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"Drawn to the Water" Exhibition at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia
Fred Wagner, Coal Barges on the Lower Schuylkill , c.1905. Oil on canvas. Loan courtesy of Newman Galleries, Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Independence Seaport Museum opened an exhibition, Drawn to the Water Artists of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Capture our Region’s Waterways, 1830 – Present. The exhibit features art by students, instructors and exhibitors from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. All of the paintings depict a water scene from around the Delaware Valley, and exhibit panels include, not only the artist’s name and year the scene was painted, but also a map showing the location of the scene and where the artist would have been standing to capture the view.

The Museum has also created a free coloring sketchbook that visitors can use to create their own artwork, and will organize three plein air (open air) painting events where artists will create paintings that will be installed in the exhibit to show contemporary views. The exhibit, which is included in the price of regular Museum admission, will be open to the public through the end of the year.

For more than 200 years, generations of PAFA students, instructors, directors and exhibitors have used our regions’ waterways as sources of inspiration. Though use and management of these water resources have changed over time, the tradition of painting them continues. Drawn to the Water focuses on three areas- the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware Bay and River and the Schuylkill River.

“We’re not often challenged to take a fresh look at our region’s ocean, bay and rivers,” explains the Seaport Museum’s Senior Curator, Craig Bruns. “What can we learn from artists about how nature and industry combine? In our everyday lives we drive along or pass over these waterways but seldom stop to see how beautiful they are.”

“Philadelphia is a city built upon a great maritime tradition, with a waterfront boasting commercial, naval, and recreational boating activities, and proximity to the magnificence of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic. Generations of PAFA artists have been inspired by the beauty and brawn, the complexity and majesty of these activities and locations,” says Harry Philbrick, PAFA’s Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum. “We are delighted to share a sampling of this great work at Independence Seaport Museum.”

“This new exhibit supports the Museum’s revised mission of connecting Delaware River region residents to their maritime heritage, past, present and future,” said John Gazzola, Independence Seaport Museum’s President and CEO.

Visitors will be encouraged to visit locations in the three regions featured in the exhibit and create their own artwork. A coloring sketchbook of line drawings created by PAFA student Liam Hodgson will be available for free at the exhibit, as well as at public events this spring and summer. The line drawings spotlight the locations featured in the exhibit: the Jersey Shore, the Delaware River and the Schuylkill River. Colored pages can be emailed in for inclusion in an online display on the Museum’s website.

In conjunction with the exhibit the Museum is organizing three plein air (open air) painting events with artwork being created specifically for the Drawn to the Water exhibit. The events will focus on each of the regions highlighted in the exhibit. On completion, these paintings will be installed in the exhibit at Independence Seaport Museum.

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