Barbara Earl Thomas: The Illuminated Body - Exhibition

February 17 – May 21, 2024  Barbara Earl Thomas’ most recent series of portraits weave an exquisite tapestry of light and color to depict individuals illuminated in moments of creativity. Invoking the history of portraiture, Thomas’ nine large-scale cut paper pieces celebrate great Black cultural icons such as August Wilson, Seth Parker Woods, and Charles Johnson, alongside Thomas’ friends, family, and acquaintances. Set in contexts ranging from public performance to the quiet of daydreaming, they honor the creative spark in all its manifestations. Thomas describes her subjects with nuance and care, encouraging extended viewing of these vibrant and layered portraits. The portraits are presented with The Transformation Room, a luminous installation created from light and intricately cut Tyvek, which offers a moment of respite for reflection and inspiration.

Lecture Series: Jews and the University: Antisemitism, Admissions, Academic Freedom

January 23 - March 14, 2024  The integration of Jews into the university is one of the great success stories of modern American culture and Jewish life. But recent events at Penn and at other campuses have led to accusations that the university has been too tolerant of antisemitism and become less welcoming to Jews. This free lecture series is an effort to share insights from history, sociology, education studies, and other fields that can help put the present moment into context.

The series kicks off with Dara Horn's in-person appearance at Penn Hillel on January 23, and continues with online talks through February and March.