27 Days: The most compelling reason?
Yesterday evening, more than 125 people gathered at WHYY’c Civic Space to hear about The Gross Clinic and to discuss its fate. The tone in the room was serious and hopeful with a palpable sense of urgency. Speakers Elizabeth Johns (UPenn), Kim Sajet (PAFA) and Marla Shoemaker (PMA) provided a host good reasons to keep the painting in Philadelphia. And those in attendance were convinced of the painting’s greatness as a work of art. But folks were equally certain that $68 million is daunting, acrophobic, and maybe even a diversion away from our city’s greatest needs.
Which single argument has the greatest appeal and the most persuasive power? Which argument will, hands down, compel and convince the greatest number of us? We thought this one stood out: The identity, the soul of Philadelphia is embedded in this object. Sure, it is impressive and important as a work of art. But placing all bets on the art argument alone may not be the one to tip the civic and philanthropic imagination.
We are guessing that the identity argument will be among “Ten Reasons to Keep Eakins’ Gross Clinic in Philadelphia” put forth by Curator Kathleen A. Foster in her upcoming presentation at Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Van Pelt Auditorium. There will be two opportunities to attend: Sunday December 3rd at 2:30 p.m. and Thursday December 7th at 11:00 a.m.