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Top Up-and-Coming Artists In Philadelphia

You've been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art more times than you can count and you love seeing the classics housed there, but you're interested in something fresher, something more modern, something more local. Art is a living, breathing thing that has something to say about the here and now, and you want to see it in its moment. If this describes you, you need to see exhibitions put on by living artists, and luckily Philadelphia is a great city for just that. In fact, there are so many fantastic artists that it's difficult to narrow down a list of best emerging artists to just five.
Estelle Carraz Bernabei
(credit: Estelle Carraz Bernabei/

Estelle Carraz-Bernabei
Balance Gallery
112 S 20th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 751-0344

Estelle Carraz-Bernabei's work is regularly shown around Philadelphia, including at the Balance Gallery, where she is the director. The first Friday of the month is a great time to visit the Balance Gallery because it hosts a First Friday Opening Reception that provides an opportunity to meet the artists and purchase their work. Ms. Carraz-Bernabei produces mixed-media paintings as well as photography. All of her art uses energetic colors as well as organic and cosmic elements to create beautiful effects.

Related: Best Book Clubs To Join In Philadelphia

Douglas Witmer
Website is currently under construction

Douglas Witmer was raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but has lived and worked in Philadelphia since 1995. His work has been the subject of over 10 solo exhibitions around the United States, as well as group shows internationally. His painting combines simple shapes and patterns, bright colors and inventive mediums. For example, Witmer's "School Papers" series utilizes wide-ruled lined paper and simple geometric imagery to evoke feelings that were once thought to be reserved for a bygone era.

Rebecca Gilbert
(credit: Rebecca Gilbert/

Rebecca Gilbert

Rebecca is a printmaker working primarily in the woodcut and intaglio mediums. She has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. Many of her recent pieces are currently being feature in "Clip, Cut; Paper Thin" at the Noyes Museum's satellite gallery in Hammonton, New Jersey.  Her work draws on symbols in history, science and literature in which a variety of viewers can relate. Using mostly neutral colors (browns, grays, greens and muted pinks and purples), each piece evokes a soothing effect.

Julianna Foster
(credit: Julianna Foster/

Julianna Foster
Vox Populi Gallery
319 N 11th St, Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 238-1236

Juliana Foster lives in Philadelphia and teaches at The University of the Arts in the Media Arts Department. Her work spans the mediums of both book arts as well as photography, with her most recent work involving a series of images that represent an overarching narrative. With just a few minutes of pondering, you can see the influence of both cinema and photography in her artistic pieces. Her book spreads include beautiful images that are letterpress, screen-print and inkjet on film. Vox Populi Gallery showcases Foster's collection so you can check it out firsthand.

Joe Brenman
(credit: Joe Brenman/

Joe Brenman

Joe Brenman has been a Philadelphia artist since the 1970s. In addition to his sculptures, he creates beautiful mosaic murals for public and private spaces. His inspiring pieces can be seen all over Philadelphia in SEPTA stations, bars and sides of buildings. These mosaics employ bright colors and striking human and natural figures. In each of them, there is a movement to the work that transcends the surface of the piece of art. His sculptures include terra cotta, stoneware, clay and bronze in more muted colors, but with the same feeling of motion.

Related: Top Photography Galleries In Philadelphia

Katherine Ernst is a full-time novelist and freelance writer in Montgomery County. Follow her activity on her blog at Her work can be found at


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