Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

Preview of Auction Items for the Wetherill Ball!

Here are a few of the items available for purchase at our annual fundraiser:


Molly Hatch, Blue Toile Vase, Porcelain, 2011

Retail: $1,400, bidding starts at $700

Sam Taylor, White Bird Bowl, 2008. Wood-fired stoneware,

Retail: $385, bidding starts at $200


Limited edition etching with hand coloring by Nancy Blum, 2011

16″ x 25″”

Retail: $250, bidding starts at $150

Jill Bonovitz Porcelain Vessel

Handbuilt porcelain platter, matte glaze and underglaze, 2011
Retail:  $800, bidding starts at $500

In addition, we are auctioning three wonderful vacations:

African Game Preserve Vacation of a Lifetime for up to 4 people!


Spend an unforgettable five days/ four nights on a safari in the exclusive Ongava Game Reserve in Namibia located next to the Elosha National Park.  The package allows the winners to choose between staying at Ongava Tented Camp or Ongava Lodge. A combination of both properties is also possible.

Both tented and lodge accommodations include the “creature” comforts of private baths, luxury suites, and a cooling unit- all with fabulous views looking out at the preserve and waterholes.  Meals are served in the main dining room under thatch with a view, or in the dining deck under the stars.

Namibia has become a most sought-after safari destination. Activities include game drives in open jeeps, guided hikes and walks giving you the unique opportunity to see resident elephants, cheetahs, lions, and the unique resident white and black rhinos. A stay at Ongava can be the keystone of a previously unimaginable vacation.

Ongava has been listed on the Conde Naste Traveler Gold Reserve List. Donated by Lisa Kabnick and John H. McFadden

Retail: $5,000

Under the Tuscan Moon: A week in an Italian Villa


Welcome to the Villa Sassella in Compignano, Lucca, Italy.  Enjoy a one-week stay for up to ten people in this restored house that dates back to the 14th century.  The villa sits in a hamlet high on the wooded slopes of Monte Quiesa midway between the ancient walled town of Lucca and the modern seaside city of Viareggio.  There are five bedrooms and five full baths. The pool, tennis court and game room entertain in American fashion while the terraces, garden and patios with views over the coastal plains overlooking the Mediterranean give you the full breadth and beauty of Tuscany.  Venture out and visit the wineries or take a short trip to Florence or a slightly longer trip to the charming ancient city of Siena.  Outstanding cook and cleaning service available. Easy access from Florence and Pisa airports.

Villa Sassella was restored in the early 1970s having been derelict since the 1940s.  Originally it was part of the neighboring church’s estate. Creation of the gardens and restoration of the surrounding land began in the Spring of 1995. There are wonderful views of the Mediterranean and the Lago di Massaciucoli. In the Fall, there are great storms to be watched, and you get the most amazing glow fly displays during early Summer.

Available in Spring 2013: April, May or June. Donated by Lisa Kabnick and John H. McFadden

Retail:  $7,500

A Visit to Glen Mhor Cottage, Glenelg, Highlands, Scotland

Enjoy a week in the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands.  Glen Mhor Cottage is a lovely highland hideaway suitable for 4/5 guests in the small coastal village of Glenelg. The area is one of outstanding natural beauty with breathtaking views. The cottage overlooks the Sound of Sleat and the Isle of Skye. There are three bedrooms and one full bathroom. Outside, you will find a small garden and the water’s edge is about 100 yards from the door. The Glenelg shop is conveniently located across from the cottage and the village is just a short walk up the hill.

Glenelg is a place of beautiful sunsets, exciting wildlife and warm and welcoming locals. Activities include golfing, pony trekking, climbing, walking, fishing, mountain biking, sailing, kayaking, seal trips and photography. Explore the Eilean Donan Castle, visit the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre or take a walk through the Attadale Gardens. You will also be close to some of the most famous whiskey distilleries in the world, many of which are open to the public. Just a ferry ride away, on the Isle of Sky, you will find the Talisker Malt Whisky Distillery. Begin your tour with a complimentary sample and get an inside look at how distilleries operate.

Retail: $3,000

If you would like to inquire about one of these items, please contact us: 

PAA Announces new grant from Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative!

Philadelphia, PA: The Philadelphia Art Alliance is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, in support of a site-specific installation by Beijing-based artist Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen in 2013. Husband and wife Song Don and Yin Xiuzhen occasionally collaborate on artistic projects, creating sculptural installations using or referencing common materials and ordinary household objects. They are represented in New York City by Chambers Fine Art.

Song Dong Installing Waste Not at MoMA Photo by Scott Rudd

Song Dong is best known in the US for his work Waste Not, which was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in 2009. Waste Not was comprised of the contents of his mother’s house accumulated over the course of fifty years during a period of state-mandated austerity, and featured collections of objects such as plastic slippers, empty toothpaste tubes, plastic shopping bags, and other ephemera, all lovingly arranged with the care one might expect in the handling of rare and precious objects.

