Author: Nicole C. Maloy, W’95
One day, during my freshman year, I was sketching one of the beautiful trees in front of my new home, Du Bois College House. Another student saw me, stopped, looked at my sketchbook and said, “You’re an artist? I thought you were in Wharton.” This is a true story.
Rather than take this moment to address our long and unfortunate history of school-based stereotyping, I will focus on my current endeavors to make art as big a part of my life as it once was. I am taking better advantage of my resources here in Philadelphia, starting with a course at Fleisher Art Memorial, which is dedicated to making art education available to anyone who wants it. My membership there comes with free admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which I always love to visit; each time I go, I realize that I need to go more often. Seriously, any museum that houses both French Impressionism and medieval weaponry is alright with me. I have finally visited the Barnes Foundation, and the collection there is just jaw-dropping. I was overwhelmed anew as I entered each room. And how can anyone mention Philadelphia and art without highlighting the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program? No tickets required. Just turn a corner and enjoy what you see.
If you are interested in the visual arts – making it, gazing at it, or both – are you taking advantage of what your city has to offer you? If not, it is never too late to start! Here are a few treats for those living in, or visiting, Philadelphia.
- The mission of the Fleisher Art Memorial is to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience. Extra incentive: tuition-free classes for kids and adults.
- As one of the largest museums in the United States, the Philadelphia Museum of Art invites visitors from around the world to explore its renowned collections, acclaimed special exhibitions, and enriching programs, both in person and online. Extra incentive: first Sunday of each month: Pay what you wish all day (10 AM-5 PM). Museum visiting info here.
- Celebrated for its exceptional breadth, depth, and quality, the Barnes Foundation’s art collection includes works by some of the greatest European and American masters of impressionism, post-impressionist, and early modern art, as well as African sculpture, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American textiles, metalwork, and more. Extra incentive: free first Sundays 1-6 PM – registration required. Additional details here.
- The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. Since it began, the Mural Arts Program has produced over 3,000 murals which have become a cherished part of the civic landscape and a great source of inspiration to the millions of residents and visitors who encounter them each year. It’s already free to observe, so extra incentive in this case involves learning more about it. Take a tour.
I would be remiss not to include Lisa Marie’s Frankly Penn post on Penn’s own Institute of Contemporary Art, so check it out!