What to see in Philadelphia

What to see in Philadelphia

Everyone knows Philadelphia as the city with the nickname the “City of Brotherly Love”, not to mention the place where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were born, as well as the home of the Liberty Bell, the Flyers, Phillies, Eagles, the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich … and Rocky Balboa. In this article we focus on the what to see in Philadelphia!


However, Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), noted that in 2012, over 39 million tourists made Philadelphia an attractive destination not only for the above attributes, but also because of its European-style flair. “It has a French influence to it, with a hometown/small town feel to it as well,” she said. “Which is why Philadelphia is one of the most successful U.S. destinations for Canadian tourists.”

Last month, representatives from the GPTMC hosted a group of Montreal-based journalists and travel writers to a special reception at the award-winning Hotel St. Sulpice in Old Montreal. Their mission: to help promote Philadelphia as an ideal destination for Montreal tourists in 2014 with some new “destination definers”. To help them with this mission, the GPTMC brought along with them representatives from five major Philadelphia arts and culture institutions to show that Philly is also a highly-regarded city of the arts, in which many of its art museums are situated in close proximity to each other on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the city’s downtown area.

So if you want to combine a little bit of arts with history on your visit to Philadelphia in 2014, check out these cultural attractions:

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is best known for its staircase and exterior, which were used to great effect in the “Rocky” movies. However, its interior – with a collection boasting over 227,000 works of art — will be offering several new exhibitions throughout next year. “Michael Snow: Photo-Centric” (February 1-April 27), will showcase the multidisciplinary works of the influential experimental filmmaker; “Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty” (March 2 – May 26), will feature over 150 items that portray life in the “Hermit Kingdom” of Korea’s Joseon dynasty between 1392 and 1910; “Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love” (May-October) will show the works of the late American-born, Paris-based fashion designer who was known for his fashion designs that pushed racial and cultural boundaries.

The Barnes Foundation Museum will feature selected works of Nigerian-British artist Yinka Shonibare and how they reflect race, slavery, authenticity and commerce in “Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders” (January 25 – April 21); and French Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne and his famed still life canvasses are the subject of the upcoming exhibition “The World is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cezanne” (June 14 – September 22).

For over 125 years, the Penn Museum has become an internationally renowned museum dedicated to archaeology, anthropology and the history of humanity. Aficionados of ancient Egypt will enjoy the exhibition “In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies” which runs until August 2014; over a century of historical posters, and how Africans and African Americans were portrayed in them, is the subject of the exhibition “Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster”, which runs until Match 2, 2014; and starting March 1, an important exhibition with 250 objects from the museum’s vast collection will tell the story of how Native Americans achieved success as sovereign, self-governing Nations in “Native American Voices: The People – Here and Now”.

Since 1924, the Curtis Institute of Music has trained some the finest musical talents that ever graced concert halls and symphony orchestras (one of its famous alumni is conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein). With an annual student body of 168 that represents 13 countries (and with tuition free), the Curtis is seen as one of the elite music schools in the world. To see how these students are developing their musical skills and talents, the public gets the chance to experience these budding world-class musicians with a series of up to 100 free public performances (in which some of the highlights are compiled in a CD every year). In fact, those gathered at the Montreal reception were treated to a live solo performance by Curtis student Nador Khashimov, who was a vivid testimony to the school’s rich musical legacy.

And while we’re on the subject of classical music, a video greeting by the Philadelphia Orchestra ‘s Montreal-born music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin was presented at the reception as a way to promote the orchestra’s upcoming 2014 schedule, including a month of Tchaikovsky in January, and a performance of Stravinksy’s monumental “The Firebird” in February and March.

And for those who want a sure sign of spring, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Flower Show – going on strong for over 185 years – will combine flowers, gardens and landscapes with art and culture in their 2014 edition entitled “ARTiculture”. Running from March 1 – 9 at the Philadelphia Convention Centre, the flower show will celebrate the artistic side of everything horticultural, including an exhibition at the entrance of the show’s 10-acre site that will pay tribute to Philadelphia-born sculptor Alexander Calder and his internationally recognized mobiles.

To find out more about how revolutionary your arts and culture trip to Philadelphia can be in 2014, check out their website at www.visitphilly.com.

Stuart Nulman
By: Stuart Nulman – [email protected]

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