Yin Xiuzhen imbues her sculptures with a feminist point of view by using materials such as recycled clothing, fabric, and thread to create installations that address domesticity, women’s labor, and transience in contemporary China. Song and Yin came of age in the rapidly changing China of the 1980s and were deeply influenced by the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Both Song and Yin began as painters, and over the course of their careers, have investigated ways to make work that references domestic and cultural environments more literally: found objects, humble materials, and videos that capture moments from daily life.

Yin Xiuzhen Projects 92 at MoMA 2010

Since 2001, the artists have collaborated on pairs of chopstick sculptures which are created according to certain agreed-upon parameters, but completed in isolation. Neither artist knows what the other will do until the final sculptures are revealed. Chopsticks reference food and domesticity, and neither “stick” can function alone, thus (unlike a fork or spoon) they are an ideal metaphor for family. This thematic connection with home, family, and the passing of generations has inspired Song and Yin to respond to the PAA’s site, a former mansion, by creating six new pairs of chopstick sculptures, each with different variables they will determine during site visits. The installation will include a ten-channel video produced by Song Dong on the theme of childhood in contemporary China. The artists also plan to work with their daughter Song Er Rui, who will be eleven years old during the summer of 2013. Because the Chopsticks series began with Song’s recognition that the number “one” appeared twice in various important milestones-the death of his father, the birth of his daughter and the death of his mother-Song Er Rui’s age during this summer has symbolic resonance.

Above all, from Waste Not to The Way of Chopsticks, while Song and Yin’s work concerns materiality, it also addresses family and the marking of time through generations with physical objects. There is no richer metaphor for the passing of one generation to the next than the heirloom. The field of contemporary craft-both at its avant garde fringe and within its traditional heart-is powerfully connected to the home and the body. Studio jewelry, textiles and clothing, furniture and lighting all speak to daily existence and family life, and a particular consciousness of maintaining tradition while planning to pass on special and unique objects to one’s  children. Responding to the PAA’s domestic setting built in 1906, Song and Yin wish to create an array of works in response to the milestones in their own lives, and their impression of what the future holds for their daughter, in China and abroad.


The Philadelphia Art Alliance is dedicated to the advancement and appreciation of innovative contempoary art with a focus on craft and design, and to inspiring dynamic interaction between audiences and artists in a setting of historic and aestheitc significance.

The creative process through Instagram

So one thing that has been keeping me entertained and inspired, during the otherwise hectic Spring fundraising season, has been following the Instagram account of one of our upcoming artists, Adam Wallacavage.  For those not in the loop, Instagram is basically Facebook with a camera, where every post or “Status Update” must be accompanied by a photo.  After launching just over 18 months ago, the company recently was sold to Facebook for $1 Billion, showing the explosive growth potential of photo sharing.

Adam Wallacavage (@AWallacavage) was an early adopter of Instagram, and subsequently has over 3000 loyal followers to his account.  He posts just about anything; photos of his amazing South Philly home, friends, concerts, skateboarding, art, life in general.  But my greatest pleasure has been watching his work in progress unfold as he prepares for his solo show here at the Art Alliance.  Watching this piece, tentatively entitled “Sea Serpent” come to life has been an amazing lesson in social media promotion.  Adam not only shares photos of his unfinished work, but gives insight into how he feels about a particular piece or what inspired him to make it.  Without further ado, here is the photo stream with Adam’s captions for each pic:

“Better ask momma how to make a monster”


“I’m going to be perfectly honest. I’m making these only to please some specific and somewhat harsh art critics. I mean, I’m showing in a prestigious design and craft museum and I need take this seriously. I can’t disappoint my nieces and nephews!!”


“Done for the day!! I’m getting really happy about this one. I pulled off something monstrously eloquent. It’s funny because somehow I forgot about the fact that I was making similar monsters like these in art school some 16 -17 (yikes) years ago.”


“Sculpting more Sea Serpents.”


“Hanna applying scales to the Sea Serpent chandelier.”


“I can’t wait to finish this!!!!”


“Applying the secret sauce to the Sea Serpents.”


“Big Glitter Ball.”


“Sea Serpent is wired up!”

I love his brutal honesty and the way in which he interacts with his followers, making them feel like they are a part of his world even though many do not personally know him.  I myself have felt a profound personal connection to the man even though we only met face-to-face for the first time the other day.  This kind of online social interaction is redefining the way in which artists, celebrities, athletes and just about anyone with a business or skill connect with potential audiences and, ultimately, conduct commerce.

Shameless plug time: To see this amazing piece, and many other new/old creations by Adam, come to the Gallery Opening Reception for this and our two other new exhibitions on Thursday, May 17, 2012.  Information on the exhibition can be found by clicking here.

And follow Adam Wallacavage on Twitter (@adamwallacavage) and Instagram (@AWallacavage) for more updates as we move towards the opening!  Thanks for listening!