4 fall arts festivals not to miss

Head to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts  on Oct. 3 for After Dark. Credit: PAFA
Head to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Oct. 3 for After Dark.
Credit: PAFA

The pageant of colors on display during fall may be Mother Nature’s own art exhibition, but each season Philly gives her a run for the money with lively arts fests.

Party on the street
On Sept. 28, the Asian Arts Initiative (www.asianartsinitiative.org) will host the first Pearl Street Block Party. The event serves as the kickoff to a reimagining of Pearl Street into a vibrant community meeting place.

Architect Walter Hood will present plans for the re-envisioning during the party, which promises to offer a “really eclectic and hopefully exciting and fun mix of exhibitions,” says Gayle Isa of Asian Arts.

Cabaret after dark
If art museums conjure images of subdued and stodgy folk strolling quietly, stop by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (www.pafa.org/afterdark) on Oct. 3 for the return of After Dark for flashlight tours, art-making activities, music, food and cocktails. The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret kicks off the event, which will also feature a tour of Jennifer Bartlett’s “History of the Universe” exhibit.

Fall for the arts
Now in its 29th year, the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival (www.chestnuthillpa.com) returns Oct. 6. Roughly 100 painters, woodcutters, sculptors, potters and crafters will line seven blocks of Germantown Avenue, alongside four bands, Scottish dancers and local vendors during the event, which aims to please an all-ages, all-demographics crowd, says Kate O’Neill, deputy director for the local business association.

Making art a ‘foredrop’
DesignPhiladelphia (events.designphiladelphia.org) spreads its annual festival out over a week, from Oct. 10-18, with events across the city, including a scavenger hunt, hands-on martini-creating lessons and walking tours.

The specifics may vary, but the theme of the festival is unifying, explains DesignPhiladelphia co-founder Hilary Jay: “Every day we make design decisions from the moment we get up to the moment we go to sleep, without noticing it … We take it for granted that what exists around us is a backdrop to our lives. What DesignPhiladelphia exists to do is make it more of a foredrop.”


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