Blackstar 2023 Lab fellows, Commonweal, Past Present Projects, Beyond the Bell Tours, Artblog mention in Barnes email

This post-holiday week we are filled with food and with news! So much is happening right now it makes a person’s head spin. Sit tight, scroll through the news, stop where you want to read in depth and click the links, and enjoy Philadelphia’s art news, served up for You, just for you, by Artblog.


BlackStar Projects announces 2023 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab fellows

The 2023 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab fellows are:

  • Zardosht Afshari (Director) and Aaron Brokenbough Jr. (Producer)
  • David Gaines (Director) and Elizah Turner (Producer)
  • Simone Holland (Director) and Stephanie Malson (Producer)
  • ashley ijoema omoma (Director) and Samiyah Wardlaw (Producer)
A black and white photo compilation of the eight Blackstar Lab Filmmakers whose work will be featured at this year's festival.
Top Row (L to R): Zardosht Afshari, Aaron Brokenbough Jr, David Gaines, Elizah Turner.
Bottom Row (L to R): Simone Holland, Stephanie Malson, ashley ijoema omoma, Samiyah Wardlaw.
All images courtesy of the respective artists.

Now in its second year, the Lab is among BlackStar Projects’ various initiatives, including the acclaimed BlackStar Film Festival. With their second cohort, they’ve expanded the program’s scope to include both directors and producers, who will work in pairs to bring to life four short films.

Presented by Comcast’s Black Experience on Xfinity. Founded in 2021, the year-long fellowship supports and uplifts Black, Brown and Indigenous emerging and mid-career filmmakers in the Greater Philadelphia area by providing funding as well as access to mentorship, critical feedback, equipment, crews, and space. The films will ultimately premiere at the next BlackStar Film Festival.

The 2023 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab Films include:

An Endoscopy
In director Zardosht Afshari and producer Aaron Brokenbough Jr.’s forthcoming project, a film student accompanies a newcomer Iraqi student for a medical procedure, with the agreement that he will be her subject in a documentary.

The Freedom to Fall Apart
Directed by David Gaines and produced by Elizah Turner, the short will comprise an anthology of four disparate vignettes together questioning the function of shame within the Black American body politic.

All That’s Left
Through their film, director Simone Holland and producer Stephanie Malson will tell the story of Mercedes, who struggles to differentiate reality from her imagination as she embarks upon a journey of self-exploration and relationships.

Now That We’ve Killed Me
Director ashley ijoema omoma and producer Samiyah Wardlaw will together realize the story of a mother, Ezienne, as she discovers the truth of her daughter’s life on the eve of her daughter’s funeral.

The Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab is open to emerging and mid-career filmmakers seeking to create short narrative, experimental, or hybrid projects in any genre. The inaugural cohort of fellows (2021-2022) included Bettina Escauriza, Jasmine Lynea, Xenia Matthews, and Julian Turner. Xenia Matthews was subsequently named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine and Julian Turner’s Lab-produced The Big Three was selected for the 58th Chicago International Film Festival.

Applications for next year’s Lab will open in August 2023.


Artblog gets subject line shout out in a Barnes e-blast about the Modigliani exhibit

Ever wonder how you’re doing out there and then one day your name and your work achieves headline status in the subject line of an e-blast? Well, ok. For those who got the e-blast and wondered what the Barnes was referring to, ahem, here’s the link to Andrea Kirsh’s fantastic review. Thank you, Barnes!

From: The Barnes Foundation
Date: November 23, 2022 at 11:01:16 AM EST
Subject: “A gem of a show”—Artblog


Floating Art Barge announced by Philadelphia Contemporary
Via Axios Philadelphia: Philadelphia Contemporary is keeping artistic dreams afloat.

Driving the news: The arts organization is planning to build a two-story, 15,000-square-foot gallery that will float on the Delaware River, first reported by Rising Real Estate.

The floating gallery is being designed by the firm Atkin Olshin Schade Architects and will be constructed on a barge that will be moored between Cherry and Race streets.
The building will be powered by solar panels and house a lobby, guest services, galleries, performances spaces, classrooms, a cafe and more.

Wooder Ice reports that design, permitting and construction could take more than two years to complete. Harry Philbrick of Philadelphia Contemporary told Axios the new digs will serve as permanent headquarters for the “nomadic” organization.

“The Philadelphia Contemporary team is engaged in fundraising efforts to bring this vision to life, while continuing to put on free programming around the city,” he said.



