A few weeks back I caught the bug – “Philadelphia Fever”.

It was time for a FIX! For a visit to my hometown!

I figured that I would do it all in one weekend: Mother’s birthday, nephew’s college graduation party, newly born grandniece, see sister and brother-in-law, nephews, family etc., etc…..

So, I put my frequent flyer miles to good use and booked a flight. But, before I could reserve my rental car, my nephew – the recent graduate, called to say that he will pick me up at the airport – don’t get a car! (“It’s far, I’m arriving at 7:00 am etc. / Don’t worry, it’s not a problem! / OK, OK.” followed.)

As I walked out of the airport terminal, there was Nicholas wearing his Andriy Shevchenko blue and yellow soccer jersey and smiling. (World Cup time!)  

Off we went…..

First stop CENTER CITY.

The idea was to make a quick visit to THE PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS. But, first to the READING TERMINAL for a hearty Amish breakfast, my second of the day (the first at home before 5:00 am). Terrific meal and conversation followed by a short walk over to North Broad Street.

There it was in the early morning sun, America’s first and oldest art school and museum. My Alma Mater. A place I called home for four years.

The landmark building is still the same and spectacular. Other than that, so much had changed. The building to the right is now the annex known as the HAMILTON BUILDING. Cherry street which runs between them is closed to traffic and is now LENFEST PLAZA, with a whimsical CLAES OLDENBURG sculpture of a giant paintbrush at the entrance (above). Wonderful improvements all!

Once inside, we first visited the new Alumni Gallery and met its director Tish Ingersoll. Then at 10:00 we were allowed into the upstairs galleries (above). It was fun to go through all the galleries, remember ones student days there and where my “Wall” was junior and senior years. (As students we were each given a generous section wall space for our end of the year exhibition!)

The Academy was a very special place for me. It was very good to me. I grew quickly and it played a large role in refining my art. The critiques from my instructors and awards received, gave me the confidence to set out to be a full time artist.

My woodcut portrait of the HISTORIC LANDMARK  BUILDING along with the woodcut of the PEALE HOUSE, the annex at the time, was used for years as the Academy logo on its stationary.

WOW! This was great, but it was time to head north! Up the highways we went, through the big city traffic………

A terrific weekend followed. Family, childhood friends and family not seen for years, even a surprise engagement announcement by Nick (she said yes!!!) 🙂

On Monday, my brother-in-law ran me back down to the airport. I flew home happy, exhilarated and simulated having had my big FIX!



To see the Academy woodcut portrait go to:

17 Responses to “PHILLY FIX”

  1. Nina Messina says:

    What a great blog post! What wonderful memories to have. I’ve never been to Philly. Sounds like a great place and the art school sounds wonderful!

  2. Annetta says:

    That was great!

  3. Cristina says:

    I must visit Philly one of these days!

  4. Bill says:

    Andrij – Thanks for sending along examples of your works – I love the Icons!! It all about glory where is should be.

    As I get to know VMC better, I am so pleased to meet so many interesting folks.

    Peace and best,

  5. Joe says:

    Thanks for sharing a great story.
    Glad you had the opportunity to do this!

  6. Janet Simonovich says:

    The architecture of the art school looks amazing.

    Have only been to Philly as a child – remember very little.

    If you organize a trip please let me know!
    My nephew (son of my sister who passed away) goes to Temple University there. I’d love to see him.

  7. Mark says:

    Thanks for the update.

    Now I want to visit Philly and spend some time downtown too. Maybe pick up a few soft pretzels.


  8. Marta says:


    Love your post….it is necessary to succumb to the Philadelphia Fever. I’m just glad I was able to see you. Glad you had a nice visit. My best to you & Lydia! Enjoy the rest of the summer. Hope you catch the Philly Fever soon 🙂

    Mooch Mooch


  9. Tammy says:

    It was great seeing you!
    You need more fixes!

  10. Jurij says:

    Now you’re a poet?


  11. Jurij says:

    Loosely spoken…..

  12. Maria says:

    Sweet…glad you enjoyed your trip!

  13. Christine says:

    Nice Philly Fix piece… let this retired teacher know next time you are in the area…would love to catch up with you (in Philly or Jersey or NY or Conn. or …..)

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