From City Hall to Washington Avenue, Philadelphia’s artistic hub is back and better than ever.
This holiday season, stop by the Academy of Music for seasonal favorites like The Nutcracker.
With its 30th birthday looming in 2023, the Avenue of the Arts, Inc. (avenueofthearts.org) is entering a new phase of growth and revitalization, marking the momentous anniversary of the area’s reinvigoration. “We’re trying to make everything cleaner, brighter and more accessible,” says Laura Burkhardt, the executive director of Avenue of the Arts, Inc. “It’s going to take a while, but we’re on the right track.”
There’s much to explore on South Broad Street, including delectable eateries and art-filled galleries
This fall, residential growth continues with the opening of Arthaus and construction of another 12-story Dranoff Properties apartment building a stone’s throw from the Kimmel Cultural Campus. But one of the many reasons this imposing avenue stands out is its history as a hub for legends in the music industry. “I remember touring the studio and seeing where Michael Jackson recorded his albums,” Burkhardt shares. “There was always this music vibe about the Avenue of the Arts.” If you can imagine, major songwriters like Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff met at the Shubert Building and Theater, now home to the Miller Theater, and every big performer recorded at Philadelphia International Records—now Arthaus. The area even supported Black musicians in the 1960s through The Clef Club, an entertainment venue and society for those denied from the segregated Local #77, which is just around the corner from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives.
Through the holidays, look out for live performances on the Avenue every weekend.
With a rich history, restoring the Avenue to its pre-pandemic glory is a top priority as Philadelphians start coming back to the theater. “It’s not going to be easy, but we see the tide turning for the arts,” she notes. “There is unprecedented collaboration because we all have a stake in inviting the public back to a safe, diverse and engaging Avenue of the Arts.” Through a partnership with the nonprofit Ready, Willing & Able, the Avenue is receiving a much-needed spruce-up in preparation for a whole host of holiday season activities—live outdoor shows and sparkly decor await.
The Academy of Music’s historical architecture and design are enough to wow any visitor
Until the end of the year, check out Avenue of the Arts Live every Thursday through Sunday where performances will fill South Broad. Plus, evening strolls are sure to be even more stunning as the “The Beacons” illuminate the corner of Broad and Washington for the first time in many years, complementing the beloved Christmas decorations Philadelphians missed during the pandemic. Burkhardt concludes, “We feel like the Avenue is already coming back to life, so we’re trying to create more energy and get people excited about coming back into the city.”
Photography by: COURTESY OF AVENUE OF THE ARTS, INC.; J. FUSCO/VISIT PHILLY; HOLLY KEEFE; B.KRIST/VISIT PHILLY