Archive for the ‘Arts & Culture’ Category

I enjoy the busy excitement and learning of CCM’s Annual Conference, but occasionally, I need an infusion of fresh air, natural beauty and culture.  In my opinion, this year’s location really delivers.  I grew up on the Parkway and spent my childhood exploring the wonderful places to “hang out.” There are even more now.  Here are a few to check out.  (Ask the Four Seasons concierge for detailed directions and museum hours.)

Rodin Museum – Outside of Paris, Philly is home to the largest collection of sculptor Auguste Rodin’s work. A tiny gem among the Parkway museums, the Rodin boasts an enchanting garden and is home to the awesome bronze The Gates of Hell.  To discover, walk west and turn right at The Thinker.

Perelman Building – Compared to the overabundance of the Art Museum at the west end of the Parkway, this annex is easily navigated in an hour or a two. Some exhibits complement the main Museum’s, and there’s a nice gift shop.  My favorite finds are usually in the galleries of Costume and Textiles, Photography, or Modern and Contemporary Design.

Boathouse Row – Follow the Parkway west behind the Art Museum and a woodland world unfolds along Kelly Drive (named for Philly native, actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly). Pick a quiet spot among the clubs’ cottages to watch for sculling teams prepping for the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta held May 7, 8.

Fels Planetarium (The Franklin Institute) – Take in a 1-hour show. Tales of the Maya Skies begins May 1.

Swann Fountain (Logan Square) – Visible from the Four Seasons, this is one of several Alexander Stirling Calder creations in Philly. Another is the Shakespeare Memorial located at 19th St. on the north side of Logan Circle. (You read right, I’m using “circle” and “square” interchangeably. Logan is among the original “squares” William Penn included in his city plans, but frankly, many of us call it Logan Circle, probably due to the fountain’s shape. If you want to see a square, trot north to Rittenhouse.)

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul – The copper-domed basilica is the center of Philly’s Roman Catholic community. Modeled after Rome’s San Carlo al Corso church, its cross-shaped nave is 236-ft long. St. John Neumann, the first American bishop to be canonized, oversaw the middle years of its construction in the 1800s. (Catholic school alumni take note – Neumann was first to organize a U.S. Catholic school system!) Philadelphia architect Napoleon LeBrun also put his hand to the Academy of Music at Broad & Locust and numerous other churches in the city.

Academy of Natural Sciences – We’ll hold several Conference sessions here Wednesday, but it’s worth another glance if your kids (or you) are enthralled with mummies, dinosaurs, insects or gems.

JFK Plaza/”LOVE Park” – This mecca of skateboard enthusiasts earned it’s colloquial name during the Bicentennial celebration in 1976 when it became home to Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture. It sits at the east end of the Parkway at 16th Street. Catch the Trolley at the Welcome Center to tour parts of the massive 9200-acre Fairmount Park and the mansions that lie beyond the Art Museum.

Sticking around for Mother’s Day, May 9? Watch the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure on the Parkway from 6 am – 12 pm.


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This may be one of the first faces you’ll see when you arrive in Philadelphia for our CCM 2010 Annual Conference. If you’re not a sports fan, you may not recognize him. He’s the Phillies Phanatic, the loyal mascot for Philadelphia’s baseball team.

As part of a public arts project, “Phanatic Around Town,” the well-loved icon will soon be scattered all over town. The first statue appeared in March, and new ones will continue to pop up until August. You’ll find him at Love Park, Rittenhouse Square, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Please Touch Museum, and in many other popular sites.

Whether or not you’re traveling with kids, be sure to hunt him down. If you come to love him, you’re in luck. All 20 will be auctioned off by the Phillies to benefit local charities.

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Conference attendees get quite the steal when they book their hotel room by April 2, 2010. Instead of the standard Four Seasons room rate of $395.00, attendees pay only $185.00, and this rate applies through the weekend!

The Four Seasons Philadelphia is an exquisite hotel in an exquisite Philadelphia setting, the Parkway Museums District. You’ll look out onto lovely Logan Circle and its Swann Memorial Fountain and be in walking distance of The Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well Kelley Drive and Boathouse Row.

If culture isn’t your thing, not to fear. Philadelphia’s European-like Rittenhouse Square, with its high-end shopping and fabulous restaurants is also a short walk from the hotel.

Call 215.963.1500 for reservations.

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While you’re in Philly learning “what’s next” for communication, you can stop by to see what’s next for Philadelphia: the new Barnes on the Parkway.

After much controversy and conversation, The Barnes Foundation is moving from Merion, PA to Philadelphia. Construction on this new space is planned for November 2009, with a planned completion in 2011. In its new home in Center City, the museum will join the Rodin Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences, The Franklin Institute, and, of course, the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Philadelphia’s Museum Mile.

Albert C. Barnes opened The Barnes Foundation in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts.”  Over many years, he created one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir and Modigliani, as well as important examples of African sculpture. The sheer number of paintings by well-known artists is astounding: Pierre-Auguste Renoir (181), Paul Cézanne (69), and Henri Matisse (59), Pablo Picasso (46), Chaim Soutine (21), Henri Rousseau (18), Amedeo Modigliani (16), Edgar Degas (11), Vincent van Gogh (7), Georges Seurat (6), Edouard Manet (4), and Claude Monet (4).

If the quantity and quality were not enough to attract visitors, there’s always been the creative way Barnes displayed his art. His arrangements of paintings scale the walls, one over the other. They climb over door frames, windows, and each other.

While the new Barnes won’t be open for the CCM 2010 Annual Conference, those staying the weekend should be sure to book tickets to visit the original location. You’ll get a chance to see art as only Dr. Barnes imagined it.


The current location presents an opportunity to see Matisse’s mural, The Dance II, as it hangs in the main hall of the gallery.

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