10:00 AM

Philadelphia Museum of Art Celebrates Black History Month

First in a New Series of Community Celebration Events Takes Place on February 25

On February 25, 2023, in celebration of Black History Month, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will launch the first in a series of monthly events aimed at deepening the museum’s engagement with communities across the Philadelphia region. Paying tribute to the cultural achievements and contributions of the Black community, the museum will illuminate new goals for community service and invite key partners in the Black community to share the work they do in this day-long event. Admission on February 25 will be free of charge all day.

Sasha Suda, the museum’s George D. Widener Director and CEO stated: “With a rich, joyful celebration of Black History Month, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opens its doors ever more widely, to create a warm welcome together with community partners. The PMA is an integral part of the cultural fabric of Philadelphia – to honor and elevate these essential relationships, we’ll be placing the museum’s current African Diasporic collections in the spotlight, discussing our commitment to equity, our milestones, Equity Agenda, and future plans, and offering refreshments and fun.  With this first open house, I would like to offer my personal welcome to the Black communities of Philadelphia – the PMA is your museum.”

Partners in this first celebration will include the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware; Alumni Association of Lincoln University­ Philadelphia Chapter; Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Phila-Montco Branch; Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity; Black Muslim Men United for a Better Philadelphia; Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church; Father’s Day Rally Committee; NAACP Philadelphia Branch; National Action Network, Philadelphia Chapter; National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Philadelphia Chapter; Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus; Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes; Philadelphia Sunday Sun; Temple University; Universal Companies; Urban League Philadelphia.

Remarks will take place at 12 p.m. in the Great Stair Hall, with museum leadership, select elected officials, and community leaders. The Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Choir will perform. Awards will be announced to recognize community organizations making significant contributions of service to the Black community and to advancing Black excellence in art.

"Given the contributions the Black church has consistently made to Black history, it is extremely important for us to be a part of this celebration and support the Philadelphia Museum of Art's work on its Equity Agenda," said Rev. Robert Collier, Sr., pastor of Galilee Baptist Church and president of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity. 

"As a leading civil rights advocacy organization, the NAACP fights to open doors for the Black community and is proud to join forces with similarly-minded organizations," said NAACP Philadelphia Branch President Catherine Hicks. "I am pleased the Philadelphia Museum of Art is launching its Equity Agenda with an annual Black History event and commitment to open doors for more diverse groups to have greater access to business, local engagement, jobs, and art that reflects them."

The museum collections contain more than 1400 works by 250 Black artists in its collections of American art, European art, and modern and contemporary art.

The following activities for visitors will take place in the Main Building on February 25:

  • Art Kids Studio and Gallery Tours focused on the art of the Black modernist painter Aaron Douglas
  • Self-guided tours highlighting works by Black artists
  • Public Highlights tours that spotlight works by Black artists
  • In the galleries, an interactive performance/engagement by storyteller Thembi Palmer will focus on the contributions of the American painter William Henry Johnson
  • Our community partner organizations will feature their work at information tables

Alphonso Atkins Jr., the museum’s Miller Worley Deputy Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access, said: “This year’s Black History Month Celebration is a wonderful way to celebrate Black culture and Black excellence throughout PMA’s collection as well as this iconic building, made real by the contributions of the museum’s Black architect, Julian Abele. The February 25th event is the first in our new series of stakeholder engagements designed to bring together the many diverse communities of Philadelphia, to experience the museum as a place of inspiration, reflection, and joy.”

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We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A world-renowned collection. A landmark building. 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.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art by phone at 215-684-7860 or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The museum is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call 215-763-8100.