TORONTO — Media gathered at the Hart House in Toronto this week to hear the latest happenings in Philadelphia and how it has emerged as one of America’s top cities for food, art and culture.
Recently named the first and only World Heritage City in the United States and Lonely Planet’s “Best in the U.S.” destination for 2016, Philadelphia is enjoying an action-packed year filled with attraction openings and expansions, only-in-Philly events and don’t-miss exhibitions.
Here are the top 10 not to miss exhibits, events and attractions in 2016:
1) Picasso : The Great War, Experimentation and Change explores Pablo Picasso’s work between 1912 and 1924. The exhibition features some 50 works by Picasso, plus other important canvasses by the painter’s contemporaries, including Henri Matisse and Amadeo Modigliani. Visitors to the Barnes Foundation will get the first look at this touring exhibition. Through May 9, 2016. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7200, barnesfoundation.org.
2) The Golden Age of King Midas makes its exclusive world premiere at the Penn Museum. The treasures of rare art and artifacts from the Republic of Turkey were excavated at the ancient city of Gordion, where the real King Midas lived, and include items found in his father’s tomb. Through Nov. 27, 2016. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum.
3) At The Franklin Institute’s The Science Behind Pixar, 40 interactive exhibits guide film fans of all ages through the production process and demonstrate how science and technology turn ideas into award-winning films. Selfie alert: Human-size recreations of favorite characters include Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode and WALL•E. Through Sept. 5, 2016. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu.
4) One season, five exhibitions. That’s Creative Africa at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building. The centerpiece, Look Again: Contemporary Perspectives on African Art, draws from the Penn Museum’s renowned collection and spans 400 years, reflecting the diversity among African cultures. On view: bronze sculptures, full elephant tusks, textiles and ritual figures. May 14-Sept. 25, 2016. 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org.
5) Major LGBT events make Philadelphia a proud city all year long. Favourites include Philadelphia Black Gay Parade, April 28-May 1; New Hope & Lambertville Celebrate Pride, May 15-22; PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival, June 12; the qFLIX Philadelphia film festival, July 5-10; Equality Forum, one of the nation’s largest gay and lesbian festivals, July 25-28; and OutFest, October 9.
6) Historic Philadelphia, Inc. is celebrating the milestone of its revamped park, Franklin Square’s 10th birthday with the Chinese Lantern Festival. The park glows with giant flowers, a three-story pagoda and a 200-foot Chinese dragon, all brilliantly lit and constructed by lantern artisans from China. The festivities include performances, hands-on activities and cultural exhibits. April 22-June 12, 2016. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org.
7) Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism 1910-1950. Drawing heavily from the collections of the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, as well as its own holdings, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will exhibit masterpieces by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros—known as the tres grandes (Three Greats) of Mexican mural painting—as well as Frida Kahlo and other major Mexican artists. Oct.25, 2016-Jan. 8, 2017. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org.
8) Philly food praise; Philadelphia is a top dining town thanks to its chef-run restaurants. 300 bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) eateries, sidewalk seating, storied markets and street foods, Philly has it all. The Washington Post named it one of the country’s 10 best food cities and Bon Appetit decalred that the best pizza in the world is made in Philadelphia. Top Chef season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga opened acclaimed Sbraga as well as The Fat Ham, delighting foodies with his pork-centric recipes and famous hot chicken. sbragadining.com.
9) Philadelphia will play host to the Democratic National Convention July 25-28, where those in Philadelphia can enjoy political themed events and exhibitions all over town. These include, PoliticalFest at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre and beyond. Headed to the White House at the National Constitution Center and Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration at Eastern State Penitentiary.
10) The latest exhibit at the Betsy Ross House, Women at Work in Revolutionary America focuses on Colonial-era women’s household tasks. The basement-level display shows that working women, including Ross, relied on the services of others to keep up with responsibilities at home. On certain days, guests meet a “History Maker” named Phillis, an 18th-century African-American woman who was born into slavery, became free at age 21 and supported herself as a cook and laundress. Exhibit opened January 2016; Phillis appears weekends through May 2016, Friday-Sunday June-November 2016.