March 9, 2016 - October 2, 2016
Author Beth Kephart is known for her writings about Philadelphia. It is the city where she lives, works, and that inspires her creativity. She has said, “For years, I’ve put Philadelphia inside the heart of my books – Ghosts in the Garden, Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, Dangerous Neighbors, Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent, and One Thing Stolen.”
Kephart’s most recent publication, Love: A Philadelphia Affair, is a collection of essays about her memories and personal experiences. It is an insider’s perspective about Philadelphia from the everyday commute on SEPTA’s rail line to the hushed, magnificent galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Kephart’s thoughtful details and experiential observations enable readers to re-image the city through her words.
She writes about one of her many urban walks: “At 3rd I take a detour and head north, where the sidewalks yield crated one-dollar records, free books in a plastic tub, fenced-in trees, grounded flower boxes, a cigar Indian decked out with a fresh-red feather, a reading man in a borrowed chair, a leashed dog temporarily left behind. There is a spill of retail and sales, the promise of something vintage, street-facing mirrors that bring down the sky.” They are the things that we all observe as we maneuver our way throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods but it is through Kephart’s writing that we see it more vividly. As Kephart described, “By choosing to pay a new kind of attention, I saw far more than I had.” Now, we do, too.
Whether a Philadelphian or a visitor to the region, Kephart’s essays – each accompanied by a single, black-and-white photograph by the author -- take you on a memorable literary journey from the city, into the nearby suburbs, the mountains, countryside, and to the Jersey shore. The essays that Kephart shares allow us to slow down, recall our collective memories, and experience Philadelphia anew.
Excerpts in this exhibition were from essays that first appeared, in a slightly different form, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.The collection of essays were published in Love: A Philadelphia Affair by Temple University Press, 2015.
Essays and photos by © Beth Kephart, 2015.