The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, founded in 1682 by William Penn, nestled between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and former capital of the United States has much to offer in terms of history, art, culture, and food and it will be our home from March 24- March 29, 2018. The city has a rich industrial past – in 1908 it marketed itself as the World’s greatest workshop with hundreds of manufactories (or small factories) dotting the urban landscape. Probably the most accurate description of Philadelphia is that it is a big small town. The current city was shaped in the period after World War II primarily under the guidance of Edmund Bacon who remained the city planner from 1948-1972. He loved the city of Philadelphia and even in his 90s rode a skateboard in Love Park to protest exclusions in a re-design.
Founded by William Penn and made the center of the world by Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia is a city of firsts:
First planned city in America.
First public parks.
First paper mill.
First public school.
First institution devoted to science (American Philosophical Society).
First public library.
First post office.
First volunteer fire department.
First university (this claim is of course challenged by other institutions).
First permanent theatre.
First Anti-Slavery society.
First 4th of July celebration.
First Congress of the US.
First American flag.
First Stock Exchange.
First turnpike road.
First municipal water system.
First U.S. printing press.
First World’s Fair in the US (Centennial Exhibition of 1876).
First Mother’s Day celebration.
First Art Museum (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts).
First Girl Scout Cookies.
FIRST OFFICIAL MEETING OF THE VISUAL RESOURCES ASSOCIATION IN 1983.
Philadelphia is also home to the first International Style skyscraper, the former PSFS Building and now the Loews Hotel, designed by George Howe and William Lescaze – which will be our base of operations for our third conference in Philadelphia. It is centrally located to the east of City Hall on Market Street and kitty corner from the historic Reading Terminal Market. The Reading Terminal was used up until 1985 (in the last years by SEPTA) and can be seen, along with several other Philly landmarks, in a quick stroll around the hotel.
Philadelphia has more public art than any other city in the US. Sculpture is everywhere and ranges in type from Robert Indiana’s Love statue in Love Park, to the billy goat beloved by children in Rittenhouse Square, and even the Rocky statue at the foot of the PMA steps. You will also find a lively mural arts program (tour info coming soon)! In addition to more historic art treasures there is an active contemporary art and gallery scene that has spread far beyond the traditional galleries in center city (tour info coming soon)! You will find many museums in Philadelphia and can checkout this (in progress) list of hours and fees.