Archives Travel

Street Art in Montreal

Street Art in Montréal: Mural by Vexx
Street Art in Montreal: Mural by Vexx

If you’re looking for something free to do in Montreal, consider seeking out the street art scattered throughout the city. With over 3,500 murals dotting the cityscape, you can find art on the sides of buildings everywhere. Add in sculptures and temporary installations, and you have an open-air museum to explore.

Urban art defines this city. The city’s beautification project, MU, has contributed hugely to the effort. In particular, the MURAL Festival, much like the one I detailed in La Jolla, celebrates the transformation of otherwise drab places in June of each year. Afterward, the murals remain until –– or if –– they are painted over. A parking lot becomes an art gallery, and a narrow alley beckons you to explore.

Archives Life in the Time of Coronavirus World Oyster At Home

Art in the Time of Coronavirus

Art in the Time of Coronavirus:  one of Van Gogh's Sunflower series
Art in the Time of Coronavirus: one of Van Gogh’s Sunflower series, as seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Viewing art in the time of coronavirus has shifted from physical museums to virtual tours. While this happened, something else shifted underneath society. We have mutally discovered how the arts keep us sane and connected during lockdown. Whether an entire town singing from balconies or an individual dancing with himself in front of a mirror, we’ve discovered that creativity and expression help assauge aloneness. When people sing together in a Zoom mosaic of faces and voices, they strengthen connections despite physical distance.

All those who have said that studying the arts is useless should heed what’s happening. The arts sustain us. They allow us to soar beyond our small spaces and into the world. They reach across language barriers, oceans, and cultures to establish a human bond where perhaps none existed before. For that reason, I’ve chosen to focus this article on the visual arts currently locked away in collections but now available for all of us to visit, virtually.

Archives Travel

Three Days in Florence, Italy

Three Days in Florence, Italy:  View of the Arno River from the Ponte Vecchio
Three Days in Florence, Italy: View of the Arno River from the Ponte Vecchio

Get on your walking shoes because this week I cover three days in Florence, properly known as Firenze. You will clock some serious distance on foot.

The Centrale, or old city center area, holds all of the interest, with the immense, colored marble Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (better known as the Duomo) dominating it all.

Most iconic sights: Florence, as seen from the Duomo, and the Arno River, as seen from the Ponte Vecchio.

Best secondary church: Santa Croce

Favorite Museum: the Uffizi Gallery

Best foodie activities: comparing gelato across the city and sampling foods in the Mercato Centrale

Local specialities: Florentine steak, Ribollita, Paparadelle al Cinghiale, anything with truffle (tartufo.)