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‘Photo Pop!’ Pop-Up Art Exhibit Returns with ‘Sweet Paradise’

A new location, a new theme, and lots of Insta-worthy art at this temporary Philly art exhibit.

Last year, Photo Pop introduced a new concept—Philly PR Girl’s temporary interactive art exhibit seemingly built to create Instagram moments for its visitors. And we loved it—of course we did! Philly artists, fun family photos, a balloon room—what wasn’t to love?


Well, Photo Pop is back this year, and in place of last year’s “Red, White, and Blue” theme is a dreamlike confection called “Sweet Paradise,” inspiring visitors to discover the fantastical elements of everyday life with their hashtag #FindYourParadise.  Unicorns, rainbows, giant cupcakes, and more find a home with “paradise” imagery like a gorgeous flamingo mural and a surfboard you can stand on!


But that’s not all—like last year, there are also gritty (plus Gritty!) homages to Philly. As you walk past the candy-coated world, through the flower tunnel, you enter a more edgy section with a gallery of Philly artists’ work, a neon graffiti room that recalls the opening credits to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and a blacklight room with Philly iconography like Rocky and William Penn. And—coming back to Gritty—there is also a mural of Gritty made entirely of jellybeans, because why not?



Instagram favorite trends (e.g., wings and a flower wall) appear throughout the exhibit, ensuring you’ll get that perfect shot (and plenty of likes). And if you want more than just selfies, there are staff members on hand to help take your picture and give you direction.


This year’s Photo Pop is even more interactive than last year. In one installation, there is a swing you can sit on; next to it, a surfboard you can stand on. Mini “rooms” the size of dressing rooms offer some private photo experiences as well. And perhaps most exciting, they have added virtual reality to the experience. In one section, there are hobby horse unicorns—grab one and put on the VR goggles to take a fantastical unicorn ride!



The exhibit is fun for adults as well as kids—in fact, kids age 5 and under are free!—but be sure to keep an eye on your kids so the artists’ hard work remains intact for everyone to enjoy. But definitely bring your kids! You’ll get family pictures unlike anything else, and it’s all over in an hour. Photo Pop also has a new home in Old City’s Bourse building, which means you can follow up your fake ice cream selfie with some real ice cream at Scoop de Ville (or indulge in any of the other great eats at this restored food hall).


In addition to being a fun, fantastical adventure, Photo Pop is also supporting the music therapy program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this year. During the ticket buying process guests can choose to donate to CHOP, and at the end of the summer Photo Pop will be auctioning off 10 pieces of art, with proceeds going directly towards this program!




Photo Pop is located in The Bourse, at 111 S. Independence Mall East in the heart of Old City, Philadelphia. The exhibit opens this week for the spring and summer, and is open from 11 am—8 pm on Tuesdays through Sundays (closed on Mondays). Tickets are available online, and cost $20 for adults and $12 for kids under 12. Kids age 5 and under are free and do not require a ticket. The tickets are sold in time slots, and while you can buy them at the door if available it is recommended that you buy your ticket in advance online so you can secure your desired time.


Photographs by Laura Swartz.

Contributing Writer