For globetrotters looking for a dose of authentic culture and an inspiring burst of art this summer, Philadelphia offers something for all artistic tastes to get excited about. Home to three of the greatest museums of art in America – the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation and Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts – the city has long been established as a cultural hub.
What is more, Mural Arts Philadelphia has just relaunched its programme of tours in time for the summer, so visitors can marvel at some of the city’s 4,000 murals between more traditional museum visits.
Mural Arts Tour Summer Programme
Offering a taste of the unique and fascinating stories behind the art that has connected communities throughout the city for over 30 years, arts fans should look no further than a Philadelphia Mural Arts Tour for their summer holiday itinerary. The programme brings art to life with its offerings of trolley jaunts, guided walks and even Segway excursions, each showcasing public artworks instilled with the notion that art ignites change and encourages learning. Each year, the professionally-trained guides lead 12,000 residents and visitors through the striking outdoor gallery that has become an intrinsic part of the city’s landscape and is renowned globally. Tours can now be booked for April onwards and tickets start from $22 (£17.67) per person. For more information and to book, visit www.muralarts.org/.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
While they were made world-famous by Rocky Balboa, the steps up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art are also a gateway to some of the finest culture in the United States. Visitors can roam the expansive space for hours, enjoying the 240,000 artistic and architectural offerings from global talents that are displayed in permanent and semi-permanent exhibition rooms. With sculptures, paintings, prints, photographs and more on show, there really is something for every whim, stretched across one of America’s largest museums. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Tuesday through to Sunday, and admission starts from $14 (£11.21) for children aged 13-18 and adult tickets cost $20 (£16.07). Free for under-12s. For more information, visit www.philamuseum.org/.
The Barnes Foundation
Home to over 3,000 masterpieces, including 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, 16 Modiglianis and 7 Van Goghs, plus textiles, metalwork, decorative objects, African Sculpture, Native American ceramics and jewellery, and Pennsylvania German furniture. Since opening in 1922, the Barnes Foundation has welcomed over one million visitors and promoted “the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” Visitors can either study the masterpieces in each gallery unaccompanied or opt for a guided tour on their favourite artist. And on the first Friday of every month, the museum extends its opening hours from 6pm – 9pm and offers free admission on the first Sunday of every month. Standard opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Wednesday through to Monday, and admission starts from $10 (£8.01) for children aged 6-18 and adult tickets cost $25 (£20.08). Free for under-5s. For more information, visit www.barnesfoundation.org.
Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts (PAFA) was the first art museum and art school to be established in the United States. Teeming with culture, the museum is renowned globally for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings and sculptures, while its archives hold important materials for the study of American art history, museums and art training. With a busy calendar of events and temporary exhibitions scheduled throughout the summer, PAFA has plenty on offer to keep the most discerning traveller entertained. Weekday opening hours are 10am to 5pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, while doors do not close until 9pm on Wednesday. Weekend hours are 11am to 5pm. Admission starts from $8 (£6.41) for children aged 13-18 and adult tickets cost $15 (£12.05). Free for under-12s. For more information, visit www.pafa.org/visit.
For more information on Philadelphia, visit the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website, www.discoverphl.co.uk