For Ruth Naomi Floyd, a Philly-born singer and songwriter, “home” is a safe space where she can be her true self.
For Rhonda Moore, a musician originally from New York, home means a comforting, protective place.
For Kathleen Greene, curator of public programs for the Barnes Foundation, “home” is a room filled with Philadelphians of all different backgrounds. That’s who Greene hopes will join her on Saturday, for the Barnes’s sixth Artist Bash, with performances from seven dancers, singers, and fashion designers—including Floyd and Moore—presenting their definition of home through their art.
“For some, home is beauty and love; others it’s part of trauma and violence and a tough place to be,” Floyd says. “What I love about what’s going to happen is that there’s a wide space for everyone with different definitions of home to come and experience it in different beautiful, truthful, and creative ways.”
Floyd’s performance Saturday will focus on African American slave-turned-activist Frederick Douglass, who found a way to create his own home. “For him, in early years of his bondage, this unattainable freedom was what he hoped would be his home,” she says. “He certainly made a way for himself to be free instead of waiting for liberation to come. He made a way to experience that feeling of home by going up North and becoming ‘free.’”
Moore will reprise a duet she choreographed for a Barnes First Sunday performance, “Dancing with the Elephants,” which explores the uncomfortable things she can talk about when she’s in her home.
“It’s always been about home because I’m using a format that I’ve always loved as a child,” she says. “I always wanted to have the big gown on and be like Anna from The King and I. Just to be waltzing around the room. It’s also about relationships, and the things we hold in and the things that we hide that our body betrays.”
Floyd and Moore will be joined by Julian Saporiti of the folk band No-No Boy, Sistahs Attune, an a cappella group, performance artist Gabrielle Revlock, and fashion designer Nyxal. Each performer will present their art on several stages throughout the Barnes. Greene said this “popcorn performance” will allow the audience to experience the art from varying angles.
“Some point you’ll be in the back and at some point you’ll be in the front,” she adds. “You’ll know they’re coming but not where they’re coming from, so it’s this free-flowing experience. It’ll be this feeling of magic in a different way that’s really fun.”
The Barnes hosts Artist Bash three times a year; this is the first of 2019. In 2018, all three were sold out—so be sure to get tickets in advance.
Saturday, February 16 from 8pm to 11pm. The $10 tickets include admission to the Barnes Collection and can be purchased HERE.