Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

What’s Been Going On? Recent Events at the PAA

If you didn’t have a chance to come out for the exciting events that were taking place at the Art Alliance this April, don’t panic. Enjoy these photos from recent events, and make sure to join us in May!

On Tuesday, April 16, Norma Minkowitz gave a Craft & Culture lecture about her work as a sculptor. One of her pieces, Child of the Night, 2009 was particularly interesting. She described it as when a young child wakes up during the middle of the night and is frightened by his toys because of how they appear in the dark; the shapes make monster-like figures. For this sculpture, Minkowitz used fibers and mixed media.


The audience enjoying Norma’s lecture


Minkowitz showing and discussing her artwork


On Friday, April 19, the talented Ariane Alexander-Liao performed five beautiful pieces on the piano accompanied with art by Constance Braden, which made for a unique and exciting recital. The artwork was created in response to the specific piano pieces performed by Alexander-Liao, adding a visual component to the musical experience that left the audience in awe.

Below, Alexander-Liao discusses the pieces included in her performance


On Wednesday, April 24, the sixth installment of CaveCast was held here at the Art Alliance with guest DJ Vincent Smaldone, aka DJ Image, addressing the subject of Turntablism. DJ Image discussed his history as a DJ and also showed some videos of old school DJ artists, which proved to be enlightening and interesting. It was a treat for the crowd, who got to participate in a discussion with DJ Image about the art of scratching and to try their hands at it!


With the help of an audience member, DJ Image demonstrates how to scratch


Left to Your One Device Winners announced!

Left to Your One Device Winners announced!

We set the challenge and you responded by slicing, drilling, sticking, needling, sawing, scoring and animating, and now the winners of our Left to Your One Device competition have been chosen.

The competition asked you to take inspiration from our current exhibition The Tool at Hand, where artists created pieces using one tool. We received some wonderful videos from artists and creatives, and you can watch the winning submissions here on our website. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did.

You can also check out the profile of one of our entrants by Peter Crimmins, arts and culture correspondent for WHYY.

This Thursday April 25 at 6pm selected entries will be on display alongside the Tool at Hand exhibition, and the winners will be awarded prizes including experiences at Nextfab, the Clay Studio, Artists & Craftsmen, and more. There will also be a musical performance by pianist Ariane Alexander-Liao, who is coming back to the Art Alliance especially.

This is also the final weekend to see our Spring 2013 exhibitions, The Tool at Hand, along with Molly Hatch’s ceramic exhibition, Reverie. If you haven’t ventured on down to our galleries here in Rittenhouse Square to see them yet, then be sure to come on over by April 28th. We’ll see you soon!

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This Wednesday is CaveCast 006: A night of Turntablism

CaveCast006: TurntablismThis Wednesday April 24th is the sixth edition of our popular CaveCast events, and this one is going to be a smash. Vincent Smaldone, aka DJ Image, will be here at the Art Alliance with our host Brian Cassidy to discuss the art and science of Turntablism.

If you already know what Turntablism is, you’ll know that DJ Image is a bit of a local legend. He scratches his way around the US from his base in Central PA, and has already told us he “can’t wait to come to the cave and talk turntable skills!”

If you’ve never heard of Turntablism, fear not. You’ve probably already heard examples, such as DJ Shadow and RJD2, on television or radio. The first popular release to use Turntablism techniques was Rockit by the eminent jazz composer Herbie Hancock.

So what is Turntablism exactly? It’s the impressive technique of using a record player as an instrument. Skilled DJs use turntables and vinyl to create brand new music. They scratch in time, mix, match, mash and juggle new beats, and really show off their talent by improvising live on stage. It takes acute rhythm and reflexes to pull off a great live set.

Philadelphia has played a key part in this art of DJing, so where better to learn about it than here at the Art Alliance, with local DJ Image to show us the beats?

For more information and to RSVP, click over to Facebook. We can’t wait to see you on Friday at 9pm.

Suggested donation is $5, BYO Records & Beer, and we’ll have drinks available from our sponsors Narragansett and Spodee.

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Two musical treats at the Philadelphia Art Alliance

You won’t want to miss these: Join us in the coming week for two excellent evenings of musical entertainment.

