The Philadelphia Museum of Art is just one of a slew of arts destinations for First Friday in Philadelphia. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)
On the first Friday of every month, art-loving Philadelphians pour into galleries, museums and neighborhood streets for festive art crawls, receptions and artsy nightlife events all across town.
To mark the advent of February — when we celebrate Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day — soul-warming collaborative exhibitions and events should fill your First Friday dance card.
This month, your best bet might be to make your first stop in the Callowhill neighborhood to celebrate the Asian Arts Initiative’s 20th anniversary, take in new works at Vox Populi and raise a glass to The Beatles at The Trestle Inn. From there, pop up to Fishtown for a speed-dating spin or over to Old City for a show of handmade goods.
Remember, though, the city hosts tons more action on arts corridors in Fishtown, Old City and Manayunk in particular.
Our picks for February’s First Friday, below.
• First Friday! Global Patterns at The Barnes Foundation: The great bastion of Impressionist art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, The Barnes Foundation, invites art aficionados out for a night celebrating its global collections for a First Friday event this month. In addition to taking in the permanent collection and the special exhibition, revelers can enjoy a live musical performance from Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, drink specials and more for one admission price of $25. Tickets are available online.
When: Friday, February 7, 6-10 p.m.
Where: The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
• Art After 5 Mood Indigo: A Harlem Renaissance Retrospective: Every Friday night, art lovers can take in the superb collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in a festive after-dark affair with live music, a cash bar and late hours. This Friday, the museum celebrates the music and culture of the Harlem Renaissance with live music from Dandy Wellington and His Band, who play compositions from the 1920s and 1930s by such iconic artists as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and more. Guided gallery tours are offered throughout the evening, too, and there is no additional charge for performances or guided tours after museum admission.
When: Friday, February 7, 5-8:45 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Great Stair Hall, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Free with museum admission
• Participate: Asian Arts Initiative’s 20th Anniversary Exhibition Opening: For more than two decades, the Asian Arts Initiative has tapped artists to explore multicultural experiences — both of Asian Americans and other communities — via multimedia arts programs, performances, youth workshops, commissions and much more. To celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary, the Asian Arts Initiative presents Participate, a wide-ranging three-part multimedia group show exhibiting two-dimensional works, performance art, video, community-based participatory art and installation opening on Friday, February 7. On view through May 23, there are a slew of public programs planned to engage with the community and encourage public participation. For the complete schedule of events, including The Way Home play-reading series, check here.
When: Friday, February 7, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street
• Come Together Happy Hour at The Trestle Inn: Raise a glass to commemorate The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago at The Trestle Inn this Friday. Shake it like it’s 1964 with punch-fueled go-go dancing before funk, soul and R&B take over on the dance floor at 10 p.m. There’s no cover for the happy hour fun, nor the late-night dance party.
When: Friday, February 7, 6-9 p.m.
Where: The Trestle Inn
Cost: Pay as you go; no cover
More First Friday picks, below.
• Vox Populi February Exhibition Opening: Housed in an art-filled building — galleries Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Napoleon are neighbors — Vox Populi artist collective welcomes a crowd to its February exhibition opening reception. Look for the first solo exhibits from Vox Populi members Maria Dumlao, Jay Muhlin, Erica Prince and Leigh Van Duzer, along with Fourth Wall contributor Sunita Prasad. The shows vary widely in subject — from social media to sexuality — and exemplify the progressive work by up-and-coming artists Vox is well-known for exhibiting.
When: Friday, February 7, 6-11 p.m.
Where: 319 N. 11th Street, 3rd floor
• It’s Just Pizza and Ice Cream Speed-Dating Event at Little Baby’s Ice Cream & Pizza Brain: Hey, what better way to connect with someone new than over pizza and ice cream? Hosted by Josh Agran of The Glotones!, Little Baby’s Ice Cream and Pizza Brain host a night of systematic matchmaking just in time for Cupid’s arrival. The date-sized pizza and ice cream is complimentary for participants, but advance sign-up is mandatory. RSVP to reserve a spot by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a text to Little Baby’s Ice Cream’s Magic 8-Ball service at 267-507-4956. Remember, there are a tons more events, openings, sales and more along the Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor.
When: Friday, February 7, 9 p.m.
Where: Little Baby’s Ice Cream & Pizza Brain, 2311-13 Frankford Avenue
• InLiquid Benefit v.14 Young Friends Opening: This weekend, longtime Crane Arts resident InLiquid, an art and design non-profit organization, throws its annual bash, InLiquid Silent Art Auction and Benefit on Saturday, February 9. For those who just want to take in the awesome artwork preceding the main soiree, hit up the Young Professionals Party during the First Friday gallery openings at the Crane on Friday.
When: Friday, February 7, 6-10 p.m.
Where: Crane Arts Building, 1400 N. American Street
• Hand Work Opening at Art in the Age: In Old City, stop in at Art in the Age to see firsthand a new display of a trio of local makers. In Hand Work, which will be on view through March 31, check out hand-stitched quilts by Carrie Strine, hand-tooled leather goods from River City Leather and handmade beauty goods by Blades Natural Beauty. Libations will be flowing, too, making for a festive affair.
When: Friday, February 6, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Art in the Age, 116 N. 3rd Street