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Forman Arts Initiative’s new director, Plus Opera Philadelphia, Library Company, Amy Ritter, Jerry DiFalco, Partners and Son and Opportunities!

Happy Valentine's Day! May your day be filled with love and happiness. Meanwhile in the news, changes at Opera Philadelphia, Forman Arts Initiative, Library Company of Philadelphia. Also, two great-sounding events and two excellent-sounding exhibitions. Plus, read to the bottom for the two opportunities, one a volunteer position and the other, salaried and full time. Enjoy!



A woman wearing a big, welcoming smile looks up at the camera. She has black hair pulled back in braids, brown skin, beautiful white teeth, red lipsticked lips and is wearing hoop earrings and a wine-colored, business jacket and dark-blue, patterned blouse.
Adjoa Jones de Almeida, inaugural Executive Director, Forman Arts Initiative. Photo by Danny Perez, courtesy of Forman Arts Initiative

Forman Arts Initiative (FAI) hires inaugural Executive Director, Adjoa Jones de Almeida
From FAI…Adjoa Jones de Almeida is the inaugural Executive Director for Forman Arts Initiative (FAI). Throughout her career, she has focused on arts and culture as vehicles for personal and collective transformation. From 2013-2024 she worked at the Brooklyn Museum, as Director of Education, and later as Deputy Director for Learning & Social Impact. There she launched the Museum’s Social Action Framework, and several social justice partnerships that reimagined the role of museums in people’s lives. Jones de Almeida graduated from Brown University in 1995, and went on to help create Sista II Sista (SIIS), a collective that for ten years developed Freedom Schools for young women of color in Brooklyn. In 2005, she co-founded Diáspora Solidária (Bahia, Brazil), a community group committed to environmental justice, arts education, and youth development. She earned her MA from Columbia University in International Educational Development, and has written numerous articles on education and social change. More at Forman Arts Initiative

The cast of a new opera having its debut in Philadelphia pose mid-song on stage, in a blue-on-blue wardrobe/set environment, with each person standing face front and stock still,with their arms bent at the elbow and hands out, one palm up and one palm down.
‘The Listeners,’ a new opera by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, makes its American Premiere in September 2024 at the Academy of Music. Photo by Erik Berg

Opera Philadelphia opens season, announces postponement of O Festival, citing lack of rebound after pandemic and recession in the arts
From Opera Philadelphia…Opera Philadelphia’s 2024-2025 Season will not open with a fall Festival O as has been the company’s tradition since 2017. Announcements about the future of Festival O will be shared in spring 2024.

Opera Philadelphia’s 2024-2025 Season begins in September with the highly anticipated American Premiere of The Listeners, the newest opera from the Philadelphia-born, Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek. Their 2016 world premiere, Breaking the Waves, was a phenomenon that won the inaugural Best New Opera Award from the Music Critics Association of North America and has been performed around the world since its Philadelphia debut. Performed at the historic Academy of Music from Sept. 25-29, The Listeners is a thriller about social rejection, suburban loneliness, and the seductive power of cults and charismatic leaders in a divided nation. Full news release here.

Library Company of Philadelphia announces change in leadership
From the Library Company…Dear Library Company Shareholders and Friends,
In early February, Michael Barsanti resigned as the Edwin Wolf 2nd Director of the Library Company. The Board of Trustees has asked Director Emeritus John Van Horne to step in as interim director while a search is underway, and he has kindly agreed to do so. The Board has created a search committee to find the best possible candidate to lead the Library Company as we approach our 300th anniversary in 2031. In the meantime, we are open for business as usual and committed to fulfilling our mission, and as always we are grateful for your support.
The Board of Trustees, The Library Company of Philadelphia


Moonstone Art Center, hub of local poetry
[Years ago, our son Max attended Moonstone pre-school. Under Sandy Robins, the pre-school was warm, welcoming and a very arty place! Max thrived there. I was not aware until recently of the fully blossomed Moonstone Art Center, run by Larry and Sandy. This is a case, as always, of “You know what you know and what you don’t know you don’t know.” Kudos to Larry and Sandy Robins for all they have done and do for the community, the poetry and literary community! Check out some highlights at their Youtube and click through to the website for listings. Thanks to poet g emil reutter for calling Moonstone to my attention.]


Romantic double date at Partners and Son, Friday, Feb 16, 2024, 6-9 pm, Free
Cute couple alert! In honor of Valentine’s, Partners and Son is thrilled to host a romantic double date next Friday, February 16th, from 6-9 PM

Join us for the opening reception of our latest exhibition (on view starting Valentine’s Day), Love Will Tear Us Apart, featuring the work of Caitlin McCormack, J. Webster Sharp, and Erik Svetoft. All three artists create stunning, laborious, and unsettling work and we are so excited to have them all together in our space: a veritable heart shaped box of body horror!

Plus, Sally Madden and Katie Skelly of the Thick Lines Podcast will host their first ever live event! Join them as they discuss selected romance comics, including Jim Steranko’s “My Heart Broke in Hollywood” and Vertigo’s Heart Throbs, followed by a Q&A and some romantic prizes. Free beer and seltzer (and all the discounted heart shaped candy we can find!) See Partners and Son website for more.

Virtual Public Reading -Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, February 28 & 29, 7pm ET / 6pm CT / 4pm PT
FREE – Tickets

Toni Morrison & The Power of Story
Society continues to receive Morrison’s first novel with controversy. She is unapologetic in her depiction of the suffering and neglect of Black girls and women and the consequences of the psychological and physical violence they have endured for generations. Morrison is equally committed to lifting up their humanity and grace while interrogating the mechanisms by which oppression is internalized.

