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The best art museum you've probably never heard of

Plus, a 'snow ice cream' warning.

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Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

January 19, 2024
Inside this edition: Philly phandom, don't eat the ice cream snow, and what to expect from the Palmer Museum of Art's new location.

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A Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

This week, Philly's own Quinta Brunson became the first Black woman in over 40 years to win the Best Comedic Actress Emmy. Which Philadelphia set TV show did Brunson win for?

A. The Bear
B. Abbott Elementary 
C. Never Have I Ever
D. Beef

(Keep scrolling for the answer, but don't miss all the good stuff in between. Like what you read? Forward this email to a friend.)

Our five favorite Pennsylvania stories of the week.

» One (possible) retirement worth crying over: Despite the rumors, Eagles player Jason Kelce has yet to confirm a decision on his retirement. BillyPenn shows the Philly legacy he'll leave behind.

» One assignment worth chasing: Speaking of Philly sports, you have the opportunity to create a mural that will be featured at the Phillies' ballpark. PhillyVoice has details on how to be considered

» One thing worth not trying: Snow has made its way to Pennsylvania, but don’t get any ideas about making ice cream (aka snow cream) with it. That goes double for city-dwellers, The Inquirer reports.

» One fact worth sharing: Did you know it can take eight years for a team of volunteers to restore a trolley car? NEXTPittsburgh got a firsthand look at the secret workshop in the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

» One (more) museum worth visiting: The Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum secured the top spot in USA Today's Top 10 Best New Museums list. WITF explains why the museum received the honor.

🤔 PA NEWS QUIZ: Think you know what's happening in Pennsylvania? Prove it with the latest Great PA News Quiz: Fetterman memoir, seriously cold, Bidenomics, and underfunded schools.
The top stories published by Spotlight PA this week.
» What it will take to fix ailing Pa. schools

» Utilities oppose summer shut-off protections

» Future still uncertain for clergy abuse amendment

» State's 911 fee hike won't spare taxpayers

» When is Pennsylvania's 2024 presidential primary?

» Virtual event: Corruption case rocking a small Pa. city
A sleek new building with tall, lit windows is pictured behind a large lawn of grass in early- or late-day light.
The new home of the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State. Photo submitted.

The largest art museum collection between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is upgrading to a new home.

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State — a “jewel in the university’s crown” — will reopen in a new building on June 1. The 73,000 square-foot, $85 million facility will be located next to The Arboretum at Penn State and offer 46% more room than the museum's previous on-campus venue did. 

There will be 20 galleries, up from roughly 10, new educational and event spaces, a museum store and café, a sculpture path, and outdoor terraces. There will also be two levels with indoor and outdoor courtyards. Take a virtual tour here. Construction began in 2021.

“A visit to the new Palmer Museum of Art will provide a remarkable opportunity to meander through spaces filled with works of art as though one were strolling through the neighboring landscape and to experience art, architecture, and nature as something both intimate and immense,” Erin Coe, the museum’s director, told Spotlight PA by email.

Coe said the museum's expansive art collection had outgrown the old building on Curtin Road, forcing a choice: expand the existing museum or build a new one. They went with the latter.

Coe said the museum, founded in 1972, had 3,500 works in its collection by 1993. Now it claims nearly 11,000, including art from the Americas, Africa, and Asia; European Old Master paintings and sculptures; modern and contemporary art; drawings, prints, photographs, and more. 

Making its debut on opening day at the new location is Dale Chihuly’s Lupine Blue Persian Wall, a site-specific installation inspired by The Arboretum itself. 

The installation looms more than 13 feet tall and 35 feet wide and has 22 glass forms in Penn State’s blue and white colors, accented with golden yellows and vibrant reds. 

Another first for the museum will be the Exploration Gallery, an interactive hands-on area featuring plant-themed artwork creation for all ages. 

Coe said a special exhibit that could attract visitors, particularly Pennsylvanians, is the inaugural “MADE in PA.” It will feature post-1945 paintings, sculpture, mixed-media assemblages, and installations by Pennsylvania natives or artists who lived in or made their careers here. Notable artists included are Andy Warhol, Diane Burko (you may remember her from last week's PA Local), and Keith Haring. 

“We are presenting the museum’s diverse holdings by grouping unexpected pairings of works of art to interrupt art historical narrative and invite visitors to respond as we rethink the way artists have embraced, adapted, and rejected aesthetic traditions,” Coe explained. “This and so much more awaits the public, and we look forward to welcoming all when we open our doors in June.” Learn more here.

Tanisha Thomas, newsletter writer / reporter

A quote from a Pennsylvanian that we found interesting this week.

"I'm really sad about that because it's not so much the food, it's the people. The people that I work with, they were great, they treated me great all these years, and we have the best customers in the world here."

Dot Sharp, 84, who recently retired from working at a McDonald's in Gibsonia after 45 years; Big Macs were 90 cents when she started

Our favorite reader-submitted photo of the week.
A sliver of earth in the distance, as seen by the Pittsburgh-made Peregrine lander on its way back to earth following a moon mission that fell short. Photo via Astrobotic Technology. Send us your Pennsylvania pictures by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag @spotlightpennsylvania.
Earth is seen in the distance behind a closeup spacecraft.
The answer to this week's Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

The answer is B. Abbott Elementary.

The mockumentary sitcom centers around a predominantly Black school in Philadelphia. It also returns for season three on Feb. 7.

Thanks for reading. We'll see you back here next week.

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