An Artist Embedded Kicks Off 4/8

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An Artist Embedded Kicks Off 4/8

Thursday, March 19, 2015

When we look back in time, we cannot know everything that happened in full detail. The historical record is rarely, if ever, complete. Yet when we present history, we inevitably fill in the gaps, create the voices that spoke, the characters that lived.  Are we creating fiction?  Have we made history un-true?  Or have we actually created a truth greater than mere fact? 

Obie award-winning playwright Ain Gordon and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will explore the intersections of history and fiction, fact and truth, as part of a new two-year project, An Artist Embedded.

Using HSP’s collections as source material and inspiration, Ain Gordon has “embedded” himself in the historic library and archive while developing the script of a new play to be performed at Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Art Center.

Leading up to the performance, Ain Gordon and HSP are hosting a series of public programs with visiting artists and scholars to engage the audience in an expansive discussion of individual rights and their relation to historical events. What is “historical fact”? Where is the truth in these stories, and can it be separated from “the created”?

Check out the first three programs in the series!

Voicing the Absent: Crafting History

  • Wednesday, April 8, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Act 48/CEU Credits Available
  • Historians try to describe past events as they really happened. They aim at faithful representation. Yet we cannot know what others feel and think, and so historians must always take license with their subjects. Historian Jane Kamensky, filmmaker Louis Massiah, and Ain Gordon leads a panel discussion about how historians and artists handle this predicament.

Their Story; Our Story - African American Women and the Fight for Equality

  • Wednesday, May 13, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Act 48/CEU Credits Available
  • Freedom and liberty – how are they defined and for whom are they granted? As he uncovers new stories about Americans’ struggles for “liberty and freedom for all,” Ain Gordon considers the experiences of African American women of the early 1800s who worked to end slavery. A dramatic reading from Ain’s previous play, If She Stood, will serve as a jumping off point for discussion of these “invisible leaders” with historians Erica Dunbar and Lori Ginzberg.

Their Story; Our Story – The Gay Pride Movement

  • Wednesday, May 3, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Act 48/CEU Credits Available
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. For our June program, Ain Gordon explores an earlier protest, Philadelphia’s 1965 Annual Reminder picket, one of the first gay rights demonstrations in the country. Bob Skiba, archivist at the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives, will discuss Reminder Day and the early Homophile movement with Ain Gordon and several of the protests’ participants.

Major support for An Artist Embedded has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from HSP.