Literacy Partners is an adult literacy program. African American and immigrant parents come to our program to transform their lives and create a brighter future for their family. Access to stories and the ability to tell one’s own are essential to heal from trauma – individual and collective. Adult literacy has always been a tool for liberation and a means of organizing to end systemic oppression.

We present this public reading in solidarity with Black girls and women everywhere. Justice demands that we not look away.


Amy Ritter, HIDDEN IN PLACE:The Journey of the American Dream, Grizzly Grizzly, January 5 – February 25, 2024
From the artist…Hi I’m an artist who lives in New York but also has strong ties to the Philadelphia area and currently have a solo exhibition up at Grizzly Grizzly Gallery. My show titled Hidden In Place: The Journey of the American Dream runs from January 5th- February 25th. As an artist I make work about affordable housing and more specifically mobile homes. Central to this exploration is my personal history growing up in a double-wide trailer in eastern Pennsylvania; where my father still lives. Through instituting as an archive called MH (mobile home) Archive, I’ve been able to perform research collecting firsthand accounts, and photographs of mobile home communities and their residents. This archive serves as a window into the dreams and struggles of individuals and families. There have been a lot of stories lately and a large lawsuit about manufactured communities because of large investment firms buying up these communities and raising lot rents enormously forcing many on fixed incomes to leave. This is what fuels me to continue my work to bring visibility to these people. In an era marked by housing affordability crises and widening economic inequality, the mobile home archive serves as a timely and essential resource for policymakers, scholars, and advocates seeking solutions to pressing housing challenges. By amplifying the voices and experiences of mobile home residents, this exhibition contributes to ongoing conversations about housing justice and the pursuit of a more inclusive American Dream with sculpture, photography, and an audio installation. Please see this link for the press release. My website is [Ed. Note: Contributor Lauren Whearty will be talking with Amy Ritter about her project in a forthcoming piece on Artblog.]

Jerry DiFalco Memorial at DaVinci Art Alliance, Visual Poetry: Jerry DiFalco, a Life in Art
An installation curated by Virginia Maksymowicz in memory of Jerry DiFalco, FEBRUARY 1 – FEBRUARY 18

From Blaise Tobia and Virginia Maksymowicz…Virginia and I have curated and mounted a kind of immersive installation artwork that is a recreation of the studio of the late artist Jerry DiFalco (obituary here). It’s in the upstairs space at the DaVinci Art Alliance, and will be opening to the public on Saturday (2/3).

We knew Jerry and his “widower” Ron Funk through the community at the Episcopal Cathedral. The Cathedral did a memorial show of Jerry’s paintings last year, but Jerry was really more of a print maker, so we wanted to do a show that would highlight that aspect of his work. Combined with the fact that he had been a member of the DVAA and also had been a print shop monitor and mentor at the Fleisher (across the street from DVAA) we thought that the DVAA would be a natural site for the show. Then we saw Jerry’s spare bedroom studio at the condo he had shared with Ron and were amazed both by its highly personal character and by the fact that Ron had preserved it – almost as a kind of time capsule. So we came up with the idea of essentially recreating the studio (furniture, tools and all) at DVAA.

Jerry was an interesting thinker – blending spirituality, poetry, an international perspective, his own identity as a gay (and, increasingly, handicapped) individual, and a good sense of art practice and art history.

The show will be up through February 18th and accessible during the DVAA’s regular hours (Thurs-Sun 11-6). The opening reception is Saturday 2/3 from 4-7 PM. The closing is Sunday 2/18 from 12-2 PM. All of the framed prints are for sale (at very good prices).


Content Developer, National Liberty Museum, Full Time, Salary Range /Hourly Rate: $55,000.00 – $75,000.00
The National Liberty Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer seeking a diverse workforce.
Interested applicants are asked to please forward your 1) resume, 2) cover letter, and 3) professional references in ONE (1) document for immediate consideration to

About the position…The Content Developer is responsible for developing content for NLM’s exhibitions and learning programs. This work includes facilitating content development meetings with internal and external stakeholders, including community advisors, educators, scholars and more; identifying and distilling key messages, themes, and big ideas; conceptualizing stories, and crafting narratives that are the foundation of NLM’s activities. The Content Developer will ensure all projects are anchored in those narratives for the duration of the project and that content is delivered clearly, accurately, and creatively in everything the museum produces.

The Content Developer will directly support the development of NLM’s content collection by conceptualizing, creating, designing, organizing, and archiving an array of digital text and audio-visual content and print items in support of the museum’s evolving exhibition program. Content items may include but are not limited to artist interviews, podcast episodes, documentary shorts, interactive websites and kiosks, research briefs, and exhibition supplementary materials. The Content Developer will collect, process, and integrate materials produced by visitors through museum interactives into the collection, cycling some components back into content presented by the museum. As NLM shifts to include a community co-curation model in which community partners influence exhibition planning and implementation, the Content Developer will also document collaborative processes and projects. The Content Developer will use and adapt the museum’s emerging digital media infrastructure, including a digital asset management system, to produce, store, and widely distribute its content. More information at the GPCA Job Bank

Art Party Auction Coordinator at CFEVA (VOLUNTEER)
The Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) seeks two part-time volunteers to assist in coordinating our annual Art Party Auction. Volunteers will be asked to commit 10-12 hours per week to help us gather, organize, and document donations to the annual auction.
This includes:
talking with local businesses and individuals about CFEVA and the artists we serve
soliciting donations of items and gift certificates
keeping accurate records of donations
writing thank-you letters to donors
preparing records for the auction
More information here