You can never again complain that there’s nothing to do in Philly. Well, at least not this week.
Oct. 20 marks the kick-off of the city’s second annual Center City Arts and Culture Week, sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the Center City District.
Through Oct. 30, 50 of the city’s theater, music and art organizations will host free and discounted performances and exhibits across the region.
In its first year, the celebration featured only 20 groups performing half-price shows, said Whitney Prendergast, communications manager for the Cultural Alliance. After a warm reception, the event is back this year with much more to keep you busy.
The festivities begin this Thursday with a Free Night of Theater, featuring 17 theater performances throughout the tri-state area, all free of charge.
James Haskins, executive director of the Theater Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, said that the Free Night of Theater is part of a national pilot program dedicated to bringing larger audiences to see performances by local theater companies. Many jumped at the opportunity to experience theater in Philly, Haskins said. He called the off-Broadway scene one of the city’s “best kept secrets.”
Most of the tickets for the Thursday night Center City shows have been claimed, but seats may still be available for performances in areas just outside of Philly.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, try scoring tickets to some of the city’s hottest museum exhibits as part of the week’s half-price admission deal.
History lovers should stop by the Atwater Kent Museum at 15 S. Seventh St. to join the Saturday tour of the exhibition, The Real Thing and Why It Matters. For less than $3, see a handful of the museum’s prized Philadelphia artifacts and vote on which ones you think will mean the most to history in 100 years.
On Sunday, channel your inner starving artist with cheap entry to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as they celebrate Picasso’s birthday. If you can spare it, $6 will get you into the exhibit, where you can create a Picasso knockoff in a cubism workshop.
If you really want to feel sophisticated, wait until Oct. 28, when Center City art spots will extend their hours to host Gallery Night.
While nibbling on hors d’oeuvres, you can mingle with other art fanatics and enjoy exhibits at participating galleries. Try the Asian Arts Initiative at 1315 Cherry St. and view Chinatown In/Flux, which features works inspired by the experiences of Philly’s Chinatown residents.
Business owners in Center City hope that special events during Arts and Culture Week will entice customers to spend more time downtown.
This year, participating bars and theaters will host happy hours just before some of the attractions begin.
“Businesses will try new things they’ve never done before, and hopefully keep it up,” said R.J. White of the Center City District, an improvement group which works to keep the area exciting for patrons.
In addition, he hopes that the discounts will attract money-strapped students “who wouldn’t normally do anything [cultural] otherwise.”
Above all, White and other organizers of the celebration look forward to convincing any nonbelievers that the Philly arts scene always has lots to offer. For a complete listing of events and admission details, visit www.phillyfunguide.org.
Benae Mosby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.