distant vistas inspired by China, which deeply informed Japanese culture. Among these is a National Treasure, a hanging scroll depicting a famous scholar admiring lotuses in a mist-filled scene. Sets of folding fans made for privileged women or visiting emissaries are also on view. Panoramas of farming across the seasons abound in the exhibition, reflecting an enduring theme based on Confucian ideas that prosperous agriculture results from good government.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are works by Tan’yū. A contemporary of Rembrandt van Rijn, he is among the most admired of all Japanese artists, and was the first Kano painter ordered by the military to open a studio in Edo. His work reflects a striking range of accomplishments. His ink landscapes and scenes of waves breaking in vast seas are rendered with a virtuoso brush. Traveling between Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo), Tan’yū frequently passed Mount Fuji. He was the first to paint it in a horizontal hanging scroll format, establishing the now familiar convention through which the mountain became a national symbol for the country.

Many of the most dazzling works in the exhibition are the large-scale folding screens and sliding doors designed for the residences of Japan’s elite in the 16th and 17th centuries, with oversized figures and landscapes. These include Tan’yū’s Eagle and Pine Tree (Nijō-jō Castle), Wasteful Payment for an Observation Tower (Nagoya Castle), and scenes of tigers prowling amid bamboo and images from The Tale of Genji.

While Tan’yū served the elites of both Kyoto and Edo, artists such as Eigaku (1790–1867) remained close to the culture of Kyoto, rendering courtly subjects on folding screens celebrating music, dance, and poetry, and exulting in nature with paintings of trees and exotic birds. Other Kano artists were also closely associated with Edo. Seisen’in Osanobu (1796–1846) created an elaborate decorative scheme for Edo Castle and other images ranging from Mount Fuji to falconry. His work for the castle was ultimately destroyed by fire, but it is represented in the exhibition through rare surviving sketches.

Dr. Felice Fischer, the Museum’s Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Senior Curator of East Asian Art, stated: “Our fascination with the Kano actually began with artists who were active in the final years of this remarkable dynasty. We wanted to explore their roots. We had done exhibitions that looked at the rebels and the renegades. As we now turn our attention to the academy, I am sure it will open people’s eyes.”

Curators

The exhibition is organized by Felice Fischer, the Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Senior Curator of East Asian Art, and Kyoko Kinoshita, Project Associate Curator.

Location

Dorrance Galleries, first floor

Catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, co-published by Yale University press and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Support

This exhibition is made possible by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba International Foundation, The Japan Foundation, Blakemore Foundation, The Hollis Endowment for East Asian Art Educational Programming, and The Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions. Additional generous support has been provided by Maxine S. and Howard H. Lewis, Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer and Joseph Neubauer, Steve and Gretchen Burke, Joan and John Thalheimer, the Estate of J. Welles Henderson, Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, Andrea M. Baldeck, M.D., Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, Sueyun and Gene Locks, and Cecilia Segawa Seigle Tannenbaum, and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The accompanying publication was supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and co-organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan with the special co-operation of the Tokyo National Museum. International transportation is sponsored by Japan Airlines.

Promotional support is provided by H MART.

The last exhibition to be devoted to the entire history of the Kano School was seen in 1979 in Tokyo. In Philadelphia, due to their light sensitivity, the works in Ink and Gold will be presented in three rotations, offering multiple opportunities to experience the full depth, scope, and variety of the Kano painters’ remarkable achievements.

Note to Editors:

The Kano School of Painting

What had begun as a family studio in Kyoto became a thriving guild by 1615, a time when powerful shoguns, military leaders arising from an array of warring regional states, unified the nation of Japan. Patronized by the military government and ruling class, each generation of Kano artists copiously passed its artistic secrets to the next. Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, which officially established its seat in Edo, Kano artists adorned public halls with glittering scenes evocative of power and authority. They would fill leaders’ private spaces with intimate contemplative scenes, masterfully brushed in ink, to convey an aura of cultivation. The Kano School prospered until the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867.

Kano Paintings in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The late Kano works in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art reflect a fusing of traditional elements with Western influences that followed the arrival in Japan of Commodore Perry in 1853. These works were bequeathed to the Museum by Mrs. Moncure Biddle, daughter of the American artist and educator Ernest Fenollosa (1853–1908), whose twelve-year stay in Japan dramatically changed the way Westerners and Japanese alike thought about Japanese art. He became a friend of the Kano painter Hōgai, acquiring his painting Two Dragons [in Clouds]. Their friendship contributed to a final flowering of the Kano school before it faded during the Meiji Restoration.

Admission:

Ink and Gold: The Art of the Kano is free with Museum admission. The rotation schedule is February 16-March 15; March 18- April 12; April 15-May 10, 2015. Visitors who wish to experience all three rotations may purchase a $25 ticket providing three-day admission upon presentation of the ticket stub. For information, call: 215-235-SHOW (7469).

Exhibition hours

Tuesday through Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays until 8:45 p.m.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

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For additional press information contact the press office at pressroom@philamuseum.org or 215-684-7860. For general information, call 215-763-8100 or visit philamuseum.org.

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