In September, art blossoms out of the nooks and crannies of Philadelphia. The Fringe Festival, presented by FringeArts, is a 17–day, city–wide celebration of innovation, art, and creativity. Each year, there are more than one thousand daring performances, including those curated by FringeArts and independent artists. The Fringe Arts organization describes the Festival as an “unparalleled opportunity to see a cross section of the world’s greatest experimenters at one time, in one city.” Lucky for Penn students, that city is Philadelphia.

Art can be beautiful. Art can be moving. Art can be sad. Art is anything and everything. The 3rd Street Gallery explores these ideas in a multifaceted program called “Left Behind,” which includes an evening of poetry and film that offers visitors time to reflect on the inner strength and courage it takes to be an immigrant.

Human Diaspora is a running theme throughout the exhibit. In modern days, migrations caused by fear, hunger, war, and hatred are widespread. Are any of us totally secure from becoming part of the diaspora of our time? If you had to flee today, what would you leave behind? Your home? Parents? Children? Culture?

On September 13 from 7–8:30 pm, the film and poetry event will take place. The program includes a six-minute video titled Complexion Dark, by Francesca Costanzo, who is a video artist and political activist. Her video piece demonstrates that being a refugee in 2017 is not much different than being one in 1920. Her ultimate message is that we are all descendants of immigrants.

Her bio listed in the program reads, “My work is about capturing light where colors breathe allowing the viewer to create their very personal experience. Everything becomes real.  A visceral exchange. A sense of calm. At times, abstract. Everything and nothing. But always a sense of space where color and light are the main dancers. Jump up and down. Nothing else matters. “

The video will be coupled with poetry readings by three award–winning poets—Cynthia, Arrieu–King, Emari Di Giorgio, and Jade Fleming—about the challenges of immigrating to the US. 

Be sure to experience this night of film and the other artistic experiences coming your way to Philadelphia throughout September. You can read more about the Fringe Festival and the FringeArts Association’s mission on their website.


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