Summer is the perfect time to explore the rich assortment of art museums and galleries in Greater Philadelphia.
It makes sense that a city built on Quaker values would be so dedicated to the celebration and preservation of art, and its inspiration for critical thinking, ethical development and resilience.
Here are a handful of meaningful exhibits not to miss. Check gallery websites for visiting hours.
James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown
“The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art” opened June 1 and runs through Sept. 8.
Presented by the Hudson River Museum, it is the first major museum examination of the moon and its allure for American painters from the early 1820s through the late 1960s.
The exhibition features more than 50 works of art, including key painters who depicted the moon, such as Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School, to later works by illustrator Norman Rockwell. All of the works capture the romance and tranquility of this lunar body and its effect on the spirit of the American landscape.
Home to a world-class collection of Pennsylvania impressionism, the Michener in Doylestown hosts special exhibitions and showcases regional artists. Additional highlights include the Nakashima Reading Room and the Daniel Garber mural and outdoor sculpture gardens. The Michener offers a calendar of programs including art classes, workshops, tours, concerts and films.
Members: free; adults: $15; seniors: $13; youths 6-18: $5; children under 6: free
138 S. Pine St.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
“Ocean Without a Shore,” which opens June 28 and runs through Dec. 31, is a major video installation and “a profound experimental work by Bill Viola that combines a reverence for the traditions of figuration and realism in Western art with new and cutting-edge technology,” according to PAFA.
Entering “Ocean Without a Shore,” the viewer stands in a darkened room before three large video monitors. In turn, 24 people emerge individually from behind an invisible wall of rushing water and eventually return. Viola describes “Ocean Without a Shore” as “a series of encounters at the intersection between life and death.”
PAFA is known for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings, sculptures and works on paper, as well as contemporary works. The permanent collection boasts pieces from 18th- and 19th-century masters such as Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt and Thomas Eakins. Founded in 1805, PAFA is the first museum and school of fine arts in the nation, and the exhibitions of students’ work are always worth the visit.
PAFA offers public programs, such as gallery tours, weekend family workshops, lectures, teacher-oriented programs, summer camps and hands-on workshops and classes.
Adults: $15; seniors: $12; youths 13-18: $8; children 12 and under: free
118-128 N. Broad St.
The Rodin Garden Bar is back by popular demand. Spend a summer evening in an urban oasis at the Rodin Museum. Enjoy beer, wine and music, and you can even picnic in the garden. You can also view works of art by the master sculptor August Rodin. On days the Garden Bar is open, evening tours are offered at 6 p.m.
One of the most serene destinations on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Rodin Museum offers a green, intimate setting in which to enjoy some of the world’s most renowned masterpieces of sculpture. With nearly 150 bronzes, marbles and plasters, the distinguished collection housed in the museum represents every phase of Auguste Rodin’s career.
The garden outside the museum displays eight works around a picturesque fountain. “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell” have stood in their same locations since the museum opened in 1929.
Admission to the Rodin Museum is pay what you wish; the garden is free year-round.
2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway,
Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art
“N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives” opens June 22 and continues through Sept. 15. It is the first exhibition to examine the entirety of Wyeth’s career, including landscapes, seascapes, portraits and murals. He is known for his bold, imaginative illustrations that brought classic stories such as Treasure Island and The Boy’s King Arthur to life.
The exhibit includes approximately 70 paintings and drawings from major museums and private collections. A number of objects from the artist’s studio collection, such as a first edition of Treasure Island, are featured.
The Museum of Art features an outstanding collection of American art housed in a 19th-century mill with a dramatic steel and glass addition overlooking the banks of the Brandywine River. The Conservancy preserves the land and water of the Brandywine watershed for the community through source water protection and farmland preservation.
Adults: $18; seniors: $15; youths 6-18: $6; children under 6 and members of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art: free
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
[email protected]; 215-832-0737