Press Release: The Colored Girls Museum Debuts in Fringe Festival

NEW COLORED GIRLS MUSEUMS DEBUTS IN FRINGE FEST:

Work offers a safe place for women of color amidst the violence against them and provides provocative commentary on their unique experiences and personal.

(Philadelphia, PA)—Vashti Dubois, acclaimed producer and director, debuts her new work, The Colored Girls Museum: Open for Business at The Philadelphia Fringe Festival September 11, 12, and 13. This salon-style installation, exhibit and performance re-imagines the museum as sanctuary, underground railroad and historical record. Artifacts selected and curated by Colored Girls represent her story—and viewpoint. 

This Colored Girls Collective, comprised of students, activist, artists, neighbors, thought leaders, hair dressers, and more-- act as curators and innkeepers of the Colored Girls Museum. The collective collaborates on converting a colored girl’s home (Dubois’) into a highly interactive living space. Visitors are invited to tour, to touch, to wander, to sit a spell, to mourn, to imagine, to listen, and to dine in this artfully storied bed and breakfast. In the fully guided exhibition space, each themed room is the captivating interpretation of some aspect of the too often overlooked and invisible life of the colored girl’s journey. Herstory is explained through artifacts, room design, entertainment, and stories previously untold. The interactive experience invites guests participate in a performance, exchange thoughts, dine from an unattended plate, or leave a tip.

“It seems there is a preponderance of hostility toward women of color,” said Dubois in a recent interview.  “From Serena William’s body shaming to the tragic death of Susan Bland.  Where are we to turn? This projects celebrates us. The Museum is a container for our experiences. It is safe place to be a colored girl. In this residence our stories, our history, and our experience matter. We are triumphant in spite of the hard times--there is something the world has to learn from us but first we must name it ourselves---the museum is an opportunity to begin the process of naming and claiming. In this safe space we will express all of ourselves without fear of retribution.  We will do this for Sandra Bland, Jasmine Wright, Esaw Garners, and the millions of women of color who stories have been told, but unheard.” 

Dubois is no stranger to shedding light on compelling social themes by melding contemporary art with live performance. She produced and directed EvictionProof Peepshow Home in the 2012 Philadelphia Fringe Festival with her late husband Albert Eric Stewart. EvictionProof PeepShow Home was a multidisciplinary theater event which tackled the issue of foreclosure from the perspective of a house trying to save its family.

The Colored Girls Museum distinguishes itself by exclusively collecting, preserving, honoring, and decoding artifacts pertaining to the experience and herstory of colored girls. In the work, the museum serves as a clearinghouse of multidimensional art objects and information about colored girls: equal parts research facility, exhibition space, gathering place and think tank. This Colored Girls Museum is the first institution of its kind, which considers memoir, in any form, as well as art and artifacts of personal and historical significance, as evidence with empirical value. 

“Our hope is to stage other Colored Girls Museum pop up events in Brooklyn and at Wesleyan University. Our goal is to maintain a permanent online virtual museum, but ultimately to establish a brick and mortar National Colored Girls Museum.,” said Dubois.

The Colored Girls Museum: Open for Business premieres on Friday with performances at 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.,shows on Saturday at the same time and a 3:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday.  Tickets can be purchased through the Fringe website at fringearts.com 

Artists returning with Dubois from EvictionProof include Denise Allen, Michael Clemmons, Barbara Bullock, Brooke Whitaker and Rhashidah Perry-Jones, to name a For more information about the Colored Girls Museum email thecoloredgirlsmuseum (at) gmail (dot) com.