Events

Exhibits

If These Walls Could Talk: The Bill and Miriam Crawford Dining Room

April 15, 2015 – April 15, 2025
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Bill Crawford began a habit of placing significant memorabilia—posters, handbills, clippings, announcements from campaigns and struggles—on the walls of the family dining room in the Parkside neighborhood of West Philadelphia. Eventually, the dining room was covered with more than 500 items: four walls collaged with 40 years of social change memorabilia. The walls of their dining room chronicle four decades of their political life, as well as four decades of Philadelphia movement history. Once PFP had its own home, the Crawford's dining room was moved here to be permanently re-installed, brought back home to West Philadelphia.

Past Events

Classes

Gamelan Gita Santi - Spring Semester 2022

March 1, 2022 – June 5, 2022
Philadelphia Praise Center
These classes are part of an initiative with South Philadelphia’s burgeoning Indonesian population. Our aim is to harness the practice of Balinese music, dance and narrative to encourage inter-ethnic community building and establish a sustainable local music performance group for traditional dance.
Demonstrations, Workshops

Interactive Balinese Experience: Music, Dance, and Ritual

Saturday, April 2, 2022 @ 11:00 am
Indonesian Community Center
Join us for an exciting lecture and interactive cultural presentation, led by Dr. Indra Sadguna & Ayu Desiari. We'll learn about the music and dance of Bali, their ritual elements, and how to make traditional offerings. These illustrative instructors teach and perform around the world, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and the United States.
Panels

Negotiating Cultural Appropriation: Lineage, Teaching, and Relationships

June 17, 2021 – August 5, 2021
Virtual Event
This project originated when teaching artists in Philadelphia contacted PFP with their concerns about cultural appropriation and misrepresentation. Rather than discuss cultural appropriation as a good/bad binary, we chose to enlist artists in dance and music from across the country to deliberate on salient issues regarding the politics of teaching, learning, sharing, and performing culture as insiders, outsiders, and diasporic cultural members. Some of whom are from the culture they teach about, others are not, and all of whom teach students with diverse cultural backgrounds. The resultant four-part virtual workshops were held by the Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP), and received financial support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the American Folklore Society, and Urban Artistry.
Panels, Screenings

The Ancestors Live: 50 Years of Kulu Mele

Sunday, February 14, 2021 @ 3:00 pm
Virtual Event
Join us for a special screening of the documentary, "The Ancestors Live: 50 Years of Kulu Mele." Established in Philadelphia in 1969 by Baba Robert Crowder, Kulu Mele is the fruit of many peoples’ dreams and is the nation’s longest-enduring African dance company. This nationally and internationally touring dance and drum ensemble preserves, presents, teaches, and embodies excellences in West African, Cuban and African Diasporic and African rooted traditions, including contemporary American hip hop. After the film, there will be a Q&A with group members, the film director, and the founder of the Philadelphia Folklore Project!
Exhibits

Iraqi Songs in Color

September 17, 2017 – December 17, 2017
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Iraqi painter Mayada Alhumssi uses brilliant colors and images to interpret Iraqi folk songs. Her paintings celebrate and revive her cultural traditions and preserve these songs for the next generation. This exhibition featured a collection of Mayada's most recent paintings, coupled with the folk song lyrics that inspired her work.
Fundraisers, Screenings

Movie Premiere/30th Birthday!

Saturday, April 15, 2017 @ 4:00 pm
International House
In Philadelphia, four Liberian women use their music to address injustice and inspire action for social change. Survivors of Liberia’s civil wars, they are accomplished, brilliant singers—mothers, refugees, immigrants, Africans—who haven’t stopped contributing positively to the world, no matter the obstacles. Because of the War documents the power of traditional songs to make meaningful connections between and among people, and to help re-build communities.
Exhibits

Tibetans in Philadelphia

April 11, 2016 – May 11, 2016
Philadelphia Folklore Project
This exhibit chronicled about a year in the life of the Tibetan community of Philadelphia. It offers a glimpse of their commitment to that community and to their culture: coming together annually to publicly call for Tibet’s autonomy and deliverance from oppression; celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday and Tibetan New Year through ritual and games; honoring ancestral traditions and the struggles of those in Tibet through the monthly practice of Lhakar and the weekly teaching and learning of Tibetan language, songs and dances at Tibetan Sunday School. It shares, too, how Tibetans, on a daily basis, pay respect to the Buddha and the Dalai Lama in the privacy of their homes.
Exhibits

Honoring Ancestors

November 7, 2013 – March 14, 2014
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Honoring Ancestors paid respect to generations of African American dancers and drummers who contributed to a revolution in cultural expression and consciousness that paved the way for today's vital and flourishing community of drummers and dancers of African-rooted rhythm and movement.
Exhibits

We Cannot Keep Silent

March 1, 2013 – March 31, 2013
Philadelphia Folklore Project
In December 2009, dozens of Asian immigrant students boycotted their high school and launched a civil rights campaign around a district's responsibility to provide a safe educational climate. Asian Americans United and partners curated an exhibit with PFP featuring voices from a campaign that sought educational justice in a school struggling with violence and racial discord. Featuring photographs by Harvey Finkle and Kathy Shimizu.
Exhibits

