Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog


Parlor Shop Artist Profile: Devin McNutt from Saffron Designs

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Saffron DesignsSaffron Creations is a line of exquisite art deco style jewelry from Devin McNutt, a local Philadelphia jeweler. Devin handcrafts her jewelry in a rather unusual way, which gives all of her works a fascinating story…

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Saffron DesignsThese beautiful trinkets are vintage with a twist: Each piece is handcrafted from vintage cookie, biscuit and tea tins! That’s right – these designs really are vintage, but have been lovingly re-purposed into stunning, fresh pieces of jewelry.

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Saffron DesignsDevin cuts out the tin pieces, rivets and stamps them, wraps wire and also attaches semi-precious stones. That means that each of these items is a unique work of art. No one piece is quite like another, and each work of art is like a little piece of history.

The Parlor Shop is open regularly Thursdays through Sundays, 12-5pm. The Parlor Shop is run by volunteers, and profits from sales go back to local artists and craftspeople, with a portion going to the Philadelphia Art Alliance’s fundraising efforts.

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Parlor Shop Artist Profile: Lynn Hoffman

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Lynn HoffmanThese earthy, floral inspired works of pottery are created by local PA ceramicist Lynn Hoffman. Hoffman studied Illustration and Ceramics at the University of the Arts, and has both made and taught pottery for over 20 years.

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Lynn HoffmanThe wonderful pieces she has on display and for sale here at the Parlor Shop are glazed terracotta and stoneware. They are handmade from slabs which are rolled, formed, and then glazed in stages to allow the original colors of the clay to show through.

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Lynn HoffmanWe’re told they are super-durable, and can withstand most household abuse from freezing, microwaving and washing!

The Parlor Shop is open regularly Thursdays through Sundays, 12-5pm. The Parlor Shop is run by volunteers, and profits from sales go back to local artists and craftspeople, with a portion going to the Philadelphia Art Alliance’s fundraising efforts.


Parlor Shop Artist Profile: Elizabeth J McTear from SquidWhale Designs

Philadelphia Art Alliance - SquidWhale DesignsElizabeth McTear is a Moore College graduate with a joint love of textiles and the ocean, which you can certainly see in her fabulous works available here at our Parlor Shop!

Philadelphia Art Alliance - SquidWhale DesignsElizabeth designs and dyes unique nautical prints and produces a range of items, including scarves and clutches printed with fishermens’ nets.

Her deep blue nautical prints conjure up images of whale’s tails and adventures on the high seas, but she actually makes them right here in Philadelphia, and not while sailing on the open ocean!

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Squid Whale DesignsWhether you’re a landlubbing lover of local artistry, or an oceanfaring ol’ seadog, you’ll fall in love with Elizabeth’s cute bags.  We’re in a ‘knot’ over which one of these designs is our favorite!

The Parlor Shop is open regularly Thursdays through Sundays, 12-5pm. The Parlor Shop is run by volunteers, and profits from sales go back to local artists and craftspeople, with a portion going to the Philadelphia Art Alliance’s fundraising efforts.


Parlor Shop Artist Profile: Jennifer Lipman-Bartel

Parlor Shop at Philadelphia Art Alliance - Jennifer Lipman-BartelPhiladelphia local Jennifer Lipman-Bartel is a woman of many talents and a fantastic sense of humor. By day she and her husband run a business that manufactures and sells hobby model kits for ships and trains. Their clients include SEPTA, and their work has even been featured on television.

But at the Parlor Shop you won’t find miniature railways. Instead, Jennifer has specially crafted a selection of beautiful dainty earrings, and we’re proud to stock them just for you!

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Jennifer Lipman-BartelJennifer makes each petal of these metal flowers one by one, by hand, creating tiny steel roses adorned with fun colors and beads.

These works reflect her background in both steel sculpture and jewelry-making: She studied at PAFA and Moore here in Philadelphia, and has had her work featured all over the city. As a cancer survivor, Jennifer also works hard to raise funds for organizations and charities in the Delaware Valley that provide support to people with cancer and disabilities.

Philadelphia Art Alliance - Jennifer Lipman BartelJennifer is also known for creating extravagant necklaces and custom pieces, and even she admits they’re unusual! But these tiny earrings are a little simpler than her usual work. They are perfect little gifts for jewelry aficionados, and they won’t break the bank (honestly).

The Parlor Shop is open regularly Thursdays through Sundays, 12-5pm. The Parlor Shop is run by volunteers, and profits from sales go back to local artists and craftspeople, with a portion going to the Philadelphia Art Alliance’s fundraising efforts.


