Philly’s full of creators who’ve flocked to the region for low rents, affordable studio spaces, progressive gallerists and a flourishing community. The longstanding anchors and pillars of the city’s creative class aren’t bad, either. Pack in the art adventuring this summer with these eight recommendations, a mere dip into the shallow end of Philadelphia’s pool of virtuosity. Did we mention most of these places are air-conditioned?
The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Creative Africa”
2600 Ben Franklin Pkwy.
Don’t you roll your eyes. This set of exhibits is beautifully colorful, vibrantly soulful, grand in scope and wildly diverse. Five exhibits in the Perelman Building span architecture, photography, fashion and fine art with a summer-only centerpiece in “Look Again: Contemporary Perspectives in African Art,” which runs from May 14-September 25.
Fleisher/Ollman Gallery with Jayson Musson’s “The Truth In The Song”
Through May 28
1216 Arch St. 5A
Musson’s a local boss, a legend. His artistic accomplishments are wide and delightfully 21st Century in their confluence of medium and interdisciplinary innovation. He’s got jaw-droppingly brilliant YouTube videos analysing postmodern art and now a fabulouscollection of beautiful compositions created primarily with mercerized cotton. They’re like Cosby sweaters through George Seurat’s eyes.
The Print Center hosts Jeffrey Dell and Andrew FIllmore
Through Aug. 8
1614 Latimer St.
The Print Center’s been going strong for 100 years now cultivating and exhibiting an evolving definition of “print.” Dell decidedly works in printmaking and his “Sightings” collection is gorgeous and glowing, inventively riffing on old-school sci-fi imagery. Fillmore’s photography room upstairs, “This Time is Always the Present,” is a show of delicious shots, effortlessly outstanding in their subtlety, artistry and execution.
City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s mural tours and 2016 Wall Ball
Ongoing and May 26
$22-$85 and $25-$500
Varies and The FIllmore, 29 E. Allen St.
You know we have over 3,000 murals. You know many of them are completely rad. Why not pay the city’s mural experts and Philly art experts at Mural Arts to take you on a trolley, train, segway, walking or private tour – consider the love note beauty that transcends across West Philly. Their blowout fundraiser spectacular (and afterparty) is also pretty much the art party of the season.
Arch Enemy Arts: “As Above, So Below” and Caitlin Hackett’s “For Your Bones We Wait”
June 3-July 6
109-111 Arch St.
This low-key shining star is always reliably standard-bearing. They don’t do anything wrong. Their love for pop-surrealism, comic art and urban sensibilities draws in-the-know artists and art editors in droves.
High Tide Gallery and Projects Space’s “Silos, Windmills, Graveyards”
Opens June 11
1850 N. Hope St. 14A
This one’s a bit quirky but only because it’s off the beaten path. This is true artist collective stuff – a group of friends in Kensington who open by appointment and sometimes on Saturdays. They’ve always got work up, but June’s show welcomes photography and sculpture from Sophia Belkin, Matt Kayhoe Brett, Clark Mizono and Izaak Schlossman – some of the best young artists in town.
Vox Populi hosts Jesse Harrod, Julia Staples and Matt Kalasky
Through June 19
319 N. 11th St.
No Philly art list would be complete without Vox. Their Eraserhood grit is as inspiring as it is provocative, leading a local postmodernist charge since 1988.
The Barnes Foundation
Forever and always
2025 Ben Franklin Pkwy.
Their Picasso exhibit’s just closing, but there’s never a bad time for Albert Barne’s collection of modernist masters like van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, Rousseau and Matisse.