  1. Natural History with Maria Dumlao and Talia Greene. Artblog admires the works of these two research- and politically-engaged artists. They also happen to be great makers of objects, and their works on view at Past Present Projects are outstanding. Check this show out!
    At Past Present Projects to Jan. 28, 2023
  2. Detail of a digital RGB print by Maria Dumlao.
    Detail, Maria Dumlao, “It’s Just for You – a mobile company slogan.” Image courtesy of Past Present Projects.
    Detail from Talia Greene’s “After Audubon” series on view at Past Present Gallery.
    Detail from Talia Greene’s “After Audubon” series. Gouache, Acrylic and cut paper. Image courtesy of Past Present Projects.


  3. Marian Bailey – My Body is Enough:
    Opens Dec. 2, 6-8 PM at Commonweal Gallery From the artist: “I don’t think this show is going to change the world but I do hope it makes a few people pause and think about their words before saying an outfit isn’t flattering or even remarking on the body of someone else.” -Marian BaileyArtist Event – Erin Who Plays The Guitar: 
    Serving up music, drinks and laughter, Bailey has invited their friend and musician Erin for a night of performance during which Bailey will be performing stand-up comedy on Monday, December 19th, from 6p – 7:30p

    An acrylic and silkscreen artwork by Marian Bailey from their upcoming show at Commonweal Gallery.
    Marian Bailey, “Eyes on Me”, Acrylic and Silkscreen on Canvas, 36 x 36”. Image courtesy of Commonweal


Beyond the Bell Tours – Book an extraordinary experience in your own back yard

The pleasure of a guided tour is enhanced tenfold by a guide who knows more than the traditional history, tells it with attitude and humor, invites participation by the tour group and gives generously of themselves during the 1-2 hour walkabout. I was invited on a Beyond the Bell Tour – the deliciously named “Badass Women’s History Tour” and loved the experience, from the introductions to the final posing for the group photo. It was two hours of eye opening history about Hannah Callowhill Penn, trained in business and finance, she actually ran Pennsylvania when her husband William became ill; Ona Judge, George Washington’s slave who escaped and lived free in New Hampshire; Barbara Gittings, LGBTQ Pioneer, and others!

Joey, cofounder of Beyond the Bell, gives a tour near Independence Hall in the fall.
Joey, cofounder of Beyond the Bell Tours.

Co-founders Joey and Rebecca are young, they’re smart, they have attitude and they tell the history of Philadelphia and its people that shakes up the traditional, hackneyed, whitewashed stories we’ve all been fed.

“We are a social enterprise committed to Putting the People Back in People’s History. We create inclusive historical tours of Philadelphia highlighting marginalized communities, peoples, and histories. We tell stories of people we love and admire. People who have shaped our city through movements, activism, and resistance.”


Open call for artist in residence, Spring semester, Haverford College, Hurford Center
Deadline to Apply: December 31, 2022

Info here
Apply here

Haverford College’s Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities and VCAM (Visual Culture, Arts, and Media) facility invite applications for the position of artist-in-residence for the 2023 spring semester. The Hurford Center & VCAM Philadelphia Artist-in-Residence Program hosts Philadelphia and area artists for creative exchanges with the Haverford community.

The spring 2023 iteration of the program will partner with the Imagining Abolitionist Futures series, a year-long Hurford Center initiative exploring the role of the arts and humanities in the struggle to dismantle the carceral state and build reparative practices and institutions in the place of a system driven by racism, retribution, and violence.

This year’s artist residency program seeks emerging artists whose works broadly engage with this theme of abolition, mass incarceration, and restorative justice. The aim of the residency is to create equitable opportunities for underrepresented and under-resourced artists by giving them a chance to further develop their practices and engage with a new audience. We’re particularly interested in working with emerging artists for whom this experience would be a transformative opportunity for their creative practices.

Applicants must be living and working in the greater Philadelphia area. While the artist will not live on Haverford’s campus, we hope that their regular presence in the College’s VCAM facility will lead to sustained engagement with the College community across the length of the residency.

The program provides:

  • Total stipend of $3000 during the residency (March-May, 2023)
  • Additional $2000 production budget for a September 2023 exhibition in Haverford’s VCAM facility
  • Access to Haverford College’s facilities including the VCAM Maker Art Space, Film/Media editing studio, and more
  • Dedicated office space March-May, 2023
  • Studio space in VCAM June-August, 2023
  • Opportunity to attend the symposium Imagining Abolitionist Futures, as well as interact with various scholars and artists working in the field
  • Engagement with Haverford student clubs and classes

As part of residency, the participating artist will:

  • Organize one public engagement event for the Haverford community and beyond that takes a form *other* than an artist talk)
  • Complete the entirety of the residency program (March, April, May of 2023) including the exhibition component in the following fall (September 2023)
  • Attend Haverford’s Imagining Abolitionist Futures symposium (March 23, 24 2023)
  • Spend 3-4 hours per week on Haverford’s campus. This may vary week-by-week depending on programming etc.

Contact Hurford Center Program Manager Kelly Jung at with any questions.