10+ Can’t-Miss Art Exhibitions & Events In Philadelphia This December

Stunning light installations, painting masterworks, experimental art and more...

Winter is a time for beauty in Philadelphia, from the quiet of a light snowfall to a cozy night by a bar’s fireplace. This December, that beauty extends to the city’s art museums and galleries.

Winter fountains made of animated light have silently sprung to life along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Some galleries start to say goodbye with their final exhibitions, while others celebrate a long history with anniversary celebrations.

Find your winter beauty with our top picks for arts happenings this December in Philadelphia.

2017 20x20 Powered by PechaKucha Night

At PechaKucha, presenters show 20 slides for 20 seconds each on a chosen topic, with one evening covering a whole range of interesting themes. Da Vinci Art Alliance plays host to a regular series of PechaKucha nights at its South Philadelphia gallery space, complete with food and drinks. December promises sushi, sake and topics that range from therapeutic creation to urban development in Philadelphia.

2017 20x20 Powered by PechaKucha Night

When:Sunday, December 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where:Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine Street

www.davinciartalliance.org

Speech/Acts

ICAPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

How does language shape the way we see our everyday reality? One exhibition seeks to do more than just answer that question and break the word barriers we construct for ourselves around conversations about race and identity. Through December, the Institute of Contemporary Art offers an interactive experience that centers around experimental black poetry and the experiences these word warriors illuminate. A series of readings on Saturdays throughout the exhibition gives viewers a chance to dive even deeper into the texts being explored.

Speech/Acts

When:Through Saturday, December 23
Where:Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th Street

www.icaphila.org

Muse @ 40

Forty years ago, Muse Gallery became the first gallery in Philly to provide a space for the city's professional women artists to show their work. The spot, currently celebrating its fourth decade in the business (and now showing work from both men and women), is currently staging an anniversary show featuring work by artists in a range of mediums: painting, photography, sculpture and more. Proceeds from the show go toward supporting the gallery, while all work will be available for a $40 price tag.

Muse @ 40

When:Through Sunday, December 31
Where:Muse Gallery, 52 N. 2nd Street

www.musegalleryphiladelphia.com

As By Digging

As By Digging is one of the final exhibitions you'll ever be able to catch at the Painted Bride Art Center's Old City space. (The building is currently on the market.) Luckily, the exhibition is a good one, featuring three artists — Jaime Alvarez, Michelle Marcuse and Olivia Jia — challenging our notions of the obvious by asking us to dig deeper into works of photography, painting and sculpture.

As By Digging

When:Through Monday, January 8
Where:Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street

www.inliquid.org

Graphic Women

Between the late 19th century and the early 20th century, women artists took Philadelphia's professional arts scene by storm, capturing the world in the fleeting shades of watercolor or the ethereal strokes of pastel and charcoal. Now their otherworldly illustrations are on view — some of them for the first time — at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as a companion show to Woodmere Art Museum's A Grand Vision: Violet Oakley and the American Renaissance exhibition.

Graphic Women

When:Through Sunday, February 18
Where:Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street

www.pafa.org

Old Masters Now

View masterworks from the Renaissance, the 19th century and more in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of a generous gift by donor John G. Johnson. Get intimate with pieces by Boticelli, Bosch, Manet and more as you explore the curatorial research, providing new information about the artists and their pieces over decades of technological advances.

Old Masters Now

When:Through Monday, February 19
Where:Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor

Terracotta Warriors at The Franklin InstituePhoto courtesy The Franklin Institute

One of the greatest archeological finds in recent history is being highlighted at The Franklin Institute this winter. Ten of the famous Terracotta Warriors — life-sized figures of clay built over 2,000 years ago to stand guard over the tomb of the first Chinese Emperor — are on exhibit through Sunday, March 4. A special augmented reality experience, accessible through a downloadable app, allows visitors to interact with each of the soldiers on display, uncovering the fascinating history of their time period and the scientific processes it took to build and preserve them.

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor

When:Through Sunday, March 4
Where:The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street

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Kiefer Rodin

Traveling to Philadelphia from the Musee Rodin in Paris, Kiefer Rodin features pieces by Rodin alongside one of his contemporary disciples, Anselm Kiefer. Bridging the gap between time periods and differences in artistic medium, the exhibition highlights how both artists reach for a deeper understanding of the human condition.

Kiefer Rodin

When:Through Monday, March 12
Where:Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

www.barnesfoundation.org

Winter Fountains

Winter fountains on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in PhiladelphiaPhoto by J. Fusco for Association for Public Art

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is lit up this winter with five new fountains. These fountains aren't your typical fountains, of course, since they display video projections rather than shoot water. A series of multimedia installations by the artist who created them, Jennifer Steinkamp, plays with light and color throughout the winter evenings, inviting residents and visitors to find the stories within their shifting forms.

Winter Fountains

When:Through Sunday, March 18
Where:Four points along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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Chuck Close Photographs

A photograph from the Chuck Close Photographs exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in PhiladelphiaChuck Close's Kara Walker, 2008. Image courtesy of PAFA

You may know Chuck Close as a painter, but did you know he's also had a boundary-breaking career as a photographer? Close hasdemonstrated the same penchant for defying the limits of form and medium as he does with his paintings, experimenting with color, scale and subject over 40 years. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts exhibits this lesser-known example of his artistic breadth through April 8.

Chuck Close Photographs

When:Through Sunday, April 8
Where:Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street

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Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kensington

As always, the special exhibitions at the Penn Museum don't shy away from difficult topics. The latest show highlights an outbreak of violence in Jamaica in May of 2010 that led to the death of 75 civilians. Video and audio footage acts as both document and memorial to the event.

Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kensington

When:Through Sunday, July 15
Where:Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

www.penn.museum

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