Artistic Metropolis: The Journey of an Artist Through Philadelphia's Ancient and Modern Expression

As an artist myself, I immediately think of Philadelphia when I consider cities bursting with artistic flavor. Bursting with historic charm, a vibrant modern day culture, and a rich artistic heritage, Philadelphia is a dream that has woken into a harsh painter's reality. However, as a father too—Quentin and Cecily have definitely inherited my artistic streak—my perspective comes from a slightly different place. It's not only about what the city offers artists, but is Philadelphia a good place to *live*?

From locals passionately diving into the art scene to an outsider trying to poke a toe in, Philadelphia accommodates everyone. The cities multitude of museums, art schools, galleries and communal studios to explore - it gets dizzying. Communities such as Old City and Fishtown are particularly achingly hip, each proving to be a haven for the creative minds to flourish. There's more to explore, and we will get to that later.

Cultured Canvas: Philadelphia's Unique History of Artistry

It's hard not to feel inspired in Philadelphia given its long history of artistry penciled in the pages of American Art. It's not surprising to think that this city, the cradle of America's liberty, should also be the wellspring of the country's artistic heart. It's as if the creativity the founding fathers used to write the Constitution has seeped into the very bricks of the buildings!

Whether you're a fan of traditional or contemporary fine art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, The Rodin Museum, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, there are plenty of places that will be sure to add some colors to the palette of your imagination. Give yourself the room to be inspired by the works of Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Robert Henri, or by the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works housed by The Barnes Foundation.

Powerful Strokes: Opportunities for Artists in Philadelphia

Besides its rich history and inspirational settings, Philadelphia’s art community is vibrant and provides a myriad of opportunities for artists. The city fosters an environment of unwavering support for its artists by hosting frequent open studios, where artists can congregate, work, and draw a stable source of income. The city government has even had a hand in promoting the artistic spirit by establishing art programs in schools and youth centers all over Philadelphia.

My own twins, Quentin and Cecily, have personally gained from such initiatives. Quentin, who isn't a big fan of school, has become so interested in his art classes that he's been motivated to improve his other grades. Cecily, on the other hand, simply can't help herself from sketching and painting everywhere. Watching her art grow while being nurtured by this city has been an absolute joy.

The Easel Economy: Financial Considerations for Artists in Philadelphia

Philadelphia offers beauty, history, and inspiration in spades, but let's talk brass tacks – can you afford to live there while pursuing your art? Fortunately, the cost of living in Philadelphia is significantly lower than in other major art hubs like New York or Los Angeles, which can be a relief to aspiring artists, who usually start out with tight budgets.

What's more, the city's Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy often provides funds to artists and cultural organizations. With resources such as The Painted Bride Art Center, you have access to work spaces and opportunities for exhibitions. These help you not only monetize your art, but also pressure-test it in front of an audience, providing a way to hone your skills and colors your future with a hue of opportunity.

Tangled Frames: Challenges of Living in Philadelphia as an Artist

However, let's dip our brushes in the gray too. While I have painted an appealing picture of the city, some challenges are unique to Philadelphia which you must consider. Gentrification and growth are changing the face of artist-friendly zones like Fishtown and East Kensington. Also, not all Philadelphia homeowners appreciate the artistic nature of some neighborhoods.

There might be challenges more personal than professional to aspiring artists deciding whether making a move to this city makes sense. No major city is without its issues, but what sets Philadelphia apart is its endless belief in creativity and support for the arts. The city's commitment to the arts not only makes it a good place for an artist to live, but also makes it shine in the field of family growth, nurturing our little ones and ourselves into using our creativity to make our marks in the world.

To an aspiring fine artist planning on moving here - I'd say take the leap and let Philadelphia color your dreams as it has colored mine and my family's.