Area Arts

Art in Philadelphia and Surrounding Communities
All information taken from websites. Links are included in the text to learn more.

A nonprofit web-based community, presenting online and real world exhibitions and events; providing opportunities and exposure for contemporary visual artists; and serving as a free public hub for art information, resources and dialogue.
See the Exhibition and Event Guide on for area gallery and museum listings.

Olde City
Located within our country's most historic square mile, Philadelphia's Old City was once a busy commercial waterfront district. By the early 1970’s many of its industrial and warehouse uses gave way to artists’ lofts, and a thriving arts community began to take root. The subsequent restoration and conversion of many historic industrial structures into large residential apartments coincided with an influx of art galleries, design firms, architects and performance groups during the 1980’s and 90’s.

Old City Arts Association
Old City Arts Association was formed in 1991 as the Old City community quickly grew to include galleries of all kinds, as well as theatre companies, artists’ cooperatives, workshops, schools, dance companies, design showrooms, and historic and cultural museums. Today, Old City is an active cultural, dining and shopping district, and one of the most appealing residential neighborhoods in downtown Philadelphia.
Old City Philadelphia is an easy walk from the Pennsylvania Convention Center & many downtown hotels. The Old City neighborhood is small enough to be seen during a brief walking tour but interesting enough to spend several days exploring its many cultural and architectural gems.
Old City Arts Association is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and maintaining Old City as a vital meeting place for arts and culture in Philadelphia.
Phone 800.55.5191 or 215.625.9200
* Download map from website

First Fridays
Hosted by the Old City Arts Association since its 1991 inception, First Friday is a unique cultural event in Philadelphia and one of the city’s most popular evening escapes. Held the first Friday of each month, this arts community “open house” brings together city dwellers and suburbanites, contemporary arts and antique collectors, aficionados of classical and contemporary design, and theater and performance buffs.
The welcoming informality of First Friday attracts crowds of casual browsers as well as buyers to each festive event, with dozens of galleries and cultural organizations of Old City hosting receptions and exhibition openings.
Several parking lots are located conveniently within the Old City Cultural District.
When: The first Friday evening of each month, rain or shine, year-round.
Hours: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Please Note There is no admission fee for First Friday - participating galleries are open to the public. First Friday hours for some Old City Arts members may vary during the summer and on holidays.

Mural Arts Program

Common Threads
, Meg Saligman

"There is no program anywhere that better realizes the potential and value of art to our culture. As much as these murals have contributed to the beautification and revitalization of the City, the Mural Arts Program must be congratulated even more for engaging the youth of Philadelphia."
Edward G. Rendell, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (MAP) started in 1984 as a component of the Anti-Graffiti Network (PAGN), a citywide initiative to eradicate destructive graffiti and address neighborhood blight. As part of this effort, PAGN hired mural artist Jane Golden to reach out to graffiti writers and to redirect their energies to mural making. Mural making not only helped these young men and women develop their artistic skills, but also empowered them to beautify their neighborhoods. In 1996, the City of Philadelphia recognized MAP as a program distinct from the Anti-Graffiti Network. At the same time, MAP established a non-profit organization, The Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates. The Advocates have a broad mission of youth development and neighborhood revitalization through the arts. The Mural Arts Program has produced over 2,700 murals throughout Philadelphia--more murals than any other city in the world. These murals have become a cherished part of the civic landscape and a great source of pride and motivation to the millions of residents and visitors who encounter them each year. Currently, MAP is involved in mural-making and art education throughout the city of Philadelphia. MAP's art education programs target under-served youth at neighborhood sites throughout Philadelphia, both after-school and during the summer. Art education classes use mural making to teach art, promote self-confidence, and foster life and job skills. With professional artists serving as educators and role models, MAP's art education programs serve more than 3,000 youth each year. Art education classes are offered at no fee, ensuring accessibility for all youth. MAP's community murals department works with more than 100 communities each year to create murals that reflect the culture of Philadelphia's neighborhoods. Mural projects often include stabilization of abandoned lots and revitalization of open spaces. MAP's community partners include block captains, neighborhood associations, public schools, community development corporations, local non-profits, and city agencies. MAP strives to coordinate mural projects with existing strategies for community development, thereby leveraging grassroots social capital to build positive momentum and stronger results. Employing over 300 artists each year, MAP is one of the largest employers in Philadelphia's arts community. MAP provides opportunities for artists with a variety of skills to work together to create interesting and beautiful murals. MAP also strives to employ an ethnically diverse group of artists. Drawing on the styles of artists from different cultures, MAP's murals reflect Philadelphia's wonderfully diverse neighborhoods.
Philadelphia is nationally and internationally recognized as America's "City of Murals." Every year more than 5,000 tourists and residents enjoy MAP's mural tours. 
Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
1729 Mount Vernon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Tours are available (see website)

Murals which can be found in public spaces, such as institutions, government buildings, and urban walls are often associated with political or social expression.  They are created with the intention of spreading a message.  Mural art has a rich history and is often known as Art for the People.  

