‘Futures without Guns’ at University City Science Center, Betsy Casañas at Taller Puertorriqueño, plus Penn State Bobbleheads, the earthquake and Opportunity

A couple of great exhibitions having opening receptions April 18 - mark your calendars! Also, who doesn't love a bobblehead? And, Citizens, report your earthquake data to the US Geological Survey! The news never sleeps. Come back for more! We'll be here to serve it up. And Artists, don't miss a good opportunity at the bottom of the post.


A poster in red, blue, and grey and white shows a bobblehead of the Penn State Nittany Lions mascot wesrting a wrestlig onesie and pointing his finger in the air signalling we're number one!
Penn State Nittany Lions Wrestling Bobblehead.

We Are! Penn State! Bobbleheads!
Last Friday, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an officially licensed, limited edition bobblehead commemorating the Penn State Nittany Lions’ 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s Wrestling Championship. On Saturday, March 23rd, Penn State captured the school’s 12th Wrestling National Championship and 11th since 2011, and this marks the first wrestling bobblehead of the Nittany Lion. The bobblehead features the Nittany Lion wearing a Penn State wrestling singlet while standing on the 2024 Wrestling National Championship logo. The limited edition bobblehead is being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.

The officially licensed bobbleheads, which are expected to ship in September, are now available for presale at this link. Each bobblehead will be individually numbered to only 2,024. The bobbleheads are $40 each plus an $8 flat-rate shipping charge per order. Proudly wearing the blue and white Penn State wrestling singlet, the Nittany Lion is giving the No. 1 sign on a base featuring the official Penn State 2024 Wrestling National Championship logo.

“Bobbleheads are the ultimate way to celebrate a team’s championship, and this bobblehead will be the ultimate way for Nittany Lions fans to commemorate the Penn State wrestling team’s 2024 national championship,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located at 170 S. 1st. St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opened to the public on February 1st, 2019.


It’s so last week, I know, but if you can remember it — the 4.8 tembler — and want to report your experience to the US Geological Survey, you are in luck! Here is a link to do just that: It’s a citizens’ data report survey. Did you feel it? If so, where are you located and did anything break, anybody hurt, etc. Not terribly invasive information. Help contribute your data to the scientists. Thank you, Max K for finding this survey for us.



A Latina woman with long dark curly hair smiles broadly in front of an outdoor scene with greenery in the background.
Betsy Casañas. Photo courtesy of Taller Puertorriqueño

Betsy Z. Casañas: Call and Response
Taller Puertorriqueño
2600 N 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19133
April 5, 2023 – May 25, 2024
Reception Friday, April 12, 6-9 PM

FREERegister here

Taller Puertorriqueño is proud to present Call & Response, a major exhibition by the artist Betsy Z. Casañas at Taller Puertorriqueño. The exhibition brings back an artist from the neighborhood commemorating Taller Puertorriqueno’s 50th Anniversary.

Betsy Z. Casañas, a native of Philadelphia and the Fairhill neighborhood is a multifaceted force whose works bridge activism, education, urban agriculture, painting, and murals. With a career spanning across the globe, Casañas has left her indelible mark with over 70 murals, stretching from the streets of Paraguay to the shores of the Caribbean, from the verdant landscapes of Ireland to the bustling cityscape of Dubai, and everywhere in between.

This exhibition, Call and Response, has two parts: one focusing on her murals around Taller and another on her current work in the Lorenzo Homar Gallery. Her work in the gallery explores themes of familial and personal relationships, trauma, violence, anxiety, isolation, and the stages of healing. It is part of a series of abstract and figurative pieces she has worked on for the last decade in mixed media. She says it is where the studio processes took her into a meditative state; consistency and repetition of painting and making was like a prayer that quieted the mind to create moments of clarity. This process informs Casañas’ approach to working with communities plagued with violence. Casañas describes this work as part of a larger personal investigation that she has been working on to “reclaim anonymity and personal space while building a community of healthy relationships.”

Her murals, in contrast, are her collaborations with the community she is in. We will schedule tours of her murals for the show’s duration. In 2007, Casañas painted Cruzando el Charco, a vital mural of the Puerto Rican community that spans N 5th St between Dauphin and York Street. It tells the story of Puerto Rican migration to Philadelphia and honors their achievements. These people, and their children and grandchildren, still live in the neighborhood; for the artist, it’s personal—her family is part of that story. We will also examine her 2021 mural, Semilla de Patria, on the 2100 block of N Howard Sreet. The mural presents a positive image of fatherhood in the predominantly Black and Brown neighborhood. For her 2019 mural, Sanctuary City, Sanctuary Neighborhood on Huntingdon and N 5th Street, Casañas turns her attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants to create empathy and solidarity within the local Puerto Rican community. Casañas’ practice mirrors Taller’s mission to strengthen the Puerto Rican, Latin American, and Latinx communities through the power of creative self-expression.
More about the artist at the exhibition website



Two Black male figures in a black cosmic background stand back to back, their hands clasped in prayer their eyes cast down with what looks like tears cascading down their faces.
Mikael Owunna, “Prayers Answered” Image courtesy of University City Science Center

Futures Without Guns
Opening Reception April 18 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Register here
Quorum at University City Science Center
3675 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Join us on April 18th from 5:00 – 8:00PM for a chance to the meet the featured artists and enjoy a live musical performance.

A multimedia speculative art exhibition investigating gun violence as a health equity issue. Futures Without Guns is an exhibition that draws on futures thinking and speculative design methods to consider multiple perspectives on and potential solutions to this complex issue and to amplify the role of art in advancing societal change.

Featured artists
[Curated by Angela McQuillan]

Jasmine Murrell
Lynn Hershman Leeson
Heather Dewey-Hagborg
Mikael Owunna
Natalie Hijinx
Rachael Reyes Vazquez
Tim Portlock
Wi-Moto Nyoka

More about Futures Without Guns. Futures Without Guns is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Percent for Art Call for Artists – Deadline May 28, 2024
Barrett Playground – Rebuild Project
Project Budget: $135,000


The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy (OACCE) and Rebuild announce a competition to commission site-specific, permanent public artworks to be installed at Barrett Playground at 641 Lindley Ave in North Philadelphia. This public art commission is possible through the City’s Percent for Art program and is part of a major Rebuild construction project at Barrett Playground that will include a new community building and significant outdoor site improvements.

The Barrett Percent for Art commission will provide an opportunity for one (1) artist or artist team to create two (2) complementary, indoor public artworks to be located in the main “Commons” area of the new community building. The first artwork will be a sculptural ceiling-hung art installation, and the second artwork will be an indoor art wall installation.

All interested artists are invited to apply for this public art commission. Given the multiple mediums required for these two artworks, artists are strongly encouraged to form multi-disciplinary artist teams if/as needed to fulfill the requirements for creating both artworks. There will be a non-mandatory Artist informational meeting on zoom April 15, 5:30pm.

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