Friday April 19 at 7:30Contemporary Art and Piano Recital
(Tickets $5 at the door)

This Friday the superbly talented Ariane Alexander-Liao will be performing four works by modern and contemporary composers. The pieces include:

Sonatas No. 9 & 10 by Alexander Scriabin
Makrokosmos Vol. II by George Crumb
Three Pieces for Piano by Thomas Wirtel
Entendre (premiere) by Morgan Powell

Ariane Alexander-Liao performs here 4/19

Ariane Alexander-Liao performs here 4/19

Accompanying the performance will be a projected slideshow of artwork created by Constance Braden as a reaction to the specific pieces Ariane Alexander-Lioa will be performing. Their collaboration promises to deliver a unique emotional and artistic experience.

Monday April 22 at 7:30Classical Accordionist Nadia Guseva  
(Tickets $5 at the door, free to members)

Highly acclaimed and award-winning concert accordionist Nadia Guseva will be performing here next Monday. Though she lives and teaches in St. Petersburg, Russia, she tours extensively, delighting and enthralling audiences worldwide.

Nadia Guseva, award-winning classical accordionist plays here 4/22

Classical accordionist Nadia Guseva plays here 4/22

This is one of her final stops on her USA tour before she heads back to Russia, so be sure to come along!

This program is made possible by generous support from Helen W. Drutt English

We look forward to seeing you for what will be two wonderful evenings of truly inspiring musical performances.

You can also find further information about any of our upcoming events on our main site.

Craft & Culture: Norma Minkowitz

The next installment of our exciting Craft and Culture lecture series will bring artist and sculptor Norma Minkowitz to the Art Alliance on Tuesday, April 16 at 7pm. Norma will discuss her work and her new exhibition “Storylines,” on display at the Snyderman-Works Gallery until April 27. Make sure to join us for this exciting talk!


Minkowitz is a New York City native and a Cooper Union Art School graduate with over 55 years of exhibiting artworks under her belt. You can find her in the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art & Montreal Museum of Fine Art as well as more than 20 museums worldwide. Her awards include Master of the Medium by the James Renwick Alliance in 2009, a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant, and an inductee into the College of Fellows of the American Craft Council in 2003.

In her artist statement she says her sculptures convey a sense of energy and focus on the human form (the skeletal and circulatory systems, to be exact), nature and the landscape. Her sculptures sometimes mimic a cage or shelter that depicts a sense of being trapped or having no escape. Minkowitz’s interest in the mysterious cycle of death and regeneration can be recognized in her art as well. She often uses paint on her sculptures but it is not always visible, therefore lighting plays an important role in her work.

For more information on the artist, Norma Minkowitz, check out: 


What’s springing up in the Art Alliance?

Something very exciting is happening this Spring at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, but shhh, it’s a bit of a secret…

The Philadelphia Art Alliance's Shop on the Square is coming soon

The Philadelphia Art Alliance’s Shop is coming soon

We’re getting a new Shop – and this time it’s going to be bigger and better than ever! The Shop will feature beautiful pieces made by local and national artists and crafts people, as well as a few select items made exclusively for the Art Alliance.

Over the coming weeks we are also going to offer you a special sneak peek of some of the artists and treasures featuring in our little space here on Rittenhouse Square, because frankly we just can’t keep something this exciting to ourselves.

Watch this space for updates, and news of our grand opening: You’ll find it all here first!

If you can’t wait and would like to find out more, you can get involved. Information on how you can help out is available here.

Contest Deadline Coming Soon!


Will you make a sculpture from cake using only scissors? Will you etch designs into old CDs with an embroidery needle? Or will you simply draw a small masterpiece with an ordinary ballpoint pen?

The deadline is fast approaching for our fantastic contest Left to Your One Device and we are very excited to see some strange and interesting works of art created using only one tool.

Left to Your One Device is your chance to take part in a contest based upon our current exhibition The Tool at Hand. The exhibition explores what happens when a group of very different artists and designers are challenged to using just one tool to create works of art. The results include a wide variety of wonderful objects: For example, there’s an unusual vase made using a 3D printer, and a wax chair crafted by the most basic of tools – the artist’s own hands.

But we want to know what will you create? And what tool will you use? You don’t need to be an artist or a fine craftsperson, you just need to make something using only one tool. The tool can be something ordinary, like a paintbrush, a crochet hook, or chisel. Or you can use something even more unusual. Can you create something amazing with an electric toothbrush, or your cell phone, for instance?

Why not have a go, and show us the results? You could win some exciting prizes and have your work featured on the Art Alliance website. You’ll need to be quick though as the deadline is Wednesday April 10th.

For full details on how to enter go here.

And if you need a bit more inspiration, The Tool at Hand exhibition is currently on display here at the Art Alliance.  We look forward to judging your creations!