Thursday, December 3, 2009

Philadelphia - Day 6

Day 6
- Quote of the day
- Murals everywhere you look
- Snyderman-Works Gallery
- Clay Studio
- Cookies and more galleries
- Dinner at the Union League

Jean Michel Basquiat: Believe it or not, I can actually draw.

First up is a tour of murals throughout the city. This city is loaded with murals! The tour is a two-fer, we get to see a ton of the city, many parts of which tourists would not normally be viewing, and we get an explanation of how all these murals came to be from one of the employees of the official organization that has built up a huge community involvement process for getting the murals up on walls. Check out for more information. This is basically a version of Habitat For Humanity, involving many members of the community in something that turns out to be far larger than just putting up pictures (houses) around town. Very impressive, and hard to believe more cities have not sponsored something like this. The group has helped put up over 3,000 murals, and has a waiting list of 2,000. Interesting fact: most murals put up now are painted on 5x5 sections of parachute material and then “fixed” to the walls with an acrylic gel. You don’t see any graffiti on these murals, so much of the community is involved it has become hands-off.

Pictures: Various murals around town, can't you just see one of Dr J here in our town...okay, maybe Dr Suess, Dr Oz, Dr No (hey, it's E-ville, so Dr No would be a good choice!).

Next we head to the best crafts gallery in town, Snyderman-Works. Appears to be plenty of buying action from our group, we own a number of artists represented by the gallery and thus don’t end up buying anything. Lunch is served upstairs on the second floor where the Snyderman’s live, so we also indirectly get another home tour. Another two-fer!

Next up (and a few short blocks from Snyderman-Works): the Clay Studio, which along with a gallery space and shop, has three more floors dedicated to teaching and sponsoring residences for ceramicists though sponsored residents do not have to stick just with clay, they can branch out: we saw one piece in the gallery where it was basically grass and a heat lamp for relaxing during the winter months.

DB and I take advantage of the time between the Snyderman’s and the Clay Studio to wander the neighborhood, which includes one of the best preserved streets of old colonial era buildings anywhere. I also take advantage of the time to find a local bakery, Tarte, and make only two visits in under an hour. You stand at a takeout window and watch them work in about a 150 square foot space. The second visit turns out to be very rewarding as the snickerdoodles have just come out of the oven and are warm. I buy the entire batch (of eight) to share with my friends.

We then walk to the Locks Gallery to see more Kaneko dangos, several of which are in shapes we haven’t seen before, and several are very beautiful. We’ll be visiting Kaneko’s studio in Omaha next year with the Oakland Museum group, right in the middle of our national parks trip.

As we’re walking back to the hotel, another stop in Reading Terminal to pick up some more bakery goods for the flight home tomorrow, this time rolls from the highly recommended Metropolitan Bakery. Hmmmmmm…given a bit of free time, it seems that I have no trouble satisfying my passions, especially since baseball is now in hibernation.

Cocktails in the library followed by dinner in the Lincoln Memorial room, with an overview of the Barnes collection and new facility being built in downtown Philadelphia, very close to the Union League. They actually broke ground yesterday and, since this is one of the most controversial situations ever in the city, there were protesters. We’re guessing they were protesting the cost of the new grounds and facilities. With the Barnes, you’re never sure.

1 comment:

  1. the murals are super cool. some people are working on that in oakland, but piecemeal and nowehre near as successfully. they're also more graff style, which i appreciate. ifyou look around, there are actually tons of bay area murals, but not like that!