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After months spent inside, Painted Bride Art Center thinks it’s time to get reacquainted with Philadelphia—or discover it for the first time. The center’s Run Away with the Bride scavenger hunt includes 10 cultural destinations throughout the city—from North to South Philadelphia and all points between.
Artist and historian Kalela Williams, the creator of the Black History Maven gathering community, collaborated with Painted Bride and the Water Ways illustrative duo of Bri Barton and Meg Lemieur to bring the scavenger hunt to the streets.
“Every quest, you find the clues and you find what you're looking for, but you also find out about yourself,” Williams said. “We've been planted here for the past year. Now that we're able to get out and leave and see people and connect, it's time to rediscover what's around us.”
Run Way with the Bride brings together the people, icons, and history that make Philadelphia, well, Philadelphia—from civil rights leader Gloria Casarez to artist Dox Thrash, to the historic Drake high-rise apartment building, to the Fisher Fine Arts Library on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus.
The citywide scavenger hunt is part interactive arts project, part fundraiser for Painted Bride. It’s also representative of Painted Bride’s vision for collaborative, creative in-person programming looking to the future, said Carl(os) Roa, program assistant for Painted Bride.
All sites can be accessed on foot or by SEPTA and are wheelchair accessible, Roa said. Participants are encouraged to take the trek with children and family, friends, or even pets. And, while exploration is its own reward, the scavenger hunt encourages continuous discovery. Successful participants will be entered into a raffle to earn prizes such as original art, local restaurant gift certificates, and theater tickets.
“When you explore the city on your own, you are rewarded,” Williams said.
Finishing the map
With the help of a physical map and riddle-filled poems, Run Away with the Bride will take participants to a mix of landmark and forgotten sites. Clues cover the 1700s to recent history, and one site is special not because of what is there but because of what was lost.
Every pop-out illustration represents an actual location. Even so, the nature of the project is to capture only the sites included. The map focuses on the “quintessential essence” of Philly and not every detail, said Barton of the experience of creating the map with Lemieur.
Once intrepid explorers have rediscovered the city, they can add their own color to the black-and-white map, which was intentionally left for others to finish.
“Please color the rest of it in. We just got it started,” Barton said.
What, When, Where, and Accessibility
The Run Away with the Bride scavenger hunt will take place at cultural locations throughout Philadelphia from June 18-27 and is presented by Painted Bride Art Center in collaboration with Kalela Williams and the Water Ways duo.
Maps are $15. Register to participate online. At the end of the scavenger hunt, successful participants will be entered into a raffle. Prizes will be announced on June 30.
Image description: Detail of the Run Away with the Bride scavenger hunt illustrated map. A pigeon in mid-flight holds a yellow banner reading “All is fair in love and scavenger hunts. 2021” in the lower right-hand corner.
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