Just walking through the streets of Philly, one already gets a sense of it being a place steeped in rich arts and culture. On a short stroll, you could easily spot multiple murals along the streets by local and international artists. That’s just on the streets, but there’s a lot more to explore in three of Philly’s most beloved art institutions. Here’s a little more about each of them.
Apart from preserving some of the world’s most valuable pieces, the Barnes Foundation is committed to advancing the education and the appreciation of fine arts. This mission was set out from the beginning by its founder Dr. Albert C. Barnes. He first started accumulating Impressionist and other pieces that would form the bulk of the museum’s collection today.
Second only to Paris, Philadelphia has the most Impressionist paintings globally, primarily thanks to Barnes’ collection. These include works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso. The building housing these works is itself a masterpiece. Designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, it has picked up a few awards for its uniquely minimalist style.
The Barnes hosts special exhibitions and public programs, as well as classes for adults and families, within the gallery space and into the surrounding neighborhoods.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Housed in a stately landmark building, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the city’s finest treasures. Dedicated to bringing the arts to life, it aims to inspire visitors through study and play, thereby unlocking the powers of imagination that we all possess.
This is where you can view the most extensive collection of works by Marcel Duchamp, alongside other Impressionist works by Cezanne, van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir, to name just a few. The museum also prides itself on preserving some important American works and relics that demonstrate Philadelphia’s pivotal role in the country’s history.
PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts)
PAFA holds the honor of being the first art museum and school in the United States. As such, they are devoted to “expanding the stories of American art,” according to their website. Also, their mission’s core is the commitment to harnessing innovation and critical thinking while still promoting an appreciation for tradition.
The world-renowned permanent collection of American art includes works by Mary Cassatt and Benjamin West, while contemporary artists include the likes of Kehinde Wiley, Alice Neel, and Vik Muniz.