Ai Weiwei, Famed Chinese Artist/Activist, Is Coming to Philadelphia

Ai Weiwei

Photo courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

The Mural Arts Program announced on Wednesday that world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei, known as much for his clashes with the Chinese government as his artwork, will be coming to Philadelphia as part of Monument Lab.

Monument Lab is a Mural Arts project in which artists will create 10 pop-up art installations in Philadelphia’s parks this fall. Per a release, Monument Lab will “engage diverse artists to explore Philadelphia’s identity through temporary public art projects, a bold update to monument-making aligned to the needs and opportunities of the present day. Through the process it will foster connection, shared understanding, and in some cases healing, through robust public engagement and programs.”

The exhibitions will take place September 16th through November 19th. Read more »

20 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend

The Theater of Life mural by Meg Saligman. © 2002 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Photo by Jack Ramsdale

The Theater of Life mural by Meg Saligman. © 2002 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Photo by Jack Ramsdale

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

Mural Arts Month Kickoff Party @ Snyder Plaza
Mural Arts Philadelphia opens Mural Arts Month with a party at Snyder Plaza, where four new murals are up as part of the Murals at Swanson Walk, while I see how many times I can write “mural.” DJ Cash Money, Cosmo Baker, Gun$ Garcia and DJ Royale will provide the dance music and circus artists from Circadium will be performing.

Damon Wayans Jr. @ Punch Line Philly
Coach from New Girl, who’s the younger generation of the Wayans family of actors/comedians (In Living Color, Scary Movie, White Chicks, and so on) — and looks so very, very much like his dad — performs at Punch Line on Friday and Saturday. You also know him from the TV show Happy Endings.

Parks on Tap @ Lemon Hill
It’s last call for roving beer garden Parks on Tap, so head to the Lemon Hill mansion in Fairmount Park to drink outdoors with city and river views. Parks on Tap will be there through Sunday. Read more »

Mural Arts Month Kicks Off With a South Philly Dance Party

Artist Isaac Lin creating a new piece of public art at the Murals at Swanson Walk, South Philadelphia. Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts Philadelphia

Artist Isaac Lin creating a new piece of public art at the Murals at Swanson Walk, South Philadelphia. Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts Philadelphia

In a city with almost 4,000 murals, it makes sense that we’d have a month set aside for looking at them. The newly rebranded Mural Arts Philadelphia is organizing nearly 30 events for Mural Arts Month in October around the theme “Risk and Roots,” including a party this Friday, September 30th, to kick things off.

The open-to-the-public party is happening at Snyder Plaza, at Snyder Avenue and Swanson Street in South Philly, where four new murals are up and more are planned. DJ Cash Money, Cosmo Baker, Gun$ Garcia and DJ Royale will provide the dance music, circus artists from Circadium will perform, and there will, of course, be food trucks. It’s free to attend, but it would be awfully nice if you donated $5. Read more »

The Electric Street Mural Dedication is Tonight in South Philly

Photo courtesy of Streets Dept

Photo courtesy of Streets Dept

Electric Street Mural Dedication @ Percy Street | Wednesday, August 17
Mural Arts usually sticks with paint for the many, many murals around town, but on a block of Percy Street in South Philly the look is a little different. Just south of 9th and Wharton, there’s a very cool neon art installation from artist David Guinn and lighting designer Drew Billiau, with funding from Mural Arts and the Knight Foundation. The dedication for the mural of sorts, dubbed “Electric Street,” is Wednesday, with food, music and possibly some insight into a multi-phase “Percy Street Project” Guinn mentioned on Instagram. Check out StreetsDept.com‘s photos of the installation here.

Read more »

An Electric Light Mural Just Arrived in South Philly

A light installation titled “Electric Street” just arrived in South Philly, and it looks exactly how it sounds.

The mural is the brainchild of artist David Guinn and lighting designer Drew Billiau, and it’s up and ready to view on Percy Street, just south of 9th and Wharton streets. Streets Dept.’s Conrad Benner has pinned the location on Google maps, since it’s a little difficult to find.

Read more »

DNC Host Committee Unveils Bold Broad Street Beautification Project

A rendering of a colorful mural that will be installed on the median of South Broad Street between City Hall and Washington Avenue.

A rendering of the mural “14 Movements: A Symphony of Color and Words” by Mat Tomezsko.

Broad Street will be much more colorful than usual during the Democratic National Convention. The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the DNC, in collaboration with The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), announced today a beautification project on the city’s main thoroughfare. Installation begins today, June 20th, and is expected to be completed in time for the DNC. Read more »

15 Outstanding Philly Arts Moments in 2015

Ticket arts writers weigh in on what they think are the most important local arts moments of 2015. 

best-philly-arts-moments-lisette-opressa

Lisette Oropesa’s in Opera Philly’s “Traviata”

Brava, Diva!

It’s been a banner year generally for Opera Philadelphia, but Lisette Oropesa’s Violetta in Traviata (her first performance of the role) was special. The beautiful young soprano met every vocal demand — fiendishly difficult as they may have been – and acted it superbly. Opera lovers around the world pay attention to debuting Violettas – the great ones are so rare. Here in Philly, we found one. —David Fox

Philadelphia Film Society Saves the Prince

The gorgeous Prince Theater seemed to be in quite a bit of limbo: The resident production company had vacated a number of years ago, and their presentations were random at best. With PFS purchasing the building, the theater has becoming a bustling hub not only for movies (it’s now the only mainstream movie theater in Center City) but performing arts, and their Razz Room is hosting some of the hottest NYC cabaret acts around. —Bryan Buttler

Read more »

Philly Blogger Curates Amazon’s First Series of Artist Prints

Local art blogger RJ Rushmore is behind Amazon's new Fine Art venture.

Local art blogger RJ Rushmore is behind Amazon’s new Fine Art venture.

Over the weekend, Amazon launched an online gallery showcasing limited-edition prints from seven international street artists. They’ll be available for purchase starting December 7th.

This is the mega online retailer’s first foray into commissioning and selling one-of-a-kind works of art. I know what you may be thinking: Amazon choosing to begin with street artists was a bit presumptuous, considering the art form and commercialism don’t exactly go hand in hand, but organizers were smart enough to hire a curator who could bring some credibility to the project while still being able to cull a group of artists who could attract buyers.

That guy was RJ Rushmore, a Haverford College graduate, creator of street art blog Vandalog, and co-founder of a great new gallery space in Fishtown called LMNL. For his day job, he serves as social media and marketing manager at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

Read more »

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