The Philadelphia works we have looked at have shown us art that is created in efforts to combat violence, honor/memorialize the dead/wounded, to unify cultures/religions and to build trust in a community.

Discuss the following questions in your journals:
Why is art created?, What is the significance of the murals you have viewed?, Do you feel that the murals beautify the city or pollute it?

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
1020 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147   

The Mosaic Murals of Isaiah Zagar
"...what could be called a life's work making the city of Philadelphia PA... into a labyrinthine mosaic museum..."

(A workshop I took the pleasuring in participating in :-) )

Film: In a Dream, directed by Jeremiah Zagar, 2008

Jeremiah Zagar: "We lived in a dream world that my father and mother built together, made out of tile and mirror, paint, concrete and a deep family mythology."  Read more in this Q&A

In a Dream answers many questions about art and life.  It not only shows Zagar's work but reveals intimate aspects of  his life which plays a large role in the creation of artworks.  In this film you see how art is personal.  Isaiah Zagar anwers the question why make art? when he states: “All my artwork is a journal of my life” Read more here.

Take a moment to reflect on the film.  Write it down in your journals.

Museum Without Walls

Other Area Museums

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 26th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Woodmere Art Museum
9201 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Corner of Germantown Avenue and Bells Mill Road in Chestnut Hill

The Barnes Foundation
The Barnes in Merion is Temporarily Closed. The Barnes Galleries and Arboretum are temporarily closed in preparation for the
relocation of the art collection to the new Philadelphia campus. The Barnes in
Philadelphia will open in Spring 2012. Tickets will go on sale in February 2012 to
Members and March 2012 to the general public.

Film: The Art of the Steal, Directed by Don Argott, 2010, 101 min.

Glencairn Museum
1001 Cathedral Rd 
Bryn Athyn, PA 19006
(267) 502-2600
See website:

Sculpture Nearby:
Rodin Museum
The Rodin Museum, which opened to the public in 1929, houses 124 sculptures, including bronze casts of the artist's greatest works: The Thinker, perhaps the most famous sculpture in the world; The Burghers of Calais, his most heroic and moving historical tribute; Eternal Springtime, one of the most powerful works dealing with human love; powerful monuments to leading French intellectuals such as Apotheosis of Victor Hugo; and the culminating creation of his career, The Gates of Hell, on which the artist worked from 1880 until his death in 1917.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street
P.O. Box 7646
Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646 
(215) 568-6026

Public Art: Sculpture in the City
Love Park
Robert Indiana's 1978 "Love" sculpture
John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Claes Oldenburg, 1976
North side of Market at 15th

Swann Memorial Fountain
Alexander Stirling Calder, 1924
Memorial to Dr. Wilson Cary Swann
Center of the circle Logan Square. 19th and the Parkway

Check out
for more public sculpture in the city

Grounds for Sculpture
exhibits works by well-known and emerging contemporary sculptors in the museum buildings and landscaped sculpture park.
18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, NJ 08619
(609) 586-0616

Personal Connections
Holy Family Art Gallery Schedule

9/2-9/29           Alison Willse
Reception:        Tuesday, 9/13 5-7 pm

10/4-10/29       Eric Fausnacht
Reception         Tuesday,10/11 5-7 pm
11/2-11/29       Theresa Pfarr
                        Betwixt and Between
Reception         Tuesday, 11/29 5-7 pm

12/2-1/8/2012  Four From Moore-group exhibition
Reception         Tuesday, 12/6 5-7pm

1/11-1/30         Kevin Mullavey
Reception         Tuesday 1/17 6-8pm

2/2-2/28           Betsy Casanas
Reception         Tuesday 2/7 6-8 pm

3/12-3/18                     Senior Exhibition
Reception                     Tuesday 3/13 6-8 pm

3/21-3/29                     Senior Exhibition
Reception                     Tuesday 3/27 6-8 pm

4/2-4/9                         Senior Exhibition
Reception                     Tuesday 4/13 6-8 pm

4/12-4/18                     Senior Exhibition
Reception                     Tuesday 4/17 6-8 pm

4/21-4/30                     Senior Exhibition
Reception                     Tuesday 4/24 6-8 pm

Orchard Artworks
520 Tomlinson Road
Bryn Athyn, PA  19009

Gallery Hours:  Fri. & Sta.  10am-4pm, Sun. 1-4pm
Monthly shows, Opening Receptions on Sundays, 1-4pm

Art Classes for Children & Adults- see website

Seeking Artists, Craftsman and Instructors for Co-op Gallery- see website

The Gershman Y
A Community Center for Arts and Culture showcasing Jewish culture and identity and welcoming people of all ages and cultures to enjoy and learn.

401 S Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA  19147

The Borowsky and Open Lens Galleries
Open 9:00am- 5:00pm, Mon.- Sun., Holiday exceptions

Home of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

See Arts and Culture Events and Classes on website

Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia PA
215.922.3456 x. 300
215.922.3456 x. 318

Current Exhibitions:

See Website for Children and Adult Art Classes 

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