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Mid-Atlantic: Of art and artists

Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Art

Art comes in many forms, but each has its own way to inspire and capture the imagination. Whether it’s through the organic creativity of an artist community or the timeless culture of a world-class museum, the Mid-Atlantic region has numerous ways to be inspired.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

With more than half a million paintings, sculptures and artifacts that include Renaissance, American, Impressionist and modern art, among them works by El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Thomas Eakins, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is quite a wonder.

The third-largest museum in the United States, it has no shortage of fascinating art; but the museum also offers themed tours that can make a visit less intimidating.

“The majority of groups do one of three things,” said Shari Feldman, group sales manager. “They get a general admission ticket and add on a one-hour overview tour of permanent highlights. They might come to a special exhibition and visit the nearby Rodin Museum, which is under the auspices of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or take a one-hour tour of the seven historic homes in the area.”

Ticketed exhibitions this year include “Van Gogh Up Close,” which runs through May 6, and “Gauguin, Cézanne and Matisse: Visions of Arcadia,” June 20-Sept. 3.

The museum is also a famous pop culture reference because of a famous scene in the movie “Rocky” where Rocky Balboa runs up the 72 steps leading to the entrance of the museum. A statue of Rocky on the grounds and his footprints at the top of the steps are popular photo opportunities.

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The Ardens, Del.
Paradise? Perhaps. The Ardens, the group of three artist villages of Arden, Ardentown and Ardencroft near Wilmington, Del., were conceived to be utopian societies of tolerance, creativity and artistry. As a result, artists have flocked to these villages, and today there are around 100 professional artists of all stripes: blacksmiths, sculptors, painters and musicians.

The Ardens foster creativity through guilds, and the works of local artists are available at the Arden Craft Shop Museum. One Sunday every month, An Afternoon With the Artist at the museum allows visitors to talk to local artists and see displays of their work.

The Arden Fair and Antiques Market, held on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, is an ideal time to visit, as handmade crafts and art from hundreds of vendors are on display and for sale. There also are antiques, used books, live music and food.

The annual artist studio tour in Arden sees scores of local artists open their homes and studios to visitors for self-guided tours. This past year, the tour took place at the beginning of December.

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