Do you love art — looking at it, making it, discussing it? If you live in Pennsylvania, you’re in luck. You have many choices for experiencing art in all its forms, from works of the masters that we still enjoy today to creating your own and experiencing that surge of creative energy.
Read on to learn about some art-lover activities you can enjoy in Pennsylvania on any budget.
The most famous art museum in Pennsylvania is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You can enjoy discounted admission on the first Sunday of each month as well as every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. as part of the “pay what you like” program. The museum features a rotating group of exhibits as well as permanent collections featuring luminaries such as Mary Cassatt, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cézanne, and more.
The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown features an outdoor sculpture garden as well as cool architecture for the buildings that make up the museum. The lectures and gallery talks it offers will interest anyone wanting to learn more about fine art and more specialized topics, such as symbols in Afrofuturism. Admission costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $8 for college students, and $6 for kids ages 6-18. Children under six are free.
Penn State University’s Palmer Museum of Art offers free admission to a collection of more than 9,000 objects spanning many centuries. The exhibits highlight everything from ceramics to studio glass to Old Master paintings, and rotating displays play on themes, such as the environment in art or a particular artist. The museum is closed on Mondays and open limited hours when the university is on breaks.
The Ghouls and Grinds coffee shop in Hanover, which opened in 2019, combines a Halloween theme with art displays. The café features local artists and serves an impressive array of handcrafted specialty drinks and baked goods. The spooky theme carries throughout the café, but the art isn’t all Halloween-themed.
Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Camp Hill has been serving local residents excellent food and drinks, including an all-day breakfast menu, for 25 years. The walls of the coffeehouse display an eclectic array of local artists, including photographers, whose work is available for purchase.
Good Karma, a café with four locations throughout Philadelphia, showcases works by local artists on its walls. It’s all available for purchase, and the café’s website highlights the artists’ biographies so you can learn more about them before you buy from them.
At the Millworks, a restaurant in Harrisburg, you can enjoy a great meal and tour the studios of nearly three dozen artists in the space above the restaurant. Grab a drink and stroll through the many studios, where artists do everything from painting to ceramics. The artists themselves are often there to answer any questions, and you can purchase their works, too.
Stroll just a few blocks away from the Millworks to the Whitaker Center, where the Curved Wall Gallery features a rotating display of local and regional artists. You don’t have to pay admission to see the wall, which often sticks with a theme, such as modern or impressionist.
Philadelphia’s Wexler Gallery features a stunning combination of decorative arts and crafts, which cross over throughout different disciplines. You may find photography, prints, glass, ceramic, and other works on display. The gallery embraces artists who push boundaries and find something new to say. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, with hours by appointment on Mondays.
The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh features daily tours of the facility, which are free when you pay admission. Topics of the tours, which take place at 1:15 p.m. every day, rotate depending on the exhibitions and time of year. The museum costs $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors, and $11.95 for children ages 3-19 and students with a valid ID.
Interested in making your own art? Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts sponsors free family classes every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for budding artists. Each session focuses on a different type of art, from cards to portraits to mosaics. No advanced registration is required.
Do you have a young aspiring artist? Take your teen to the Youth Open Studio, a free weekly drop-in program at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The program runs Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. for teens ages 13-18. It teaches photographic silkscreen printing techniques to beginners, and you’ll find artists on hand to assist more advanced students with refining their techniques.
The Warhol Museum also runs a Virtual Senior Academy, presenting free interactive digital classes for adults over 65 in the Pittsburgh area. Advanced registration is required.
With these fun resources, you can learn more about art and experience the joy of creating it on your own, on a budget. For more money-saving tips, visit our WalletWorks page.