Mention Philadelphia, and most people will talk about the Liberty Bell, Philly Cheesesteaks and the Philadelphia Flyers. While it’s absolutely true that Philadelphia is a great town for history, food and sport, what a lot of people from other parts of the country do not realize is just how much wonderful art you can see here. So, let’s explore some of the best art venues in the City of Brotherly Love.
Any trip to Philadelphia needs to include a stop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This is located in a number of buildings, including the incredibly impressive Main Building and the Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Perelman Building nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is one of the largest museums in the United States, home to more than 200 separate galleries and 227,000 works of art. The museum is comprehensive, with art from Europe, the United States, Latin America and Asia. Here you will see every type of art imaginable, including sculptures, paintings, textiles, photography and architecture. In addition to Asian pieces dating back to the third millennium BC, you will also find a huge array of modern art – and everything in between. Among the more notable recent acquisitions are The Fisherman’s Village at L’Estaque by Paul Cezanne, and The Trial of the Bow by N.C. Wyeth – one of the greatest illustrators that America has ever produced.
For something completely different, take a trip to Mural Mile. This isn’t actually a museum, but instead is a collection of murals painted in the center of the city. They reflect Philadelphia culture, adorning outside walls throughout the area. If you are looking for something completely nontraditional and yet deeply moving, then this is something you should not miss.
To experience American art at its best, pay a visit to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts located on North Broad Street. The museum is primarily dedicated to paintings and sculptures from the 19th and 20th century, featuring both permanent collections and special exhibitions. In addition, there are a wide range of modern artworks from artists in the Philadelphia region. Uniquely, the Academy is not just a museum, but is also a renowned art school – so there’s a good chance that some of the pieces that you see may have actually been created at the museum.
If you are a fan of contemporary art, then drop in to the Institute of Contemporary Art on South 36th Street. This is part of the University of Pennsylvania, and puts on exhibitions that change throughout the year. The Institute has been a fixture in Philadelphia since 1963, and offers a number of public programs in addition to its exhibitions. These include things such as lectures on fine arts, as well as public discussions by art panels featuring some of the luminaries of contemporary art. If you are on a budget, then you’ll be glad to know that all public events at the Institute are completely free.