This year's 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights is being recognized in Philadelphia with special events, exhibits, performances and programs throughout the city. Two programs this spring examine freedom of expression. The first is "Paul Robeson/I Shall Be Heard: The Search for Expression," which takes place Tuesday through April 9. The festival features an international symposium, workshops, a film festival, poetry contest and monthlong programs and exhibits. The second event is the Freedom of Expression Weekend at America's First Zoo on April 27 and 28. Hands-on activities, such as building a flag sculpture, painting a freedom of expression mural and meeting patriot characters, are designed to teach children and their parents more about the First Amendment. For information, call (215) 636-1666.
As part of the Bill of Rights celebration the Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition of works by Henry Ossawa Tanner through April 14. Tanner, who lived and studied in Philadelphia, is considered one of the nation's foremost African-American artists. The exhibition includes his most famous painting, "The Banjo Lesson," along with more than 90 other paintings and 20 drawings spanning the artist's 50-year career. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call (215) 787-5431.
The works and life of America's first mystery writer, Edgar Allan Poe, will be spotlighted during the first Poe Mystery Weekend Friday through next Sunday in Cape May, N.J.
The weekend begins with a welcoming reception Friday evening at the Wilbraham Mansion and Inn. On Saturday afternoon there will be a self-guided tour through Cape May's inns. Participants can test their knowledge of Poe's works by checking out clues found at each of the inns that represent scenes from a Poe story. Tickets cost $18 and will be available that day at Carroll Villa. In the evening a dinner will be held at Elaine's Victorian Inn, followed by a one-man performance titled "Poe: The Myth of Mystery." Sunday's agenda includes a film and in-depth discussion, led by Jeff Jerome, director of the Poe House in Baltimore. The talk will take place at the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May and will be followed by afternoon tea. Walking tours of the historic district and admission to the Cape May Point Lighthouse are included in the weekend package.
For information, call the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, (609) 884-5404.