Closed Mondays

Penn Museum’s CultureFest! Celebrates Women Artists

February 20, 2023

Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director


Graphic for Culture Fest

PHILADELPHIA—Marking Women’s History Month, the Penn Museum will honor the artistic power of women visionaries from around the world with CultureFest! Celebrate Women Artists and Creatives, Saturday, March 11, 2023, from 10:00 am–4:00 pm.

Featuring live performances, storytelling, make-and-take art activities, hands-on workshops, pottery wheel demonstrations, plus a marketplace filled with the one-of-a-kind works from local ceramic and print artists, the March CultureFest! showcases the often-overlooked contributions of movers and shakers across cultures and communities throughout history. The daylong festival includes:

10:30 am Women’s Sekere Ensemble in Pepper Hall, preserving West African traditional music
11:00 am Sattriya Dance Company in Harrison Auditorium
11:45 am Drag Queen Storytime with Eric Jaffee in the Sphinx Gallery (also at 3:15 pm)
1:00 pm Choral Performance celebrating the power of women by Sister Cities GirlChoir and award-winning soprano Miss Jillian Pirtle, and debut of “A Woman’s Voice”, a collaboration between the two organizations
2:00 pm Vervet Dance contemporary dance performance in Widener Lecture Hall

The Penn Museum’s partnership with Miss Jillian Pirtle, award-winning soprano and CEO of the National Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society, began in 2019 ahead of The Stories We Wear exhibition. During CultureFest!, Pirtle and the Sister Cities GirlChoir, will premiere their original composition, “A Woman’s Voice,” which highlights the exceptional power, determination, and beauty of women and their voices.

“Collaborating with the young talent in Sister Cities GirlChoir has given both organizations a chance to create art and be inspired by each other,” explains Pirtle, who takes pride in teaching the next generation about Marian Anderson’s enduring legacy. “This performance gives a whole new meaning appreciating women in society. It means seeing us as artists and leaders. By working with young girls to have their voices, opinions, and musical styles heard, we are honoring women’s ideas, goals, dreams, and visions. This is what history should inspire us to do differently as we move forward.”

Another community partner, Sattriya Dance Company, will share a 500-year-old ritualistic dance that originated in the monasteries of Assam in India. Traditionally, it was performed by men. Today, it shares messages of peace, equality, love, and universal brotherhood.

“As a tradition bearer of an art form that lived for centuries in male bodies, I am deeply aware of the profound honor and responsibility that lies in me to carry this legacy forward in a respectful and meaningful way,” Madhusmita Bora, a native practitioner of Sattriya, says.

Other partners for CultureFest! include the University City Arts League, a non-profit organization dedicated to intergenerational education and cultural enrichment through the arts, and Caldera, which helps to build a thriving ethical creative ecosystem for BIPOC and Queer creatives.

The full line-up for CultureFest! Celebrate Women Artists and Creatives can be found here, and all activities are included with Museum admission.

Another way to learn the important role of women throughout history is during the Penn Museum’s Queens, Warriors, and Archaeologists guided tour, Sunday, May 14 at 2:00 pm. Cost: $24, includes Penn Museum admission for the entire day. Register here.


About the Penn Museum
The Penn Museum’s mission is to be a center for inquiry and the ongoing exploration of humanity for our University of Pennsylvania, regional, national, and global communities, following ethical standards and practices. Through conducting research, stewarding collections, creating learning opportunities, sharing stories, and creating experiences that expand access to archaeology and anthropology, the Museum builds empathy and connections across diverse cultures.

The Penn Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm. It is open until 8:00 pm on first Wednesdays of the month through March. The Café is open Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00 am-3:00 pm and Friday and Saturday, 10:00 am-2:00 pm. For information, visit, call 215.898.4000, or follow @PennMuseum on social media.