Art Works Blog

We Take You Back to Philly for More Local Stops

April 7, 2010
Washington, DC

As has been noted earlier on the Art Works blog, among Chairman Landesman?s tour stops was the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia on March 2. Site visits, meetings, and public forums filled the day and introduced Rocco to the impressive work of the artists and arts organizations in the city. Following are some images from the day taken by the NEA?s Victoria Hutter.

The second stop on the Philadelphia Art Works tour was Crane Arts, a rehabbed series of manufacturing buildings now sporting artist studios and galleries. Among those structures, the Stable was the last building on the Crane property to undergo renovation. The building is now occupied by Milner + Carr Conservation specializing in the preservation of historic buildings, monuments and sites, including the (now) glowing statue of a mounted Joan of Arc pictured below.

Created in 1896 by Emmanuel Frémiet, St. Joan had been in a neglected state in her perch on Kelly Drive opposite the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first step in her rehabilitation was to repair the underlying limestone structure which was done on site. She was then transported to the Stable where she underwent further repair including the application of 4,000 sheets of 23 carat gold leaf. The blue tags you see in the photo identify places where more gold leaf is needed. Joan will be returned to her proper home on April 22nd. Pictured here to the right of Chairman Landesman is co-founder of Crane Arts David Gleeson.

Philadelphia?s Mayor Nutter took a break from his busy schedule to join Chairman Landesman and attendees of the NEA?s roundtable on creativity and community at Crane Arts. (Pictured below on the left with Gary Steuer, chief cultural officer with the city?s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy to the chairman?s right.) The mayor noted with pride the almost 3,000 murals that enliven his city and act as points of community collaboration and pride. In fact, exactly a month earlier on February 2, Mayor Nutter announced How Philly Moves, a nearly 50,000 square foot mural to be created on the parking decks at the Philadelphia International Airport. The project is a partnership between the city?s Office on Transportation and Utilities and the Philadelphia?s own Mural Arts Program.

After leaving Crane Arts, Rocco took a tour of the city stopping at several organizations along the way for on-the-van presentations. One of the stops was opposite the exuberantly decorated offices of Taller Puertorriqueño at 2557 North 5th St., one of two buildings housing this leading Latino arts and culture organization. Here Executive Director Carmen Febo-San Miguel and Education Director Sandra Ardino boarded the van and described their work and their community to Rocco, NEA staff, and accompanying Philadelphia hosts.

Taller Puertorriqueño was established in 1974 as a community-based graphic arts workshop, providing arts training to local youth. Over the years, its education programs, cultural enrichment activities, and other offerings have garnered it a reputation for excellence and as a model for using the arts as a means of social change.

After stopping by Taller Puertorriqueño, Chairman Landesman visited the Please Touch Museum, the children?s museum of Philadelphia located in the old Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park. Memorial Hall was built in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition celebrating the country?s 100th birthday. Inside the grand structure with its soaring ceiling and wide open spaces, the Please Touch Museum boasts an extraordinary number of activities for children of all ages. Pictured here is a replica of the Statue of Liberty Arm and Torch that was originally displayed at the Centennial Exhibition before making its way to New York City harbor. This work by local artist Leo Sewell is made completely of discarded toys.

The final stop of the day?s tour was World Café Live. This music venue, restaurant, and public radio headquarters is a hoppin? place designed to give musicians and audiences a comfortable, conducive place to enjoy live music. World Café Live also demonstrates what can happen when a for-profit music presenting organization, Real Entertainment Group, joins forces with a public radio station WXPN, owned and operated by the nearby University of Pennsylvania. Founder of Real Entertainment Group Hal Real (pictured facing the camera) was the chairman?s guide through the venue. The art above the chairman?s head is from Fresh Artists, an organization dedicated to preserving children?s access to art supplies and instruction.

We hope you enjoyed today's tour. There's no doubt that Philadelphia is one the country's great "art works" cities.

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