Melony Roy, executive producer of hearPHILLY.com has compiled a list of 12 things to look forward to in 2012.
1) The Barnes Foundation
With one of the world’s greatest collections of Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and early modern paintings, the Barnes Foundation opens May 19, 2012. It will be the first addition to the Ben Franklin Parkway in 6o years. Architects designed a building that duplicates the late Albert Barnes original gallery layout with the additions of classrooms and an interior garden. The gallery space is part of a 93,000 square foot building and also includes a changing exhibition gallery, conservation lab, auditorium, library, café, and gift shop.
2) A Year of Dickens
The Free Library of Philadelphia is celebrating the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens in 2012. A Year of Dickens will showcase its collection of selected letters, manuscripts, illustrations, and other treasures. Charles Dickens was the most popular English writer of the Victorian age whose work continues to be studied, read, and enjoyed. His career spanned a little over 35 years. He wrote 15 novels, if you count the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and countless shorter pieces of fiction and journalism.
3) The Roots Mural Project
In a new mural project that honors the homegrown hip hop trailblazers, cultural icons, and GRAMMY® Award winners, The Roots will make their debut along South Street in the summer of 1012. The Roots have influenced generations of artists locally, nationally, and globally. Founders Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson began their musical journey at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, went on to record 13 albums, and are now the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC. Multimedia elements such as video, online interaction, on-site activation, with city-wide engagement through paint days, pop up studios, and a strong curriculum for a youth arts component called “Roots 101” will be incorporated into this project.
4) Hotel Monaco
At the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets in the heart of Historic Philadelphia and across from the Liberty Bell, Kimpton Hotels is transforming the former 1906 office building, the Lafayette, into a four-star hotel. The new Hotel Monaco Philadelphia will feature 268 guest rooms (17 suites and 25 King Spa rooms), a 130-seat restaurant on the ground floor with outdoor seating on 5th Street, a rooftop lounge with a full service bar 11 stories up overlooking Independence Mall, and 12,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 3,200 square foot ballroom.
5) Dead Sea Scrolls
In May, the largest and most comprehensive display of the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls ever displayed in the United States comes to The Franklin Institute. The 2,000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls contain the books of Genesis, Leviticus, Exodus, and Kings. Also featured will be over 500 artifacts from the Biblical to Byzantine Period in Israel including remains of religious articles, weapons of war, stone carvings, textiles and beautiful mosaics along with everyday household items such as jewelry and ceramics. The exhibition offers a look at one of the most significant periods in history including the emergence of ancient Israel and the births of Judaism and Christianity in the Holy Land.
6) The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen
The first major exhibition about American songwriter Bruce Springsteen will be coming to the National Constitution Center for an exclusive run between February 17th and September 3rd in 2012. “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen” will take a look at Springsteen’s career and music catalog. The National Constitution Center will be the only venue to host this event. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum worked closely with Bruce Springsteen to assemble the 5,000-square-foot exhibition. The exhibition will also feature more than 150 items, many of which have never been seen before by the public, several listening stations, and video footage throughout the exhibit.
7) The Academy at 200: The Nature of Discovery
A year-long schedule of festive events at the Academy of Natural Sciences includes educational programs and an exhibition that honors two centuries scientific discoveries. The Academy at 200: the Nature of Discovery exhibition opens March 24th with birthday party, cake, music, games, and special appearances. Visitors will be able to tour alongside Academy scientists in search of new species and explore how humans are impacting our environment, and learn how to help the Academy fulfill its mission to shape a sustainable future.
8) Light: The Art of Bruce Munro
See Longwood Garden in a whole new light. The indoor and outdoor gardens will be illuminated with large scale, site specific lights arranged to depict objects like flowers, raindrops, and multi-hued towers. It is the first American show for British artist and light designer, Bruce Munro. This debut exhibition runs from June 9th- September 16th.
9) Aloha Hawaii
The theme of The 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show will be “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha.” Towering palms, bamboo, green walls, and a tropical plant canopy will greet visitors in the Hawaiian rainforest. Highlights include a 25-foot-high waterfall that will splash down into Pele’s Garden, an island of exotic flowers and plants. Also be on the lookout for a guest chef, celebrities, a Hawaiian-themed VIP restaurant, and special Hawaiian cocktails stations. The islands will be celebrated in showcase gardens that highlight their culture through flowers and landscapes, performances and art. This year’s show will take place March 4th-11th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
10) New Restaurants
Below are just a few of the new restaurants opening in the New Year:
• In Riva (Napoletana- style pizza and antipasta)- East Falls
• Heirloom (regional American cuisine)- Chestnut Hill
• Ella’s American Bistro (casual bistro cuisine)- Devon
• Jamonera (Spanish bar/ Iberian- style snacks)- The Gayborhood
• LaCalaca Feliz (traditional and modern Mexican cuisine)- Fort Washington
11) Henry Ossawa Tanner
From January 28th – April 15th, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) will feature a retrospective of the life and work of African-American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner. It will include the first scientific and technical analysis of his material and methods. His iconic work Resurrection of Lazarus will be making its first trip to the continent. More than 100 pieces featuring two sculptures and twelve paintings that have never been shown before will also be on display. Henry Ossawa Tanner lived in Philadelphia after the Civil War and studied at PAFA.
12) The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent
The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent is a revitalized home of the objects that chronicle the everyday lives of three centuries worth of Philadelphians. New exhibits showcase 18th century portraits to 21st century community movements and stories of the city’s growth using street intersections as guides. Joe Frazier’s boxing gloves, Benjamin Franklin’s wine glass, a Quaker bonnet, and George Washington’s presidential desk will be on display in May at the opening.