December is like closing time, but for the year. Instead of another year-end best-of list, here are equally superb options to spend your last First Friday of 2014, Friday, Dec. 5.
A wise man once noted that one mean girl's hair was so big because it was full of secrets. The same is true for these alchemical books in the newest Chemical Heritage Foundation (315 Chestnut St.) exhibit. Curators of "Books of Secrets: Writing and Reading Alchemy" will introduce the new collection of written materials at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., though the whole event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Step into the world of "The Nutcracker" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) with themed holiday music, old-school carols, and more from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Clay Studio (137-139 N. 3rd St.) welcomes holiday shoppers for a sale featuring work from Richard Levy, Monika Burke, David Basedow and others from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (and again from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6). Even better is 40% of the proceeds benefit the Clay Studio's Equipment Fund.
Someone's turning 21! The PAFA Annual Student Print Sale celebrates its 21st year at the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building (128 N. Broad St.), giving art enthusiasts a chance to purchase etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, stamp prints and screen prints for affordable prices. The sale is open to the public from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (with an exclusive PAFA members-only shopping hour starting at 4:30 p.m.)
It's all about you this First Friday at Greensgrow Farms (2501 E. Cumberland St.). Pick up a Christmas tree or other holiday greenery, enjoy bites and drinks, and take 15% off from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Art in the Age (116 N. 3rd St.) brings back their holiday market from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring camping goods from Westerland, cycling apparel from Giro and more. Of course they'll have seasonal cocktails using their spirits.
Not only will visitors to the Barnes Foundation (2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) on Friday night be treated to the visual artistry of the museum (don't miss the new William Glackens exhibit!), but performance art will be spotlighted as well. A dance theater duet from artists Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto, who respectively specialize in hip-hop and butoh — a style of Japanese dance — will be premiered. Additionally, a discussion on the importance of art in the classroom will be held. Take part in some culture from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Oh, the nostalgia. Members from local printmaking studio BYO Print present an interactive exhibition at the Art Dept. (1638 E. Berks St.) featuring collaged blanket forts. Starting at 6 p.m., see the work from artists like Katie VanVliet, Ted Mosher, Jill Trager and more, purchase some art, and enjoy beverages.
Not only will the second installment of the "Wind Challenge" exhibition — featuring multimedia work from three emerging artists — open at Fleisher Art Memorial (719 Catherine St.) at 6 p.m., but following at 8 p.m. is a performance from Northern Arms and Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society.