Do It for the ‘Gram: ‘Photo Pop!’ Celebrates Philadelphia Artists in a New Pop-Up Exhibit
This temporary Philly art exhibit is red, white, blue, and highly Instagram-worthy.
Philadelphia’s first interactive pop-up art exhibit is opening May 24, and you’ve never seen anything like it. “Photo Pop!” has taken over the Philadelphia Building (1315 Walnut St.) with five rooms of selfie-worthy art, impactful murals, fun installations, and an endless amount of photo opportunities all created by local artists. The theme is red, white, and blue — and, fittingly, the exhibit runs from Memorial Day through Independence Day.
“Photo Pop!” is made up of five rooms that flow into each other in an unbroken visual experience. The space is somewhat small, but they have made the most of it, utilizing every surface as an opportunity for more art, more expression, and more fun. There are little surprises at every turn—that pillar has flip sequins! That cloud has stairs so you can climb into it!—and many interactive elements like photo props, texturized surfaces, and more.
The overall theme of the exhibit is “red, white, and blue,” celebrating the American spirit, as well as its birthplace of Philadelphia. Some pieces hit the Philly side of it hard, for example a mural-covered pillar featuring icons like the cheesesteak and Liberty Bell, as well as a giant mural celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles (complete with wings that you can stand between, for a perfect Instagram shot); and of course the Visit Philly mural celebrates our hometown, with a playful interactive umbrella scene and props.
Other pieces celebrate America with imagery honoring the Armed Forces, general patriotic motifs like stars and stripes, fireworks, Ben Franklin on our currency, and more. Still more honor the American ideals of independence and equality. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted with messages of women’s empowerment, courtesy of These Pink Lips, and that message reappears in Amberella’s “Time’s Up” goth hearts as well.
Interspersed with these messages are fun photo ops like a cloud, a wall of pool floats, a shimmery curtain, and more. And don’t miss the back room, a 360-degree photo experience that just happens to take place in a vault full of balloons! This entire exhibit is clearly designed with equal emphasis on the art as well as the Instagramable.
Instagram favorite trends (e.g., mural wings, a flower wall, a shimmer curtain) appear throughout the exhibit, ensuring you’ll get that perfect shot (and plenty of likes). There’s even a “like” heart on one of the pillars, as a nod to the exhibit’s obvious experiential appeal. And if you want more than just selfies, there are staff members on hand to help take your picture and give you direction.
The exhibit is fun for adults as well as kids—in fact kids age 5 and under are free!—but be sure to keep an eye on your kids so the artists’ hard work remains intact for everyone to enjoy.
But definitely bring your kids! You’ll get family pictures unlike anything else, and it’s all over in an hour. After that, go next door for ice cream at Scoop de Ville, walk a block to play at Nest, or walk a couple blocks in the other direction to splash at Dilworth Park! You’re right in the center of things, so plan to make a day of it as you get ready for your close-up.
Photo Pop! is located at 1315 Walnut St., and runs from May 24 through July 8, from 3—11 pm on Tuesdays through Sundays (closed on Mondays). Timed tickets—good for one hour—must be purchased online for $25. Kids age 5 and under are free and do not require a ticket. Military and group discounts of 10 percent off are available. To avoid large crowds, tickets will not be available at the door for high-traffic times. The exhibit is less than a block from the Walnut-Locust stop on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line, and is also accessible on multiple SEPTA bus lines.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.