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Spring 2024 Opening Celebration @ ICA

February 9 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Institute of Contemporary Art – University of Pennsylvania ICA

118 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States

Institute of Contemporary Art-Spring 2024 Opening Reception Feb 9 - Image by @Phobymo

Celebrate the opening of Tomashi Jackson: Across the Universe and Dominique White and Alberta Whittle: Sargasso Sea

An evening of music, performances, and refreshments! The evening will feature performances by Philly’s newly inaugurated poet laureate, Kai Davis, and cultural treasure and Phillys 2016-2017 poet laureate, Yolanda Wisher. In addition to the performances, DJ Lola Kinks will be spinning vinyl throughout the evening, fresh bites will be provided by Honeysuckle Provisions.

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the Spring 2024 exhibitions in the company of the exhibiting artists and curators.

6:20PM | Welcome Remarks by Zoë Ryan, Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director

6:40PM | Poetry reading with Kai Davis and Yolanda Wisher

7:30-9:00PM | DJ Set by DJ Lola Kinks

We will open to the public on Friday, February 9th at 6PM for the celebration. Regular hours will resume on Saturday, February 10th.


Register to attend this free event here.


ASL interpretation will be provided for this program.

ICA is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all visitors. For more notes on accessibility including accessible parking nearby visit our Accessibility landing page. If you require any accessibility accommodations or have any questions about the program, please contact Brittany Clottey (bclottey@ica.upenn.edu).

About the poets

Poet, musician, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher was named inaugural Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1999 and third Poet Laureate of Philadelphia for 2016 and 2017. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, Wisher received the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award in 2019 for her commitment to art for social change and was named a Philadelphia Cultural Treasures Artist Fellow in 2022. Wisher performs a blend of poetry and song with her band Yolanda Wisher & The Afroeaters and produced their debut album Doublehanded Suite, released in 2022. Along with Trapeta B. Mayson, Wisher is the founder of ConsenSIS (consensisphl.com), an initiative that seeks to count, gather, and memorialize Black femme poets in the Philadelphia area. Wisher works as the Senior Curator at Monument Lab.

Kai Davis is a Black Queer poet, multidisciplinary artist, and educator from Philadelphia. Her work explores Blackness, Queerness, womanhood, grief and the many ways these themes converge. She is a two-time international grand slam champion, winning Brave New Voices in 2011 and The College Union Poetry Slam Invitational in 2016. In 2017 Kaireceived the Leeway Transformation Award for her years of art for social change work in Philadelphia. She is currently a Co-Organizer and Creative Director for The Philly Pigeon Collective. Her work has been published by 2 Pens & Lint (2012), The Offing (2018), The Shade Journal (2019), and Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought (2021).

About the exhibitions

Tomashi Jackson: Across the Universe is the first to bring together paintings, video, prints, and sculpture from different bodies of work Jackson has created over the past eight years, providing an overview of the threads in her practice and her use of materials. Approaching her video works as “moving paintings,” the exhibition presents examples of videos in dialogue with paintings and sculpture and articulates how Jackson’s approach to color and conceptual layering translates across these mediums. Over the course of her career Jackson has closely investigated specific histories related to cities, lands, and individuals in the United States.

Dominique White and Alberta Whittle: Sargasso Sea is an exhibition that takes its name from the only body of water that is defined solely by oceanic currents rather than shorelines. The Sargasso Sea lies just north of the Caribbean, stretching up towards the American coast and out towards the mid-Atlantic, encompassing an ecological system supported by the seaweed, Sargassum, as well as Marine routes that have reorganized the world through colonial expansion, trade, trafficking, environmental devastation, enslavement and migration. In this exhibition, guest-curated by Daniella Rose King, White’s and Whittle’s work invoke futures that upend this world with counter images of shipwreck, salvage, reciprocity and Black feminist led-revolution.

Entryways: Nontsikelelo Mutiti is the inaugural project for a new series that commissions artists to activate the façade of ICA’s building in partnership with Maharam. For this iteration, Mutiti combines African hair braiding patterns with symbols often found in ironwork. She reimagines the decorative architectural features first created by enslaved blacksmiths from West Africa which is now found across the United States, including in Philadelphia. This exhibition is organized by Hallie Ringle, Daniel and Brett Sundheim Chief Curator.


Programming at ICA is made possible in part by the Emily and Jerry Spiegel Fund to Support Contemporary Culture and Visual Arts and the Lise Spiegel Wilks and Jeffrey Wilks Family Foundation. Public and Student Engagement at ICA is supported by the Bernstein Public Engagement Fund, Suzanne Weiss Doft & Jacob W. Doft, Hilarie L. & Mitchell Morgan, and by Dana McDonald Strong & Mark W. Strong.


February 9
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Institute of Contemporary Art – University of Pennsylvania ICA
118 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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(215) 898-5911
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