There’s a 900-Pound Gorilla Sculpture Made Out of Car Hoods at Philadelphia Zoo

"Blue Gorilla" by Don Kennell

“Blue Gorilla” by Don Kennell

The Philadelphia Zoo is home to a whole new crew of creatures, thanks to a new exhibit comprising animal sculptures made with recycled, renewed, reused and repurposed materials.

“Second Nature: Junk Rethunk” is on display now at the Zoo. Twelve artists from across the globe got together to make the 70 eco-friendly artworks that are made out of everything from burned-out spark plugs and recycled plastic bottles to wads of chewing gum.

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New Sculpture Erected Along Schuylkill River Trail

Photo by Margot Berg  / Creative Philadelphia

Photo by Margot Berg / Creative Philadelphia

Joggers, roller-bladers and that one woman who skips along the Schuylkill River trail will notice a new sculpture marking their path.

“Air,” a work by Philadelphia sculptor Walker Hancock was erected after a $30,000 renovation. It had been sitting in storage since 1999, when the Civic Center, where it was initially erected, was destroyed. More on its history from Newsworks:

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These Miniature Sculptures by Philly-Based Artist Are Too Cute for Words


Images via Mackenzie McAlpin

The latest objects to get the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids treatment? These adorable — and crazily collectible — sculptures by Philly artist Mackenzie McAlpin. The precious miniatures are recreations of some of our favorite normal-sized objects (think pancakes and syrup). They’re the best kind of nicknack because they don’t take up too much space. Are they exceedingly functional? Not quite, but they still pack a visual punch when tidily clustered or sprinkled upon a shelf.

Select a sampling of the quirky minis from the recently-launched site of McAlpin. It’s stocked to the brim with scaled-down mugs, planters and tacos. (So. Good.) Smitten yet? We’re already brainstorming desk arrangements.  Read more »

Check Out This Beautiful Graffiti Made Out of Silk

You might know Aubrie Costello from her day job as store manager of Bus Stop. But when she’s not at the Queen Village boutique, she’s creating incredible art installations on the walls of residential homes, in store windows, and for galleries. She refers to her work as ‘silk graffiti,’ but it’s far more subtle than what we typically think of when we think of graffiti. Her pieces are haunting phrases, quotes or simple words, rendered in looping strips of shredded silk that she tacks to the wall with nails.  Read more »

Carré d’artistes New Philly Location Makes Original World-Class Artwork Accessible

Nadia Martina Michelin, one of the artists currently featured at Carré d'artistes.

Nadia Martina Michelin, one of the artists currently featured at Carré d’artistes.

Carré d’artistes is a known name across the pond in Europe, but for most Philadelphians, the new gallery that opened at 104 South 13th Street in what felt like warp speed may seem like a strange, foreign concept. However, all reservations are swept away once you walk inside the charming, streamlined space. Read more »

Philanthropy Friday: Leeway Foundation

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: the Leeway Foundation, which supports women and trans* artists and cultural producers working in communities at the intersection of art, culture, and social change. 

Denise Brown, executive director of the Leeway Foundation.

Denise Brown, executive director of the Leeway Foundation. | Photo by Noelle Theard

Who are you? Denise Brown, executive director of the Leeway Foundation. Through grantmaking and other programs, Leeway promotes artistic expression that amplifies the voices of those on the margins, promotes sustainable and healthy communities, and works in the service of movements for economic and social justice. Leeway believes that art can bridge difference, center those who have been on the margins, and challenge and connect communities and individuals to live in peaceful coexistence.

When was Leeway founded? Leeway Foundation began in 1993 as an organization dedicated to supporting women artists in the Philadelphia area.  In the late 1990s, Leeway’s leadership grew its commitment to art as a means of helping achieve social change. Over the past ten years, Leeway’s donor family, its Board of Directors, staff, and Advisory Council worked to transform the Foundation in several remarkable ways. They engaged people of color in positions of influence, and committed to a process of dismantling racism in organizational relationships, practices, policies, and programs. They moved decision-making power from a single-family member structure to a board comprised of people from the community, and committed to an active framework of personal and political transformation.  They expanded Leeway’s mission to support both women and trans people who make art as a means for transforming individuals and communities.

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PA Artist Painted Monica Lewinsky Reference in Bill Clinton Portrait

Bill Clinton portrait hanging at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. | Size-altered photo from Hrag Vartanian on Flickr

Bill Clinton portrait hanging at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. | Size-altered photo from Hrag Vartanian on Flickr

Philly-area painter Nelson Shanks has said yes to the dress. News is getting out that, in a 2006 portrait of former President Bill Clinton, the painter included a reference to Monica Lewinsky’s famed Gap dress that made headlines in the ’90s for its unfortunate stain.

“If you look at the left-hand side of it, there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things,” the painter told the Daily News. “It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.”

The painting now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in D.C., from which, he claims (and the gallery denies), the Clintons have been lobbying to have it removed. More on the story here.

Two Hidden Cézanne Sketches Found at the Barnes Foundation

Photo courtesy of Barnes Foundation

Photo courtesy of Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation is known for their collection of impressionist and early modern artwork, including 69 pieces of work by Cézanne. Well, now make that 71. In the process of conserving some of Cézanne’s watercolors, the Barnes Foundation discovered two previously undocumented Cézanne sketches that were covered by brown paper and stashed within the frame. According to Barbara Buckley, the Barnes Foundation’s senior director of conservation and chief painting conservator, “we’ve had [the watercolors] out of frames before. But the backs were covered with brown paper. That’s one of the reasons they were sent [for conservation]. Brown paper is very acidic and they needed acid-free paper.” After the brown paper was taken off the work of Trees (c. 1900), the conservators at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia found a black and white sketch of a house with part of the Toile range that Cézanne frequented while sketching and painting. The conservators also discovered on the back of  Chaine de l’Etoile Mountains (c. 1885 or 1886) an unfinished sketching of trees. The piece was laid down by pencil with color added on top.

A Barnes spokeswoman states, “as part of our educational mission, we felt it was important for the public to see these.” L’Etoile, Trees, and the two discovered pieces of art will be on a special display for eight weeks in an education room.

These Custom Woodcut Maps of Philly Are Surprisingly Gorgeous

Image via Philly Love Notes

Image via Philly Love Notes

If the idea of wooden art calls to mind whittled bears from tree stumps or a Ron Swanson-crafted harp, think again. Emma Fried-Cassorla, the brains behind Philly Love Notes (and ThinkFest speaker!), is selling stunning, customizable wooden maps of Philly neighborhoods. Minimalist and completely un-kitschy, the maps are perfect late V-Day gifts, or just an excuse to treat yourself.

Click here for shopping info.

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