Avenue of the Arts stretches more than four and a half miles along Broad Street and encompasses the recently constructed Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, along with landmark establishments like the historic Academy of Music and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Along the Avenue and around it, there are several shops, restaurants and hotels that make the location particularly attractive. The area was dubbed the “Avenue of the Arts” in 1993 by representatives of the area’s political, community and business leadership.
Most of the city’s major performing arts venues are located within the Avenue of the Arts, or within walking distance. They include:
- The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), located north of City Hall and founded in 1805. The location features the works of reputable artists like Winslow Homer, Maxfield Parrish and Thomas Eakins. PAFA is the oldest art school in America and museum and trained artists like Mary Cassatt. The venue has recently expanded and now hosts exhibitions in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton building which has been beautifully restored.
- The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2001. The Center is now home to many of the city’s performing arts groups, like the Chamber Orchesta of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadanco, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts also hosts the Philly Pops, Peter Nero and the American Theater Arts for Youth.
- The Academy of Music, which is just up the street from the Avenue of the Arts. The Academy opened in 1857, and is the oldest opera house in the U.S. The Academy of Music is the current home of the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
- The Wilma Theater, which seats 300 and hosts a number of innovative musicals and dramas by local and national arts groups.
- The Merriam Theater, which seats 1,688 and offers a full schedule of dramatic and musical plays from university, regional, national and local companies.
- The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing Arts, which is one of the U.S.’s premier organizations, dedicated to the history, performance and instruction of jazz music.
- The Prince Music Theater, named after legendary theater producer Hal Prince. The venue seats 300, and presents children’s theater as well as musicals and films.
- The Freedom Theatre on North Broad Street, which is the nation’s oldest and largest African-American theater organization.
For more information on upcoming shows and events at the Avenue of the Arts, visit www.avenueofthearts.org.