Constructing Play – Classic Building Toys Exhibition at Philadelphia Center for Architecture

Looking for a fun design-oriented free family event during the holiday season?

The Constructing Play: Classic Building Toys Exhibition explores the history of building toys and the educational foundation which underlies their creation. Over 60 historic building toys, selected from the  Philadelphia Center for Architecture’s collection and spanning the past 175 years will be on display from November 29th through January 31st.

Visitors will learn about their favorite toys, from Tinker Toys to LEGO, Erector Sets to K’Nex. They will also learn how structures stay up, discover famous local buildings in miniature, and see how toy designers took inspiration from the past to create today’s most popular building toys.

And the exhibition includes special fun hands-on Family Workshops and Parent Dialogues on how to make the most out of the toys we provide to children.  Registration required:

SEI Innovation Studio Opens at the Kimmel Center

One of our beloved neighbors on the Avenue of the Arts –  The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – unveiled additions this week to its basement black box theater, the new SEI Innovation Studio.

(Photo by Evelyn Bonner for The Kimmel Center)

Aiming to draw in a younger audience and make the acclaimed music hall more welcoming, the 200-seat black box theater now sports a state-of-the-art glass facade facing Spruce Street that opens into a staircase  leading to the SEI Innovation Studio.

In addition, I’m thrilled to hear that a rotating collection of art by emerging artists from the West Collection, the world’s largest private collection of work by emerging artists, will be featured.  This collection is well known —  but being a private collection housed in Oaks, PA (at the SEI offices), it took some coordination to see the work.  It is thrilling to have some examples of the collection right here next to UArts and so accessible to arts and culture enthusiasts in the city.

If you want to check out the new space and learn more about their upcoming programs, the Kimmel Center offers free art and architecture tours every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

SEI Innovation Studio
Where: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street
More info:


CITYWIDE – Collective Exhibitions for November

Throughout November, a group of artist-run galleries are hosting and exchanging with other spaces resulting in a collaborative exchange across the board geographically and ideologically.

Image courtesy of WHYY newsworks

CITYWIDE will simultaneously showcase work from over 19 Philadelphia based collective galleries and four curatorial and project based groups, representing over 100 local artists.  The essence of CITYWIDE lies in collaborative action to promote the city of Philadelphia as a successful model for artistic empowerment.

This Saturday, November 16, is the CITYWIDE shuttle bus day – FREE shuttle buses will take visitors to various gallery spaces – reservations are required.

Bill Dufala, of the Traction company, crouches in the tiny Napoleon gallery, where he helped create a scale model of the Traction Company's 8,000-square-foot space. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks, WHYY)

In an effort to unify the community of the artist-run scene, CITYWIDE:  A Collective Exhibition, will bring together the twenty artist-run entities of Vox Populi, Grizzly Grizzly, Marginal Utility, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Practice, NAPOLEON, Little Berlin, Space 1026, Fjord, McCartney/Belknap Projects, Rebekah Templeton, Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space, Basekamp, Highwire, The Traction Company, In Liquid, Paradigm Gallery, Magic Pictures Gallery, Termite TV Collective, BYOPrint Studios, Pterodactyl, The Soapbox, Title Magazine, and The Nicola Midnight St. Claire.

In conclusion of the project, a printed color exhibition catalogue will be created to serve as a tangible record of the collaborative exhibition.  CITYWIDE’s promotional materials will also include an illustrated map to encourage participants to venture into a variety of neighborhoods and explore alternate spaces throughout the city. Over the course of the next year, a lively exchange between participating groups will take shape as this dynamic project evolves and exchanges are defined.

Changes in Pinterest Contest Rules couple of years ago when Pinterest was the new kid on the block, I received an invite to join but was apprehensive to join yet another social media site. But, I kept hearing about it—Pinterest was all the buzz on the design and lifestyle blogs I read regularly, so I had to check it out and see for myself what all the chatter was about. Immediately, I was hooked and started the dark path of losing hours of screentime to the electronic boards.

Marketers are always looking for new ways to connect with their audience – to reinforce their brand, build new followers and create loyalty. And as with other social media sites, the professional marketers soon found ways to make Pinterest work for them. (Since 80% of Pinterest’s 70 million users are women, it makes sense that they would be interested in reaching this targeted audience in new ways such as “Pin It to Win It” campaigns where you earn entry into a contest by pinning a certain image.)

Using social media for marketing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my opinion marketing can be mutually beneficial if what’s being marketed to me is actually something I’m interested in, but it looks as if the days of “Pin It to Win It” campaigns are gone. Pinterest changed their Brand Guidelines (which seems kind of a weird section to place these kind of usage rules), and now it seems they are trying to enforce them with threats of legal action.

While Pinterest doesn’t appear to prohibit all types of contests, they do prohibit the Pinning Parties and “Pin It to Win It” campaigns that have become so popular. Marketers, bloggers and brands will have to come up with new creative ways to involve Pinterest in helping them gain traffic.

According to the Pinterest Business Blog, “Pinterest is about inspiration. Businesses are most successful on Pinterest when they encourage people to explore and share content that represents their authentic interests.” If this means less spammy contest pins and a more authentic community experience, it may be a good thing.

What do you think? Is it important that Pinterest remain authentic and not “muddy” the community with marketing campaigns and “false” pins? Does it matter to you?

If you’re interested in more topics like this, consider our new Social Media Marketing Essentials Certificate program. The Overview of Social Media Marketing course and Digital Marketing Strategies are both being offered in the spring 2014 semester beginning in February.

The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

I recently came across this online museum of forgotten art supplies –  where tools of the trade that have died or have just about died a slow death are cheerfully exhibited.  Sadly, it is not a physical, actual bricks-n-mortar place (I wish)…but it is a really amusing site, with over 500 images of art supply artifacts, all contributed by visitors to the page.  See their artifacts here.

Loupe. Image from Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies.

Be sure to check out the prehistoric computers and photography sections.  Beware, if you remember too many items, you may begin to feel old.

Image from Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

Image courtesy Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies.

Not only do I enjoy the former tools of the trade and thinking about how differently designers and artists work now —  but it is always hard for me to resist old typography, cool packaging, and interesting design styles.

Enjoy some design history and be glad that you no longer have to use rubber cement!

Photography Competition at Philadelphia Musuem of Art – deadline January 2014


The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art recently announced their third biennial Photography Competition. The Competition is open to all photographers age 18 and over.

A jury of nationally recognized experts will select 6 photographs by 6 different artists. Each winning photograph will enter the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and will be exhibited by the Museum as part a special celebratory event to take place in June 2014. Additionally, the winning photographs will be sold individually in editions of 15. Each winning artist will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and will be paid a 5% commission on sales of their prints from the edition of 15.

Deadline: January 10, 2014

See past winners here.

Good Luck!