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July 1999

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ARTS WATCH

"PHILADELPHIA ART NOW"
by Heather Wright
     I celebrate myself," wrote Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass nearly 150 years ago. It's that same exuberant spirit that the city of Philadelphia galvanizes in Contemporary Philadelphia Ariists: A Juried Exhibition.

     Held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art April 22 through July 8, the show celebrates the city's own. The work of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, cabinetmakers, and other craftspersons provides solid evidence that innovative artistic expression is alive and kicking in late 20th-century America.
     The exhibition is the culmination of a lengthy selection process that whittled down 2,500 applicants to 129 local exhibitors. It is also an important component of Philadelphia Art Now, a three year project that aims to increase the visibility of the historic city's artists.
    Among the show's high points are two gifted Philadelphia oil painters: Mark Adams Bryce, whose dreamlike Denton Hollow Stairway to Heaven is shown at right and Kurt Solmssen II, whose November, left, vividly conveys the serenity of late afternoon autumn sunlight.

     If you're considering a jaunt to Philadelphia this spring, the weekend of May 19-20 artistically will be electric: 50 city galleries willjoin in the celebration, featuring the work of even more local talent; details:215/763-8100.