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City’s Vast & Vibrant Art Scene Makes Every Day A Colorful Day

 Credit: Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

On the First Friday of every month, Old City gallery owners open their doors for a lively evening of new exhibitions and free refreshments. Credit: Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC


PHILADELPHIA, December 7, 2012 – Philadelphia’s vast and vibrant art scene boasts daily, weekly, monthly and annual events that keep the culture calendar packed. Here are some of the recurring events making Philly a year-round visual arts destination:


Tour Time:

-  The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program offers a variety of tours of the city’s more than 3,600 indoor and outdoor murals. Tour-goers can see the city’s colorful walls during a mile-long audio walking tour of Center City, trolley tours through diverse neighborhoods and the Love Letter tour, which uses the Market-Frankford Line as its mode of transportation—just to name a few. Most tours depart from the Mural Arts at The Gallery location, complete with a ticket office, exhibit space and retail store. 901 Market Street, level 2, (215) 925-3633,

-  Museum Without Walls: AUDIO gives people an engaging and fun way to experience 51 outdoor sculptures along Kelly Drive and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway anytime they want. Both art enthusiasts and recreational passersby can listen to three-minute segments for free by using their cell phones, via the program’s free mobile app or as audio downloads or streaming audio from the website. About 100 people personally connected to the works reveal the untold stories of the public art. (215) 399-9000,

-  Over two weekends in October, Philadelphia artists open their studios to the public for Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. Gallery-goers meet artists, explore their workplaces, discuss their processes and, of course, buy their art. October 5-6, 19-20.


Special Programs & Events:

-  Art lovers can feed both their minds and their stomachs during the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ (PAFA) brown-bag Art-at-Lunch program, featuring free discussions and lectures on most Wednesdays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. And on select Thursday nights, patrons enjoy festive adult beverages and eclectic art programs during PAFA After Dark. 118 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600,

-  Every Friday night, the Philadelphia Museum of Art turns down the lights and turns up the music for Art After 5. Starting at 5:00 p.m., bands perform an eclectic mix of international or jazz music while guests enjoy cocktails, food and renowned art, of course. And beginning in February 2013, the museum will stay open late on Wednesday nights as well. 26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100,

- Friday Nights at the Barnes offers a lively mix of music, lectures and tastings from destinations around the world, including Asia, South America and Spain, to name a few. The event runs weekly from 6:00-10:00 p.m.; programming confirmed through March 2013. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7000,

-  The First Friday of every month, the galleries in the city’s Old City neighborhood open their doors to the public to unveil new exhibits and celebrate independent art over drinks and snacks. Because of the event’s popularity, other neighborhoods have instituted similar nights—Frankford Avenue First Friday (Northern Liberties),Manayunk First Friday and East Passyunk Avenue Second Saturday.


Art Shows & Sales:

-  Art buyers can find new works for their home or office and do some good at the same time when they purchase pieces at ArtUnleashed, a University of the Arts fundraiser featuring more than 1,000 prints, ceramics, sculptures, photography, crafts, sculptures, paintings, drawings, furniture and jewelry from students, faculty and recent alumni. April 11-13. Dorrance Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street,

-  Vendors of fine arts and ceramics, folk art, period furniture and jewelry come from across the country for The Philadelphia Antiques Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. April 13-15. 12th & Arch Streets,

-  Every spring, the bars, restaurants and shops in the Fairmount neighborhood turn into galleries for the Fairmount Arts Crawl. In 2012, more than 30 businesses host more than 70 exhibits, in addition to live music, dancing, kids’ activities and live demonstrations. April 28.

-  Art lovers in the market for the work of emerging stars look forward to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ Annual Student Exhibition all year. The show, in its 112th year, includes paintings, sculptures and prints by the undergraduate and graduate students at this highly respected institution. May 10-June 2. 128 N. Broad Street,

-  For two days every May, the Northern Liberties boutique Art Star hosts the Art Star Craft Bazaar, where shoppers can nab works from artists and craftspeople from around the country. Mid-May 2013. Penn’s Landing Great Plaza, Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street,

-  For more than 80 years, the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show, sponsored by the Fairmount Park Art Association, has brought great artworks to the great outdoors, right in Center City. More than 140 artists from around the wor
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