The many perspectives of love

City of Love: Artists Inspired by Philadelphia lights up the Neon Museum

3 minute read
A crochet pretzel sits in a hexagonal gold frame, with a bed of colorful threads underneath the frame
Philadelphia: now serving crochet pretzels? That and more to love at this new exhibit. (Image courtesy of the Neon Museum of Philadelphia.)

Within the Neon Museum of Philadelphia resides a visual art collection of stories about some of the people, things, and places that are beloved about the city of Philadelphia. City of Love: Artists Inspired by Philadelphia is a multi-medium exhibit giving viewers a glimpse of the city through the eyes of 14 local artists brought together to create and share art that depicts their unique perceptions of what they find most endearing about Philadelphia.

The art of love...

The exhibit's curator, Mason Carter (also known as Mason from Blendini) is a seasoned staff member at the museum and shared that when he was tasked with curating an exhibit for the venue he thought about how special and unique the museum is, like Philadelphia, and knew he wanted the show to be from a “perspective of love” involving artists that make art about Philadelphia. When thinking of the artists and the type of artwork to include in the exhibit, he considered what is it about Philadelphia that inspires creatives and reached out to artists he knew would be great for showcasing the diversity of Philadelphia.

This exhibit offers a variety of visual artwork telling a story of what there is to admire and celebrate about the city. Photographer Yeho Bostick provides an impression of Philadelphia from the lens of someone who sees the city’s neighborhoods as they are and takes candid photographs of them in all their glory and obscurity. Throughout the exhibit, visitors will find a diverse collection of photos, papercuts, sketched maps, drawings, paintings, and ceramic works provided by Olivia Duffy, Jessica Rogers, and Rosa Leff, to name of few of the artists showcasing the homes and streets of North, South, West, and Center City neighborhoods that these artists love and are inspired by. Carter contributes drawings of a reimagined neighborhood called ‘Little Philly’ constructed to have all the ‘best of’ elements of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.

When asked what the most impactful piece is, Carter had difficulty pinpointing one piece but shared “Bradley Maule’s work is one piece in this show that is about love and loss” and describes how these creative photographs of an intact home that quickly became an empty lot represents an impactful message of the show “you gotta love and cherish before it’s gone.”

...and its thin line

Understanding that everybody has different filters and perspectives of reality, Carter felt one unique way to express this was to replace artists’ bios with stories of why and what these 14 artists love about Philadelphia. Visitors can see Germantown resident Terrill Kevin Johnson’s art and read his story for why he profiles people of Philadelphia, or about what inspired artist Lace in the Moon’s crocheted representations of the city’s quirky and spirited energy or why Paul Carpenter contributed sport-themed illustrations titled “It’s Always Sunny in Philly Sports" and "Dawkins."

There’s also artwork by street artist Sean9Lugo who collaborated with Marissa Velázquez-Rivas to construct the exhibit's largest piece highlighting the city’s “home-grown support-local environment.” The piece features artwork that greets visitors with a celebration of the power and compassion of Philadelphia’s social justice warriors and movements alongside an artful impression of the city’s skyline.

“I knew I wanted the exhibit to be about Philly, geared toward visual artists but of several different kinds of mediums; Philly is a city of variety, so I wanted to communicate a variety of perspectives, and I wanted to have a positive view of the city. Philly has so many issues, but it has so many things to love.”

What, When, Where

City of Love: Artists Inspired by Philadelphia. Through June 19, 2022, at the Neon Museum of Philadelphia, 1800 N. American Street, Philadelphia. $10. (267) 534-3883 or

Reservations are preferred but walk-ins are welcome. Face masks are required indoors for all visitors regardless of vaccination status.


The museum's entrances are fully accessible to those in wheelchairs and with other mobility issues. Please contact the museum if you encounter accessibility barriers or require assistance.

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