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Photo Fun in Philly

If creativity is art, then Philadelphia's got it! This is a city that breathes creative ideas — from drawing up the nation's Constitution in 1776 to the genius of Ben Franklin, from the vision of Albert Barnes to the pulse of energetic neighborhoods — it all stimulates the imagination.


Art is everywhere, thanks to innovative partnerships between government, business and citizens. Not many cities have Art as a main heading on their website. Philly does. Check out where to go, then curate your own visit. It's enough to, well, ring your bell. Here's what I did — and it's just a start!



First things first. We check into our digs, the Alexander Inn, a nice little boutique hotel on a street with a tram. Quiet though, and in the middle of it all.

I notice a mural down the street from the garage while parking our car. And next day I see another. It's all part of a program to add visual interest to the urban landscape. It works.

City Hall and the Liberty One office tower shared the same palette of pale blues that day. The Reading Terminal Market is our lunch stop — for a Philly cheesesteak, no less. Then we saunter around the market to work off the calories.

Meanwhile, over at the National Constitution Centre, Signers' Hall is gathering plenty of new signatures and photographic documentation. Now you can wave to the live webcam and tweet your friends. As of August 2015 there's also a major ongoing exhibit about the Prohibition era with intriguing info you never knew. I've included some of the signage. Click to enlarge each one.

Almost next door, the Liberty Bell Center is crowded with a group of Chinese students. Is there anyone who doesn't take a selfie with the Bell?

Even parking lots have their murals. Fwaap! Outside the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a giant 'Paint Torch' by Claes Oldenberg looks about to swipe William Penn from his perch on City Hall. 'Grumman Garden' is just a brush stroke away, dedicated to flyers defending the country.

Along Benjamin Franklin Parkway I notice a sculpture titled 'Philadelphia Firsts', one result of the city's Percent for Art Program, also the nation's "first" in 1959.

With more than 300 works,  Philadelphia’s public art collection is now the largest in the world. 


Further along the Parkway is the classy Rodin Museum. After viewing 'The Thinker' I had a thought: combine 4 image versions as a conversation piece. Nope, it's still a monologue. Well, I tried.

Elton John sang Philadelphia Freedom, but it's the Rocky films that put Philly on the pop culture map, complete with Rocky Balboa's (Sylvester Stallone's) bronze footprints on the steps of the Museum of Art. Night and day, people stand in his shoes to raise their arms in triumph. Ya gotta give Rocky credit.

The City Hall building is spectacular when framed by Broad Street lights in the evening. I added to the color with an in-camera filter.

In nearby spaces next day, office workers walk through one of the changing installations (this is an older one) at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, a security staff member gets looks from the gallery while checking his cellphone at the Academy of the Fine Arts and a jaguar scratches at the door of a townhome in the Rittenhouse Square district.

William Penn continues to survey the community he founded in 1682. When the statue was eclipsed in height by One Liberty Place in 1987, the Curse of Billy Penn was blamed on a continous losing streak affecting the city's pro sports leagues. That's over now. A new moon appears behind Penn in this photo I made looking almost directly upward with a telephoto lens. Did you know that  City Hall was meant to be the world's tallest building before rudely overtaken by the Washington Monument and Eiffel Tower? In 2007 it was voted #21 of America's favorite 150 buildings.

It's all about LOVE.

Photos, text and layout 

© 2015 by Gary Crallé

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