Art is having a hard time competing with football.
The NFL draft has taken over most of the Parkway, as well as the famous Rocky steps that lead to Philadelphia Museum of Art, completely blocking its front entrance.
The museum will remain open during its regular hours throughout the draft, via it West side entrance, at the rear of the building near the Schuylkill River.
The Art Museum often has to deal with many major events at its front door, including annual Fourth of July concerts, the Made In America music festival, and, twice, visits by the reigning Pope. There are events on the Parkway 33 out of 52 weeks a year, according to Gail Harrity, the Art Museum’s president and COO. But this one is different.
“The scope of the NFL draft and the build-out is much greater than previous events on the Parkway,” said Harrity. “It does have an impact.”
The massive scale of the NFL staging, its the support crew, and security have shut down all roads surrounding the Museum, except the Spring Garden bridge behind the building, leading to West Philadelphia. Pedestrians can walk up to the West entrance on Anne D’Harnoncourt Drive, from Kelly Drive.
Dan Felder, on vacation from San Francisco and a lifelong 49ers fan, wanted nothing to with the NFL hype during his visit to the Museum.
“It’s a little absurd,” he said. “We walked along the river. It wasn’t hard to avoid it.”
Felder and his companion were among the few people visiting the museum on Thursday. Most people who approached the back entrance were seeking directions for how to get to the front.
The Art Museum has its own MVP exhibition on display right now, “American Watercolor,” a huge show chronicling the development of American watercolor art. The exhibition cannot travel outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art — making it a must-see show for art lovers.
A charter bus from Somerset, New Jersey, brought a group of ladies to see the delicate works on paper by artists like John Singer Sargeant and Winslow Homer.
“You only know them from some of their art,” said Deborah Leibowtiz, just exiting the museum. “It was fabulous.”
The traffic and crowds of the NFL Draft didn’t phase Leibowtiz or her friends. “We’re New Jerseyites, New Yorkers. Nothing bothers us. We just go,” she said.
They came for the watercolors, but are keeping one eye on the NFL draft. As longtime players of Suicide Pool — a cumulative game where they bet on football teams each week — the draft is important to them.
“It is important to us because we want to know who is going to be the quarterback for the Jets,” said Lebowtiz. “I always kid around and say it’s going to be Vinnie Testaverdi again, because every time they needed somebody they took him out of the woodwork.”
This year, will the Jets pick up Deshaun Watson from Clemson University for its rookie quarterback, or maybe Mitchel Trubisky from North Carolina?
The watercolor ladies will be taking their charter bus back to Somerset, N.J, to watch from home.