Under Autumn Moon

March 25, 2010 – April 25, 2010
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Joan May Cordova and Kathy Shimizu share photographs and block prints documenting the meanings of Chinatown's Mid-Autumn Festival, a vital celebration of culture and community. Initiated and produced by Asian Americans United (AAU) for 15 years, Mid-Autumn Festival has been a resource for sustaining this last remaining community of color in Philadelphia's center city, and for pushing back against predatory development schemes. Organized as part of a series of events celebrating AAU's 25th Anniversary.
Exhibits

Tatreez Exhibition

March 1, 2009 – April 1, 2009
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Making and sharing traditional needlework, stitching patterns belonging to villages that no longer exist, local Palestinian women artfully sustain heritage and community through the beauty that is tatreez. Nehad Khader curated this exhibition of the work of 7 local artists. To read exhibition texts and see a sample of images, keep reading.
Exhibits

What You Got to Say?

March 1, 2007 – April 1, 2007
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Politically active his whole life, Eric Joselyn is known among an extended community of activists as an invaluable resource. Rarely credited publicly, he is a prolific working artist who has been turning peoples' demands and dreams into eye-catching (and conscience-catching) physical and visual expressions for decades. Without recognizing it, you may well have seen his work displayed street-side: at local demonstrations for immigrants' rights, at antiwar protests, at street theater against racism. In this exhibition, you can become better acquainted with the man behind the art.
Exhibits

We Try To Be Strong

February 1, 2006 – March 1, 2006
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Hmong people resettled in Philadelphia in the late 1970s: some 3,000+ refugees began to create a vital and vibrant community. Now only 140-some Hmong people remain. Over the past 28 years here, Pang Xiong Sirirathasuk Sikoun, who co-curated this exhibition, has used traditional needlework to support and sustain Hmong community life. The work of 40 women are featured in this show, a brief reflection of local Hmong history and arts.
Exhibits

Folk Arts of Social Change

September 9, 1999 – October 24, 1999
Philadelphia Folklore Project
This exhibition considers how struggles for justice, equity and freedom depend on traditions passed on and developed within communities and out of collective experience. The folk arts of social change are vehicles for challenging oppression, transmitting unofficial history, and for passing on and preserving knowledge that spans generations. This project is about how we choose to act, about how we learn and transmit ethics and values, and about how community-based arts help make this learning and teaching possible.
Exhibits

Artists in Exile

March 1, 1998 – May 1, 1998
Philadelphia Folklore Project
Over the last decade, Philadelphia's neighborhoods have been enriched by newcomers from Western, Central, Eastern and Southern African cultures. Often fleeing war and tragedies, these immigrants bring with them generations-old family and community traditions of art-making. Too often, immigrants put aside these arts, however sustaining, because they need to make a living, because such arts are held in little regard here, because this society follows a different rhythm. The eleven artists depicted in this modest photo exhibition are exceptional singers, dancers and drummers. They are depicted rehearsing and performing during a rare opportunity to come together to practice their arts, for a Philadelphia Folklore Project program called "Philly Dance Africa."
Exhibits

Plenty of Good Women Dancers

April 1, 1996 – April 30, 1996
Philadelphia Folklore Project
For every dancer whose name is widely known today - Bill Robinson or Philadelphia's own Honi Coles or the Nicholas Brothers - there are thousands of others who have faded into obscurity. Very little record remains of the presence and artistry of African American women tap dancers. . African American women tap dancers never had an easy time. They worked in a glamorous and sometimes brutal industry. But these are not women who lament the past. They are artists and survivors, who look back with pleasure in the performances they created and witnessed. They still want to set the record straight. This exhibition is intended to help do that.
Exhibits

Keep it Real

April 1, 1995 – April 30, 1995
Traveling Exhibition
Those who practice graffiti art in Philadelphia face heavy legal penalties. Neighbors and homeowners organize against what they see as destructive behavior, a symbol of urban decay. Few people are in the mood to make distinctions between "pieces" and "tags," legal and illegal walls, vandalism and art. This exhibition was part of an attempt to create a forum where young people could have a chance to speak for themselves, and to talk about what they were doing and why. In community discussions that were part of this project, some young people offered thoughtful analyses of the politics of graffiti, asking why there was money to arrest artists but not drug dealers, or money to "buff" walls but not for public schools. Others asked how graffiti writers could disrespect their own neighborhoods. People listened to one another - even as they held different notions of what counted as art, as respect, and as responsibility.
Exhibits

Giants, Kings & Celestial Angels: Teaching Cambodian Arts in Philadelphia

April 1, 1993 – April 30, 1993
Traveling Exhibition
This exhibition presents work by Peang Koung, Eang Mao, Sipom Ming, Chamroeun Yin and their students. The exhibition introduces four Cambodian artists: a mask-maker and folk opera director, a costume-maker, a temple painter, and a dancer/mask maker. The focus is on how they teach Cambodian arts in Philadelphia, sharing Khmer values along with Khmer arts.