Surf and Sound: Two exciting nights of music this week at PAA

This week we’re making a lot of noise in Rittenhouse Square, with two separate evenings of music for you to come along to and enjoy: CaveCast 7 on Wednesday May 22, and something a little bit experimental and a lot electric, on Thursday May 23.

Intrigued? Read on…

On Wednesday May 22 our seventh installment of our CaveCast series will be exploring the music and myths of those sultans of surf-pop, the Beach Boys.

CaveCast 7: The Beach Boys, Philadelphia Art Alliance Wednesday May 22ndWhether you’re a bona fide Beach Boy buff, or you don’t know your Surfin’ USA from your Surfin’ Safari, our resident host Brian Cassidy, along with guest Devon McReynolds, will give you the lowdown on Surf’s Up. God Only Knows, this special CaveCast will give you Good Vibrations. For more info and to RSVP, click over to the Facebook event.

May 22 from 9pm. Suggested Donation: $5.

The next night, Thursday May 23, is a little different. We’re very excited to present to you a night of experimental electronica. It’s going to be an evening like you’ve never seen, or heard before.

Philadelphia Art Alliance: May 23 Experimental Electronica NightExpect some fantastic performances from four noise and electro experts: Philly drone duo Comoros, comedic concept performer Crank Sturgeon, Matt Taggart (PCRV), and audio Engineer Electricity for Progress. Electricity for Progress will be playing a unique and innovative performance using electrical sensors on plant life to create new sounds and ‘biorhythms’. If this sounds fun to you, RSVP over at the Facebook event right away. If you’re curious to find out more, pop back tomorrow and more will be revealed…

May 23rd from 8pm. General Admission: $5-10.


LTextile: Lithuania comes to Philadelphia

Lithuania’s population may be smaller than the population of the Philadelphia Metropolitan area (3.2million compared with Philly Metro’s 5.9million) but very soon it’s taking a crucial place under the spotlight of the world stage.

On June 1st Lithuania takes over the EU’s rotating Presidency… but more importantly, it’s taken over the second floor at the Philadelphia Art Alliance! Last week was our opening for LTextile, an exhibition of modern Lithuanian textile pieces created by eight contemporary artists from this Baltic Sea nation.

Philadelphia Lithuania textile exhibition

L Textile Exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance

And the pieces are stunning, if we may say so ourselves. They’re vibrant, whimsical, incredibly intricate, and give us a glimpse of Lithuania’s history and culture: From embroidered milk pails and governmental forms doodled with fine tapestry, to a fully felted dinner feast. But please don’t just take our word for it: The exhibition is open Tuesday – Sunday from now until August 18th.

Lithuanian Textiles

Vita Geluniene with Birutė Letukaitė and Evaldas Jansas, “The Hunt of the Unicorn,” Gobelin-style Tapestry, 2010-11


PAA Press Round-up: Where we’ve been on the web

Where have you read about the Art Alliance this week?

Where have you read about the Art Alliance this week?

The past few weeks have been all a buzz with excitement, so here’s a whirlwind look at some of our latest press coverage.

Philly Mag’s Hugh E Dillon photographed some of the esteemed guests at our fabulous fundraiser, Spring at the Mansion, last week, as did Glamorosi – be sure to check them out. Shannon Rooney, also from Philly Mag, outlined some of the renovation projects we hope to embark on from our fundraising efforts.

Recently the New York Post boldly declared that Philadelphia is for art lovers, we agree of course! They also stated:

Rittenhouse Square’s Philadelphia Art Alliance presents a world premiere — and totally genius — exhibition, “Emily Spivack: Sentimental Value,” in which the artist displays items she won on eBay with their intriguing backstories and sellers’ anecdotes (251 S. 18th St., philartalliance.org).

In April, Rittenhouse Park itself became a permanent, interactive installation via the 99-cent iPhone app “The Empty Air,” which uses GPS to trigger musician Michael Kiley’s textured sound designs and an original song.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Spivack  about her forthcoming exhibition, which they describe as:

…a treasure trove of sartorial history, personality and heartfelt writing. And in May, a collection of garments that she’s purchased will be exhibited in her first solo show at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.

The exhibition and website and website are organized so that the eBay sellers’ original descriptions are displayed alongside the articles of clothing, recreating the experience of finding them online (read the full interview here).

There’s been some great anticipation for our new Summer exhibitions which open next week, and we can’t wait to unveil them!