Common Touch: Musical Meeting of the Minds

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Dancers C. Kelly White-Burrell and Steffanie White-Burchette in performance. Photo by Kerville Jackson.

In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind, the Library Company of Philadelphia presents a performance of Pew Fellow and percussionist Pablo Batista’s Center-funded performance work El Viaje (The Journey). El Viaje tells a story of the spiritual and cultural resilience of those forced to emigrate from Africa to the Americas, through a performance that blends Afro-Cuban rhythms and Western instrumentation, Afro-Caribbean choreography, and evocative multi-media imagery.

A reception and exhibition walk-through of Common Touch will be held at the Library Company at 5:30 p.m., followed by the performance of El Viaje at the Free Library at 7 p.m. A free trolley service will be provided to transport guests from the Library Company to the Free Library.

Common Touch, curated by artist-in-residence and Pew Fellow Teresa Jaynes, is a multisensory exhibition based on the Library Company’s extraordinary collection of pre-Braille texts for the blind. The culmination of nearly five years of research by Jaynes, the exhibition incorporates historic objects alongside new artifacts, visual art, and literature that visitors can experience via touch, smell, and hearing.


This research project will examine the unknown biography of aristocrat and eminent botanist William Hamilton and his role as a “bachelor gentleman” in 18th-century Philadelphia, with the goal of creating new interpretive programs that will enable visitors to connect to contemporary discourse on family, class, gender, and race.

“Extraordinary Indian classical dancer” Sarukkai performed at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, a Center-funded concert presented by Sruti, the India Music and Dance Society.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Master improviser, classical conductor, and 10-time Grammy Award winner Bobby McFerrin is recognized for his extraordinary vocal range and technique.

We sat down with Bill Adair and Bill Bissell to discuss the importance of ongoing conversations with the region’s cultural practitioners, the role of “thinking partners,” and how Center staff supports the Project grant applications process.

Grants & Grantees

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A special opening reception in honor of artist Katharina Grosse and the world premiere of her public artwork for Philadelphia’s rail gateway, psychylustro.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Don Byron, a jazz performer and composer, is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a United States Artist Fellowship, and a Rome Prize for Composition.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Tom Hanchett is staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South.

Grants & Grantees

EgoPo Classic Theater transforms classic theater and literature into provocative performances, placing equal emphasis on text, vocals, and movement. Its

Several Center-funded performances and exhibitions have garnered national and regional media coverage in recent weeks.

Collaborators & Colleagues

John Andress is associate director of performing arts at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston.

Grants & Grantees

Jumatatu Poe developed The Flight Attendants, a satirical commentary on the service industry, during summer workshops with members of his company, idiosynCrazy productions.