With so much happening on Philadelphia’s arts and culture scene, we want to make Uwishunu, in conjunction with sister site With Art Philadelphia, your one-stop-shop for all that’s happening with local art.
Every month, we gather our top art picks, featuring exhibits and events at smaller, alternative galleries and art spaces, as well as at the city’s major art institutions.
Falling leaves don’t always have to indicate falling expectations.
Transition into autumn with our top picks for arts happenings in September.
Bill Viola: Ocean Without a Shore: Ongoing, PAFA, 118-128 N. Broad Street. To find the human spirit in technology, you might have to dig a little deeper than watching Bender save the world in a Futurama rerun. PAFA’s recently acquired video installation takes you on a ride through the inner and outer universe as interpreted by American artist Bill Viola.
The Way of Chopsticks: Opening September 1, Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street. The Philadelphia Art Alliance’s three-story mansion receives a temporary facelift, as Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen translate it into a contemporary Chinese household. Using chopsticks as a metaphor for familial support, the artists sculpt their way into an understanding of the evolution of culture and society in modern-day China.
Parthenon on the Parkway: Tuesday, September 3, 2:30 p.m., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 20th Street and the Parkway. Visit the art museum, but whatever you do don’t go inside. At least, not until you take a walking tour of the East Terrace. With so much more to offer than the Rocky steps, there are worlds of architecture and sculpture to explore.
This Is Water: Opening September 5, JAG Gallery, 1538 Pine Street. Trapped somewhere between the cerebral reality of Rod Serling and the dreamscapes of Salvador Dali, you’ll find yourself stranded in the between-place of nightmare and myth. Jonathan Langfield captures the travels of lonely wanders in a series of paintings trapped on the magical border between promise and decay.
Fauna: Opening September 6, The Clay Studio, 137-139 N. Second Street. If an animal’s not fluffy and cuddly, can it still be lovable? The Clay Studio answers with a resounding yes, thanks to porcelain figures, fine dinnerware, and other objects celebrating the form and fascination of creatures wild and domestic.
Creating Ensembles: Friday, September 6, 8-9 p.m., Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It’s time to take your interior decorating skills beyond those Feng Shui videos on Youtube. Learn the art of arranging spaces inspired by the technique Dr. Barnes used in assembling his art collection. You’ll be juggling environmental elements into impressive displays in no time.
Portraits of Age: Opening September 8, Gravers Lane Gallery, 8405 Germantown Avenue. Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Sinatra understood the importance of strangers – on a train and in the night. A passing face can leave an indelible impression on your life, and the show at Gravers Lane captures these moments in sketch-like paintings rendered out of oil and memory.
Jennifer the Unspecial: Time Travel, Love Potions, and 8th Grade: September 13-14, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street. Fringe Arts takes a note from Tom Hanks and Jennifer Garner with a performance that blends time travel and early adolescence. While there’s no creepy Zoltar machine, the play does promise appearances by Shakespeare and Da Vinci, as the 12-year-old protagonist becomes lost in history – only to find herself.
The National Poster Retrospecticus: Opening September 14, Masthead Print Studio, 737 N. Fourth Street. If your first experience with art involved covering your dorm walls with James Dean and indie bands, then this exhibit will bring you back to your college days. 250 event posters by some of the top poster designers in the country will show you that not all art comes in a frame.
Lehigh Avenue Arts Festival: Saturday, September 14, 12-8 p.m., 2531 E. Lehigh Avenue. If every scholarship fundraiser came with the promise of a moon bounce and face painting, we’d probably all go to school for free. Luckily, the Portside Arts Center gets it right, along with over 65 artisan vendors, food trucks, and live local music.
Jeff: Coffins and Cages: Opening September 18, La Salle University Art Museum, 1900 West Olney Avenue. Unless you’re a Tarantino character or Dracula, the similarity between coffins and cages is pretty apparent. Escape into and out of themes of entrapment and mortality with the current work on display at La Salle. Lectures by a Princeton professor and an Eastern State Pen researcher serve to sweeten the deal.
Pearl Street Block Party: Saturday, September 28, 2-5 p.m., Pearl Street between 12th and 13th Streets. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of art fairs and festivals popping up in Philly, then pop over to Pearl Street for something off the beaten track. At the community feast presented by the Asian Arts Initiative, experience interactive furniture building while sipping on free drinks from the mobile tea cart.